NEW YORK - It's been awhile since the Governors Island ferry has carried people eager for a little escape from the city. But the eight minute voyage from Lower Manhattan to the former military base turned park returns on Wednesday.
The Trust for Governors Island President and CEO Clare Newman said passengers will be socially distanced on the boats, as dictated by signage and announcements.
Face coverings are required for those riding the ferry to and from Governors Island. And for the first time, there is a time-ticketing reservation system.
"If folks want to come out for the day to the island, they are going to go on our website and choose a ferry, and that means they won't have to stand in a crowd when they are getting in line,” said Newman.
The Trust, which operates 150 acres of the island, initially postponed the season in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
"It's very serious business. We take safety very seriously on the island going to and from,” said Carry Callender Governors Island Ferry first mate.
Like the ferry, the island is reopening with a number of health, safety, and social distancing protocols in place.
"We've just been putting a huge amount of thought and planning and how to do this equitably for all of New York City,” said Newman.
The trust is offering free ferry rides to NYCHA residents and community organizations, and beginning Saturday, launching weekend ferries from Red Hook's Atlantic Basin as opposed to its past Brooklyn stop at Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
On the island, popular spots like playgrounds and slides will be open with sanitizing stations. Bike rentals and food trucks will also return, but large events will not be permitted.
"We're still going to have the fabulous red Adirondack chairs spaced around the island, picnic tables, we've just really taken the time to go through every detail and make sure that folks can enjoy that in a way that's safe,” Newman said.