Today: Revolutionary Landscapes

The Hills 870-898 Gresham Road Brooklyn

Evolution of Governors Island/Today: Revolutionary Landscapes
Trust for Governors Island
Written By Trust for Governors Island

Governors Island is a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor. Yards away from lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, it's easily accessible by ferry and open to the public during the summer.

reimagining the lower skyline

In 2003 the 150 acres of Governors Island that were not included in the historical monument were sold back to the people of New York. The area is now managed by the Trust for Governors Island, who selected West 8 architectural landscape firm to transform the former military post into a space for the community. The architects at West 8 designed The Hills as the centerpiece of the island's new identity. 

The Hills

There are four man-made hills on Governors Island. They were constructed using pumice stone and filled with recycled debris from the demolition of old buildings on the island. At 30 feet tall, Grassy Hill is the lowest of the four hills. It’s a great vantage point for the island itself because it overlooks the new park. 

Slide Hill stands 40 feet tall and features the longest slide in New York City, an astonishing 57 feet in length! There are three other slides on the hill, including a wider one for families. For particularly adventurous kids there is a Tinder Climb built into the hill that gives access to the slides. Additionally, two of the slides are ADA accessible through a separate path on the hill. Although the hill is designed for kids age 5-14, there’s no age limit to enjoying a slide with a view of the Statue of Liberty. 

Discovery Hill also comes in at 40 feet tall. It’s home to a variety of trees and shrubs, as well as a permanent installation by British artist Rachel Whiteread. Her site-specific work, ”Cabin,” is a simple white cabin made of concrete that is beautifully juxtaposed against the New York City skyline in the background. 

The tallest hill, appropriately named Outlook Hill, rises 70 feet above the ground. Outlook Hill offers never-before-seen views of Lower Manhattan and New York Harbor. If you want get off the beaten path, take the Scramble to the top of this vista point. The Scramble is made from blocks of granite that formed the original sea wall, and visitors can climb up the hill this way for a little added fun. 

Watch the video below to see the inspiration behind these revolutionary landmarks! 

building a resilient future

The minds at West 8 strove to design the new Governors Island to withstand the rising sea level and other effects of climate change. The design includes a seawall that dissipates strong wave energy and creates a more hospitable environment for a diverse range of marine life. Another mechanism designed to protect the island are the twisting white edge walls that double as seating. This revolutionary design was tested when Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012 - the park, which was still undergoing construction, was almost unscathed. 

Evolution of Governors Island

Today: Revolutionary Landscapes

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