How Locals Spend a Sunday

Island Hopping Around NYC

by Team Fathom
Governors A happy, lazy day on Governors Island.

THE EAST RIVER, NYC – You don't have to get on a plane to have an island getaway in New York City. You don't even have to go very far: The East River has a trio of islands to fill many a high-energy or lazy weekend afternoon.


Find it: It's the tiny island nestled where East Harlem, South Bronx, and Astoria meet.

What's there? Partly residential, it's mostly park, with golf, picnic, and tennis facilities, an urban garden, and eight miles of pathways to walk and bike.

What's on this summer: Regular events include historic, bike, marsh, and garden tours; yoga and Zumba classes; as well as public art shows and movie nights. The music festivals are Governors Ball (June 3-5), Panorama (July 22-24), and Electric Zoo (Sept. 2-5).

How to get there: Take the M35 bus from the northeast corner of 125 St. and Lexington Ave., walk or bike across the 103 St. footbridge, or drive.

Governors Island


Find it: It's that 172-acre plot in New York Harbor, slightly closer to Brooklyn than it is to Manhattan.

What's there? The former military base has in recent years been converted into a public park open seasonally (May 28-Sept. 25) that's especially great for families.

Why go: For the history (Fort Jay, Castle Williams, Pershing Hall). For the biking around the public gardens and eco projects. For the food trucks. For afternoon naps in the hammocks.

What's on this summer: In addition to a full roster of art programming, the quirkier events include wine-themed Pinknic (July 9-10) and the 6th Annual NYC Unicycle Festival (Sept. 3-4).

How to get there: Take a five-minute ferry from Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan.


Find it: It's the two-mile island in the middle of East River between midtown and Queens.

What's there? Historically the site of some of the New York's most notorious hospitals like NYC Municipal Lunatic Asylum (now the Octagon apartment building), it's now primarily residential, bookended Blackwell Island Lighthouse to the north and Southpoint Park and FDR Four Freedoms Park to the south.

What's on this summer: The full schedule at FDR Four Freedoms Park includes yoga in the park, outdoor music, and Manhattanhenge on July 12.

How to get there: Take the F train or ride the three-minute tram from 60St. and Second Ave. (Yes, there's a tram in NYC!)

This post was created in collaboration with Discover it® Miles, the travel credit card that lets you travel without boundaries.

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