Volume 6, Issue 6, December 12, 2011Big Years Ahead: GIA Needs Your Help
GIA Opens the Season with our Annual Family Festival While the Island lies quiet for the winter, big changes are afoot. Phase I of the Park and Public Space Master Plan and critical infrastructure improvements GIA has long advocated are about to become a reality with a groundbreaking next spring. GIA has been critical in moving these plans forward, with advocacy and building a constituency for the Island. But it is your support that makes our work possible. Generous contributions from people like you have enabled us to be a voice for the Island. It has been a great year, but there are better years ahead. It's up to us to make it happen. Historic buildings need on-going stabilization and long-term tenants. The public programs that draw hundreds of thousands to the Island must be subsidized. In hard economic times, funding for parks and historic preservation are often first to be cut. Competition for support is fierce. It is more important than ever that we
maintain the momentum that has made Governors Island into a new favorite playground for New York City, and to ensure its boundless potential. Click HERE to make a tax-deductible donation to GIA.For Old Seawall A New Facelift
All 2.2 miles of seawall with be rehabbed or replaced The section of the Island's seawall that takes the most pounding from the often stormy waters of New York harbor was originally a retaining wall, built as a boundary for the Lexington Avenue tunnel debris landfill that doubled the size of the Island. Now rounding out its first century, it's about to get a economically and ecologically minded facelift.
Rehabilitation of the entire seawall, all 2.2 miles of it, is an essential element of the two-year phase of capital improvements that begin in the Spring – developing the park area, bringing in potable water, stabilizing historic houses and more.
Most of the wall needs repointing at least, and some of it needs replacement. There are also dozens of
redundant "outfall" holes to be filled. These are holes in the seawall that drain accumulated water, mostly rain, into the harbor. They also cause problems in reverse, letting harbor water flow in, which is why they're going to be filled.
And then there's the 'facelift' installation of riprap along the western edge of the Island south of Division Road and the historic district, and all the way down and around the southern curve. Riprap means rocks, lots of them. Their function is to break the force of incoming waves, rather than letting each new wave score a direct hit. Also, riprap costs less than building a wall.
Lest anyone be tempted to climb out on the rocks, forget it. The guard rail that girds the full length of the Island's perimeter will be there to deter adventurers. Wave action generated by a long stretch of open water makes this western edge particularly unsafe.
But the wide surface area provided by the jumbled
rocks, and crevices in-between, make it ideal for all sorts of harbor creatures, from algae to mollusks to the fish they attract. The Harbor School has expressed interest in seeding the riprap with oysters and other marine species. The school already maintains a small oyster breeding project near the National Monument dock on Buttermilk Channel. Of course the whole project, including the restoration, is subject to state and federal approval.
Design for the complete seawall project is not yet final, and the official R.F.P. – the request for proposals by prospective contractors – will be issued in the spring. The 2012 Summer Will be DifferentThere will be something different at every turn next summer – some closings, some new openings. It all relates to the
improvements that are going to transform the Island from "special" to "spectacular."
In short, the Island will be a construction site, beginning in Spring. To maximize the time available to get trees planted, buildings razed, waterpipe laid and all the rest, the work week will expand to five days.This means it will be closed to the public on Fridays.
But… It will be open Saturday nights for the first time, in June at least, and maybe longer. As usual, it will also be open Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays, starting on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 26.
The terrace of Liggett Hall will be off-limits while it is converted to a garden landscape entrance for the park. Not to worry, FIGMENT's mini-golf course will have a new home – at the end of the parade grounds, over by the old South Battery fort-cum-officer's club. The Liggett food station will move there, too. There will be another food area at Picnic
Point, the relaxing acres that face on the Statue of Liberty.
Note to Prince Harry: No polo next year. No big concerts either. The south Island fields will be closed. The officers' houses on Nolan Park and Colonels Row will be closed, too, for rehabbing, but their outdoor spaces remain open. The rest of the Island will also be open, with various spaces closed at different times depending on construction schedules.