Long have I been curious about this little island which is technically part of Manhattan so I did a little research about it before taking the ferry over to check out an art fair in a literal no man's land.
A coast guard pool long abandoned.
Governors Island is a small 172 acre island 1/2 mile off the tip of southern Manhattan. From 1776 till 1966 the island was an army fort. From 1966 to 1995 the island was a Coast Guard base. After closing the base the houses, schools, and apartment buildings became vacant.
Although these are street names that technically a few decades ago existed in Manhattan, they won't show up on mapquest. They exist beyond the gates, on the part of the island not open to the public. A real life dead zone.
In recent year 92 acres (the northern half of the island) was opened to the public for several months in the summer and early fall. The focus seems to be on art and music events, it was a pretty amazing day-trip for Molly and myself.
We parked in Red Hook, Brooklyn and walked down a few blocks to the ferry. The ferry is free, you just have to wait on line.
I've seen "Wash Me" on the back of a truck before, but this was a first.
Molly poses under and umbrella as they start to board us.
As we were sailing out to the island I noticed a chopper taking off from across the river on one of the Manhattan piers and got a few cool shots of it.
Sculpture by Mark Di Suvero presented by Storm King Art Center.
Walking around the lush fields on the island you sometimes will get an eerie feeling. There are no cars, and although I am walking in a neighborhood full of beautiful victorian houses, nobody lives in them. They have all been repurposed, mainly as art museums and homes to small art festivals.
Behind Molly hang paintings by Thomas Starvoy.
Art by Scherezade Garcia.
Down the stairs into a basement to watch a video instillation. We were alone in a giant house of art.
Art by Allen Anthony Hansen.
Random living room bookshelves become a platform for artwork.
Sculptures by Peter Goldwater.
A lot of the walls and ceilings in these buildings are falling apart due to disrepair. Some artists managed to incorporate this into their works.
A really unique exhibit by The West Harlem Art Fund.
Some art is benefitted by decaying architecture, digital work isn't. The New York Electronic Art Festival wasn't worth walking up the oddly carpeted stairs for.
Some interesting pieces in the Collage Logic exhibition.
Art by Heejung Cho.
Is this art? We couldn't tell for sure.
We decided to follow the signs and make our way to the art fair.
It's not easy to eat low carb here, the only food sponsor was Two Boots.
Art by Felipe Galindo.
Art by Carmen Einfinger.
Painting by Ernie Sandidge.
Art by "Wolfpack" Michael Guajardo & Patrick May.
Cat paintings by Michael Davis.
Hallway line art by Robert Hernandez.
Figure drawings / paintings by Leah Yerpe.
In the courtyard there was a tent facing a few rows of seating where bands jammed.
Art by Gloria Adams.
Molly in the Ugly Art Room.
Art by Steven Ketchum.
Art by E.Talmatch.
Art by Emilie Selden.
Kitchen instillation by Jessica Shape.
Art by Shelby Voice.
Art by Barbara Friedman.
Artwork by Amy Mascena.
There was a unicycle gathering happening there that weekend, as well as a circus, and a giant concert on the other end of the island.
You will be amazed by some of the abandoned military architecture.
A field full of outdoor sculptures designed to resemble fantastical playground equipment.
After exiting the last building of the art fair the sound of the concert pulled us in the opposite direction of the ferry.
As we arrived at the gates of the concert they introduced Erykah-badu.
When we realized what time it was we started making our way back through the art fair grounds towards the ferry, we were the last people in that section as the art fair had cleared out 20 minutes earlier. It was totally bizarre to be walking along these vacant tree-lined streets with victorian houses totally uninhabited, and to be all alone on these streets were sort of eerie. It probably felt like how it would feel to walk alone in Chernobyl at dusk - only this is Manhattan.
Luckily, we caught the last ferry for Brooklyn of the night.
I highly recommend going, and if you can't make it this year, go some weekend next September. It's a great day long date if you like art, like the outdoors, and are willing to walk. I can't stress this enough, bring your walking shoes as you will be walking up many, many steps, and there are no cabs to catch when your puppies are barking. This is not the average art fair where they open up an airplane hanger and section it off into cubicles.
It's not for the elderly or out of shape. You will be going up and down multiple flights of stairs scouring entire apartment complexes and schools, where every; bedroom, living room, and kitchen have been transformed into individual artist galleries. It's a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of adventurous art crawling to be had. Maybe you will see my work there next summer? Stay tuned. . .
Schedule - Governors Island - Calender of Events
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