The Hills – Governors Island | New York, USA

©Noah Devereaux
©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck

The Hills on Governors Island opened in July, adding 10 new acres of public space for the City of New York. Following a ribbon cutting ceremony, New Yorkers and visitors eagerly explored the Hills and their new landscapes, public art, play areas, slides, and extraordinary 360 degree views of the New York Harbor, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey skylines, and the Statue of Liberty. Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, elected officials, community leaders and the public attended the ceremony.

©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck

“This is an incredible park project that has spanned two administrations. No other city boasts anything quite like it,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With the opening of The Hills, Governors Island begins its next great chapter. This is a uniquely New York City destination that’s poised to become both a year-round attraction and a hub of innovation. Visitors entering New York harbor in the 21st century will be welcomed by a thriving Governors Island, in the same way they were welcomed by Ellis Island in the 19th and 20th.”

The opening of the Hills marks a new chapter in the transformation of Governors Island from an abandoned former military base to what is envisioned to be a year-round destination for recreation, culture and innovation. Open to the public nearly 10 months ahead of schedule, the Hills are the crowning feature of the award-winning Governors Island Park and Public Space Master Plan, designed by acclaimed New York and Rotterdam based landscape architects West 8 urban design and landscape architecture. Made of recycled fill materials, the four Hills rise 25 to 70 feet above the Island.

©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck

In addition to enjoying the Hills, visitors can now walk or bike around the Island’s entire 2.2 mile promenade and enjoy the popular Picnic Point, which have been closed due to construction since 2012.

“Over the past 13 years, Governors Island has been transformed from a relic few New Yorkers knew about and even fewer visited into one of the most popular parks in our city – or any city,” said Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “The Hills are an extraordinary addition to the island that will inspire New Yorkers and visitors for many generations to come – and they are a powerful testament to what can happen when public servants, architects and artists, and generous supporters all work together to bring a common vision to life.”

©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck
©Timothy Schenck


The Hills | Governors Island | New York, New York, USA

Lead Landscape Architect | WEST 8
Associate Landscape Architect | Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects
Lead Civil Engineer | Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Local Civil Engineer | AKRF
Geotechnical Engineer | Hart Crowser Inc.
Signage and Wayfinding | Pentagram
Lighting | Tillotson Design Associates
MEP Engineer | Dagher Associates
Soils Consultant | Pine and Swallow Environmental
Irrigation Consultants | Northern Designs
Code Consultants | Code Consulting Inc.
Cost Estimator | Faithful & Gould
Operations and Maintenance | ETM Associates
Surveyors of Record | Langan
Play Consultant | Teri Hendy, SiteMasters

Photography |

About Damian Holmes 3233 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at