The latest stage of the Governors Island Park project, “The Hills,” is set to officially open to the public on this Tuesday July 19th – nearly a year ahead of schedule. Designed by internationally acclaimed urban design and landscape firm West 8, the park will feature ten acres of sloping landscapes that will provide residents and visitors with slides, art and unparalleled views of the New York Harbor.
The project consists of 4 themed hills, rising as high as 70 feet above the island to offer a unique 360-degree panoramic experience of the harbor:
- Grassy Hill, the smallest hill, rises 26 feet via a gentle, grassy slope perfect for naps and relaxation and overlooks the Island’s new and historic landscapes and the Manhattan skyline.
- Slide Hill, at 36 feet high, encourages play and activity with four slides that have been carved into the landscape, including the longest slide in New York City.
- Discovery Hill, 39 feet high, is the hill dedicated to contemplation, and is home to Cabin, a site-specific sculpture by internationally recognized British artist Rachel Whiteread
- Outlook Hill is the park’s tallest hill at 70 feet, and offers accessible pathways to the most dramatic lookout point on the island. More adventurous parkgoers can ascend Scramble, a pathway constructed out of reclaimed granite seawall blocks, to reach the Outlook.
The Hills have been constructed from recycled demolition debris, general fill and lightweight pumice held together with geotechnical reinforcement. To help combat erosion, shrubs, trees and grassy lawns have been organized in strategic planting patterns. More than just offering views, the dramatic topography will also improve the island’s resilience to volatile weather conditions and rising sea levels.
“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 the culminating phase of Governors Island Park and Public Space Project, which has been designed by West 8 in collaboration with Mathews Nielsen. Rogers Marvel Architects and Diller Scofidio + Renfro were also part of West 8's team for the 2007 winning competition entry.
The first 30 acres opened to the public in 2014 and include recreational fields, food concessions, seating, a public plaza, a hammock zone, a hedge maze and more. With the opening of the Hills, visitors can now access the entire 2.2-mile promenade encircling the island and Picnic Point, which had been closed since 2012.
The Hills will be open for the season daily from July 19 – September 25, 2016, Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-7pm. For more information, visit www.govisland.com.