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New York Travel

Visiting Governors Island

Visiting Governors Island

Last weekend I visited Governors Island, I had never been, not even for the seasonal events that get media coverage there. I recently saw a tv program that was talking about how renovated it was, which peaked my interested immediately. NYC in its ever renovating state will always have something new to see and this one was no different. If you’ve never been, whether tourists or local this is a must see. Trust me, its not a complete tourist trap this time of the year, it was actually very relaxing! Here is how I spent my day there and my tips for your own excursion to Governors Island.

 

What is Governors Island?

It’s exactly what it sounds like, an island off the concrete island of Manhattan where Govenors lived. Originally settled by the Dutch and named Nutten Island in 1624 it was renamed Governors Island in 1689 when it was home to the British royal governor. Throughout the late 1700’s until the 1990’s it served as a military base for the U.S. Army and Coastguard and is where Castle Williams was built as a military base and then a prison. The island also holds Fort Jay, which was built in the 1700’s and was used to defend New York from the British. Barracks and houses were also constructed as military personnel and their families lived on the island. By 2001 Governors Island was established as a national park under the care of New York City. No one lives there now as it is considered a national monument and is historically preserved.

 

Getting There

To get there you must take the Govenor’s Island Ferry from Wall Street Pier 11 to Soisson’s Landing on Governors Island. Ferries run pretty frequently, and on Saturdays and Sundays if you take any of the ferries before 12 pm its free! So that is exactly what we did. It was a short wait for the ferry and so was the ride to Govenors Island, approximately less than 10 mins. Enjoy the views as you take the quick trip back and forth.

 

Getting Around

Once there you’ll want to ask the info desk for a map. Govenors Island is a green island so the paper maps they give you have to be returned to them before you leave, or dropped in a basket in front of the info desk. We walked some of the way without it and we had to go back and ask for one as there weren’t that many maps around the park. Something we thought could be improved was the actual details of the maps, which were a bit lacking. But it’s a small Island and we walked the whole thing in one day, some parts more than once.

We decided to get our steps in as we walked the whole island, but they do have alternatives. Renting bikes from Blazing Saddles and Citi bike are available, as well as balance bikes for parents with small kids and surreys, a four wheeled cart for groups who want to ride around together. There were also pedal-carts and scooters for kids for rent as well. Every now and then as we rested we wished we rented one of the group bikes, although on the other hand every time bikers wanted to enter a histrorically preserved section of the island, like Castle Williams they would have to get off their bikes or surreys and walk.

 

Food

There are plenty of food options on Govenors Island, starting with the two restaraunts you see when you get to the island. Which are Taco Vista and Island Oyster which serves seafood and is where we stopped and ate dinner before we went back to Manhattan. The food was delish and the drink was spectacular. Watching the sun come down against the NYC sykline was an extra treat. During the day we ate lunch at Little Eva’s, one of the food trucks parked near Liggett Terrace and Hammock Grove. This location is where all the food trucks park for the day, so go around and weigh your options. The food at Little Eva’s was scrumptious as well. Overall we were very satisfied with the food options they had on the island.

Things To Do

As you walk the island be sure to stop and see all the historically preserved spots like Castle Williams and Fort Jay. Artwork is also present on the island with scupltures and plays and exhibitions held in a converted church as well as various houses that belonged to mitlitary families and Governors in the past. You can also bring a picnic if you wish as there is a designated picnic area or you can lounge on the various lawns in red chairs spread throughout the whole island.

 

The Urban Farm is a must see as people are welcomed to walk amoungst the growing vegatables and fruits. The staff were very friendly and informative as they told us what each plot was growing and invited us to touch and smell the bounty of nutritional goodness. Composting is also done and it is welcomed if you have something to contribute. The Urban Farm is not quite done being developed as there was still a section that was under construction.

Ziplinning, mini gulfing and rock climbing are also activities you can do on Govenors Island. Take the kids to Slide Hill, which holds the the longest slide in nyc, and make sure to check out the LMCC Art Center which holds diffrent art and sculpture exhibitions. Kayaking and staying overnight in a tent in the Collective Retreats are a few other things you can do. This is not even the whole list of activities! Not to mention the other seasonal activities they have up to the closing day of Governors Island of October 31st.

 

Views for a Lifetime of the City

The views of NYC from Governors Island are gorgeous and they follow you around as you make your way through the island. Make sure to take in the views at the top of The Hills  and on the Play Lawn. I walked to the top of The Hills and got gorgeous shots of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. If you walk the perimeter of the island you will also get great shots of the city as well.

We plan to go back once Governors Island opens again to the public on May 1st. If you plan to visit Governors Island before the closing day of October 31st this year it will be good to know that the island is open Monday-Fridays 10am-6pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 7pm. Let me know if you plan to visit or if you’ve ever been to Governors Island-T.S.

 

 

Travel

My Stay at Club Quarters Midtown

CQ Hotel

Two weekends ago I stayed at a Club Quarters Hotel in midtown due to consecutive events, the Jeval Beauty Event and the Puerto Rican Day Parade. One that my mom wanted to attend and the other she ended up attending anyway. Due to these events she thought it would be a good idea to stay close to at least one of these locations instead of paying for transportation twice. And being that I left the Jeval event around almost 10 pm and had to be at my meeting point for the parade at 8 am, I was glad she suggested it. Now don’t get me wrong, I would have still found a way to make both work but this option was less exhausting, for the both of us. She found a great priced room at Club Quarters Hotel located on the same block as Radio City Music Hall via Priceline. Learn about this cute hotel below! Locals let me know if you’ve stayed in this hotel and what other hotels you’ve stayed in to make an event or your workload easier. This is not a sponsored post I just happen to really like this hotel!

 

Amenities/ Extras

Here are the in-room amenities available to guests. The room comes stocked with an iron, ironing board, extra blankets and pillows. They also offer the option of leaving garments to be left for cleaning or to be put in storage, as well as same day and overnight dry cleaning with a laundry bag already located in your room. Their fitness room is small and doesn’t have any spectacular views but its open 24/7. They supply every room with a yoga mat and the gym is equipped with machines, refillable water bottles, towels, a scale and more yoga mats. The room also came equipped with a desk with a charging station, lamp and comfortable chair. I planned to use this convience but ended up being too exhausted to work at the end of the night.

The next amenity that I thought was very considerate and that I wished I would have asked for was the option to receive a “Sleep Better Kit”. This includes a humidifier, air purifier, and sound therapy machine. I was so exhausted the night before the parade that I didn’t think to ask for any of these, but I wish I would have asked for a sound machine. I sleep with one at home and it really helps me rest. It also would have helped block out the sound of playing kids next to us and the sudden police sirens… because duh NEW YORK CITY. But exhaustion, melatonin and turning on the air for the sound took over shortly.

I didn’t get a chance to take advantage of their dining options which included the following. The Terrace Club on the rooftop which had views of the city or the attached restaurant Johnny Utah’s next to the lobby. Room service and the ability to use the service/ app Seamless and have it delivered to your room was also an option. For convenience they also offer chilled, purified water machines on all floors as well as ice machines and buckets.

The final amenities were that of the business services. The hotel came equipped with free WIFI as well as wireless and Airpinting. They also have meeting facilities and a Club Living Room with work stations complete with universal charging stations and refreshments. These I didn’t get to check out, but I’m sure would be useful for large meetings and extra space for working. They provide four types of rooms as well as corporate apartments which can be booked for a 30 day stay or longer. Gold Rewards are offered to employees and guest of member organizations. Gold Reward perks include free nights, upgrades and gift cards to retailers

 

The App

Club Quarters Hotels has a corresponding app. The CQ Hotels app allows you to check in or out without having to go to the front desk. It also allows you to keep track of your reservations and your rewards points. The app can be used for any hotel under the CQ branch as well a partner hotels. CQ Hotels has hotels in multiple locations of New York Boston, Chicago, London, Philadelphia, San Francisoco and Washington DC. All giving you options to check in, find directions to the hotel and parking as well as order an Uber. The app also informs users about the hotel and what it offers as well as the ability to connect with guest services when you are in the hotel. You can control the tv with a remote via the app and you can also download a mobile key for the room. Finally you can find things  to do with suggestions by the hotel like to where to eat, enjoy night life and shop. There are also recommendations by TripAdvisor within the app.

CQ Hotel

 

The Room

The room itself I absolutely loved because it was tidy, clean, stylish and well stocked. I absolutely hate when I go to a hotel and there are not enough towels or you have to call for something to be brought up, changed, fixed, etc. When you walk into the room, just like when you meet someone you have first impressions and these were great. I loved how much sunlight came into the room and the fact that we could see Rockefeller Center and the NBC Building. I also loved how well light and modern both the room and bathroom were. The bed was well made and positioned well with multiple lighting options in the night stands. The desk was one of my favorite parts because it was functional and inspiring. If you’ve read my office space post I tell you a bit of how I have it set up. And this office space was similar, clean, inspiring and comfortable with a charging station! They also furnished the room with an extra chair and coffee station with a Keurig while the tv recognized you each time you turned it on. I also liked the color scheme which matched that of the office art and was relaxing.

 

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Things to do/ Things Near By/ Transportation

The hotel is perfectly located in midtown near Radio City Music Hall and Rockerfeller Center. Its also walking distance to Fifth Ave and Times Square/Broadway. Not to far from Times Square is Bryant Park and The New York Public Library. Also not far is Macys’, Herald Square and the Flat Iron Building.  All along midtown where the hotel is situated are things tourist aren’t goin to want to miss.  The hotel is also a block away from the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) if you care to stop into a museum. While Central Park is only six blocks away if you want to walk to the beginning of the park. The closest subways are the D, F and the E, M which can take you up and down Manhattan. If you have a little girl or daughter with you, you many want to go into American Girl which is on the same block as the hotel! Not far is also the famous Momofuku Milk Bar, Nobu, St.Patricks Cathedral and sooo much more. Another point to make is since this hotel is situated on a street and not an avenue and not right on top on Times Square it was a little less crowded. Two blocks away from the hotel is also a Enterprise Rent-A-Car if you prefer to drive instead of taking public transportation.

 

I hope this helps you if you are looking for hotel options! Have you ever stayed at a Club Quarters Hotel? What was your experience like? If not, I highly recommend it!- T.S.