Friday, August 8, 2008

All the world'll flyin a flurry

When I take you out in the surrey....Oklahoma

A mere 800 yards from Lower Manhattan sits a small secretive wonderland. Governors Island has a bright and important history. (Check out What a blessing that it has been reopened for public use!

This morning we headed out on the first quick ferry jaunt available. The ferry ride is literally moments long. Two moms and three kids we were and ready for a morning of some fun finds. We lucked out and were able to rent a bicycle surrey through the new bike share program in NYC.

The surrey was a blast! Not only were we able to cover a ton of terrority but able to do it in fine fine style. Our model was very similar to this one.

We ventured around with the two big kids riding up front in first class style and with the little tyke helping to copilot between us. Loaded in and wheeling around we took the island by storm.

For nearly two centuries Governors Island served as a military base. Since September 1996 it has sat as a virtual ghost town. Perfect homes with parklike surroundings are everywhere. In the later years the island even house a motel, a YMCA, a theatre and a bowling alley. Throw in the schools and churches and there you have the entire community. Not to mention the military buildings...Fort Jay, Castle Williams....all very important to the history of the island.

Zipping around in our surrey one could almost feel some of the buildings come to life. Many a military brat had probably ridden their bikes through the same paths. Growing up in this oasis with the Statue of Liberty out your front door and Manhattan out the side door must have provided for quite the childhood. Reading up on some of the "brats" prior had their stories running through my head.

After our surrey tour we reluctantly returned it! We had bonded with that surrey and loved it. It was quite the workout though. We found a breezy shady spot on the eastside of the island overlooking my favorite little island in the world Manhattan. Enjoying a picnic lunch while watching the children play riverside with in my opinion the most breathtaking backdrop in the world is priceless. These kids are city through and through.

On the return ferry home we enjoyed an upclose view of Olafur Eliasson Waterfall on the island. The city is home to four waterfalls this season as a public art project. www. can give you a little background on the art . We are fortunate in our neighborhood due to proximity that we have gotten to enjoy them regularly.

Stepping back onto Manhattan and the Battery Maritime Building we went to check out Playing the Building, a sound installation by Former Talking Head David Byrne. An old church organ is placed in the center and made to literally "play the building." The organ controls well placed devices (on the pillars, old radiators, beams, pipes, etc). The sounds are spooky and soothing and crazy! It is an incredible interactive art exhibit.

It was a beautiful and educational morning. Summer will soon be over and it was great to take advantage of wonderful things right in our own little neighborhood.