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Press Release

NYCEDC and The Trust for Governors Island Launch Interactive Community Engagement Campaign #GovIsland365

Sep 02 2016
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Public art installation and digital survey will engage New Yorkers in imagining Governors Island as a year-round destination to work, play, and learn

NEW YORK, NY—The New York City Economic Development Corporation and The Trust for Governors Island launched #GovIsland365, an interactive community engagement campaign to engage New Yorkers in imagining Governors Island as a year-round destination to work, play, and learn.

Through September 25, #GovIsland365 will collect ideas and feedback from across the city in advance of the release of a Governors Island Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) in 2017. #GovIsland365 is the first step of a robust community engagement effort to inform the planning and transformation of this underutilized treasure into a hub for innovation.

#GovIsland365 features a public art installation by artist Amber Rae called the ‘Cube’. Based on similar projects in DUMBO, Chicago, and 20 other cities worldwide, this interactive chalkboard cube will be on display at Soissons Landing and will solicit feedback on how New Yorkers envision utilizing a Governors Island open year-round. Visitors to Governors Island are encouraged to write their ideas on the Cube and complete the accompanying survey at govisland.com/365 developed by marketing agency mllnnl, which will collect data and socially aggregate user-generated content through the end of September. Collectively, #GovIsland365 is an intersection of art and technology that reflects the innovative character of Governors Island and is accessible way for all New Yorkers to offer their input.

“To fully realize Governors Island's potential as a year-round asset for all New Yorkers, we need to think outside the box – or in this case, the Cube,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “That is why we are excited to launch #GovIsland365, an interactive way for us to hear directly from New Yorkers how they want to work, play, and learn on Governors Island. I encourage all New Yorkers to share their ideas and get involved – Governors Island belongs to you.”‎

"Input from New Yorkers visiting Governors Island has played a vital role in its transformation over the last 10 years. The Trust is delighted to engage visitors in imagining the Island's next chapter as a year-round hub for creativity and innovation,” said Jonathan Meyers, COO and Acting President of The Trust for Governors Island.

"Public art is a powerful medium to engage the community and have their voices be heard," said Amber Rae, the artist of the Cube. "That's why I'm so thrilled to be partnering with the City of New York to push the boundaries on development."

As part of his 2016 State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio announced that the City would activate Governors Island into a dynamic year-round destination for all New Yorkers.

Closed to the public for most of its history, Governors Island has undergone a major transformation since its transfer to the City. Now a lively and loved destination, Governors Island is home to a dynamic mix of arts and cultural programming, not-for-profit and educational tenants and a spectacular, award-winning park. With this summer’s opening of The Hills, the Island’s transformation continues. Governors Island will be a place where economic opportunity comes together with innovation, education, and creativity. The Island will celebrate its history and look to the future, with the revival of beautiful buildings in the Historic District and the activation of new sites. And throughout its next phase, the Island will become more accessible for New Yorkers, both to enjoy the beautiful park that will always be at the heart of the island, and to access all of the new potential that its future holds.

“Now that Governors Island is firmly established as a warm weather destination that has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors, it is time to unlock its full potential as a year-round educational, cultural and recreational attraction,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “This innovative community engagement process will allow people of every age and background to fully engage with the process of shaping the future of this city-wide asset. I thank Mayor de Blasio, EDC, and the Trust for Governors Island for taking this opportunity to think ‘inside the box’ with today’s unveiling of The Cube.”

“We are so excited to see visitors get creative about Governors Island’s future as a year-round hub of innovation, education and recreation,” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “Many of the most inventive aspects of the Island we enjoy today came from suggestions made by New Yorkers. The Cube is an ideal vehicle for capturing the public’s imagination on what this incredible place can look like tomorrow."

"Finding meaningful ways to bridge our digital and physical lives is central to the millennial mindset and experience,” said David Yarus, Founder of mllnnl. "We were excited to create a digital component to the art installation that maintained the community powered feeling of the real-life experience."

The City has invested more than $300 million to ready the 150 acres of Governors Island that are under City control for the next great chapter, the Governors Island Innovation Cluster, bringing new infrastructure and ferry service to the Island. Building on the opening of The Hills this summer, the vision for Governors Island will include the activation of up to 900,000 square feet of existing space in protected historic buildings, waterfront promenades with sweeping views of New York Harbor, and 33 acres on the south side of the island. The Governors Island Innovation Cluster will bring together educational institutions with growing firms, start-ups, inventors and thought-leaders, sparking new ideas, inventions and companies that will help position New York City as the worldwide leader in technology and innovation.

Since the transfer of 150 acres to the City of New York, Governors Island has undergone a dramatic transformation and is now primed for more robust activation:

  • There have been $307 million in capital improvements made in the last six years, including potable water, utilities and upgraded electrical systems.
  • 33 acres of new open space were completed in 2014, and 10 additional acres were added with the opening of The Hills in Summer 2016 .
  • Visitorship has grown, with more than 450,000 people enjoying programming from more than 60 organizations in 2015 alone.

Governors Island is now home to two year-round tenants: Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, a public high school that serves 430 students; and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center, an artist studio residency program.

About NYCEDC
New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.