/ Land Development / THE HILLS on Governors Island Open to the Public Today

THE HILLS on Governors Island Open to the Public Today

Parul Dubey on July 19, 2016 - in Land Development

July 19, 2016 – The Trust for Governors Island (The Trust) announces the opening of the Hills, ten newly designed acres of park on Governors Island that include slides, art and unparalleled harbor views. The Hills are open for the season daily from July 19 – September 25, 2016, Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-7pm.


Designed by acclaimed landscape architects West 8 urban design & landscape architecture, the Hills are the culmination of the award-winning Governors Island Park and Public Space Master Plan.  Rising 25 to 70 feet above the Island the Hills offer an extraordinary 360-degree panoramic experience of the NY Harbor. The opening of the Hills marks a major milestone in the transformation of Governors Island from an abandoned military base into an iconic destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike.


“Our Hills are the culmination of an eight-year collaboration with West 8 and the many New Yorkers and visitors who contributed ideas to this ambitious project,” said Leslie Koch, President of the Trust. “The Hills are a triumph of imagination, state-of-the-art engineering and smart design that will ensure access to beautiful green space, the waterfront and incomparable views of the Harbor for years to come.”

As previously announced, the Hills are opening nearly a year ahead of schedule. The four Hills embody all that makes Governors Island unique: art, play, nature, relaxation, and views:


  • Grassy Hill is a 26-foot high gentle, grassy slope overlooking the Island’s new and historic landscapes and the Manhattan skyline;
  • Slide Hill, at 36 feet high, is the home of four slides, including the longest slide in New York City;
  • Discovery Hill, also 39 feet high, features a site-specific sculpture Cabin by the internationally recognized British artist Rachel Whiteread and first major permanent public commission in the U.S.; and,
  • Outlook Hill provides universally accessible paths and the Scramble, constructed out of reclaimed granite seawall blocks, to reach the Outlook. Here, 70 feet above the Island, visitors have unforgettable views of the New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty and the skylines of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City.

Landscape Architecture of the Hills

“Sculpted topography works in concert with winding pathways and trees to create ‘conceal and reveal’ vistas, choreographing the park experience,” said design director Adriaan Geuze, co-founder of West 8. “It maximizes the sense of anticipation, pulling a visitor through the park or signaling a place to sit and stay just a bit longer.  The topography defines the very character of the area.”

The Hills are constructed of recycled demolition debris, general fill and lightweight pumice, stabilized with geotechnical reinforcement and covered with shrubs, trees and grassy lawns.  While the Hills provide striking vistas and comfortable settings for relaxation and play, they also improve the island’s resilience in the face of increasingly dramatic weather patterns and rising sea levels.

The Hills are home to more than 860 new trees and 41,000 new shrubs planted in new high-quality topsoil and protected from brackish groundwater by the new topography.  The planting of each of the four hills is designed according to the micro-climates: varying degrees of slopes, exposure to sun, salty-spray, and prevailing wind and to accentuate key view corridors.  The new lawns, plantings and permeable paving also reduce erosion and storm run-off, while allowing for water collection and irrigation.


Art of the Hills

Discovery Hill is the setting for Cabin, a site-specific artwork by Turner-Prize winning British artist Rachel Whiteread.  The work, curated by Tom Eccles of ArtCommissionsGI, is a concrete cast of a wooden New England-style shed reminiscent of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond.  Over time, the surrounding vegetation on the hillside will grow along the sculpture’s surfaces, giving it a weathered look that blends into its natural surroundings.

The undulating aesthetic of the Hills is augmented by the smooth, curved edging which separates the green sections from the paved paths that wind through the park.  A look down from the hilltops reveals striking patterns, distinct “petals” of green parkland outlined by the bright white concrete edging.  The edging, which ranges from curb to bench height, is ornamented with subtle designs that reference the marine life surrounding the island.


For the full press release, images and video click here.

For more information on the Governors Island visit, www.govisland.com

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