Mayor Bloomberg breaks ground on the Hills at Governors Island, New York

The Hills, the second phase of public space designed by West 8, will rise up to 80 feet above Governors Island, providing extraordinary views of Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor and opening to public in 2015.

Wendy and Eric Schmidt of Google, Adriaan Geuze of West 8 and the Trust for Governors Island Chair, Ronay Menschel and its President, Leslie Koch joined Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on the 25th of July to break ground on ‘The Hills’ at Governors Island. The event officially launches the capital campaign, now totaling $36 million, to privately fund the construction of The Hills on Governors Island.

“Governors Island is at the center of our Administration’s efforts to revitalize our waterfront and create new and innovative green spaces along the water’s edge,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

“The Hills are the culmination of the new park and public spaces on Governors Island,” said Adriaan Geuze, Design Director at West 8. “They will provide visitors with the feeling of being immersed by nature and from the top of Outlook Hill will give a feeling of the sea and sky, against the City skyline, like nowhere else in the world.”

Drawing from the precedent of Frederick Law Olmsted’s creation of manmade topography in Central Park, ‘The Hills’ pay homage to the lush, hilly landscapes of pre-colonial Manhattan, and fortify the Island’s resiliency in the face of rising sea levels.

There are four Hills, each made of recycled construction and fill materials. Grassy Hill will provide a 28 foot high gentle slope overlooking the Island’s new and historic landscapes and the Manhattan skyline. Slide Hill (38 feet high), will host 4 slides for children and families nestled in shady trees. The 45 foot high Discovery Hill will be the setting for the convergence of nature and art with site-specific art along its pathways. Outlook Hill, rising 80 feet above the Island, will be New York City’s newest destination as visitors access its winding path to enjoy breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. All Hills begin to rise this year and are scheduled to open to the public in the spring of 2015.

Construction of the first phase of park, which includes Hammock Grove, Play Lawn and Liggett Terrace is on schedule to be completed in 2013. The Hills add another 11 acres of public park space to the 30 acres previously announced as well as the green spaces in the Island’s National Historic District which have also been enhanced over the last year.


  • Lead Designer/Prime Consultant: West 8 urban design & landscape architecture p.c.
  • Associate Landscape Architect: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architecture
  • 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


The Trust for Governors Island is the nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the planning, redevelopment, and ongoing operations of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust is transforming Governors Island into a destination with great public open space, as well as educational, not-for-profit, and commercial facilities. The Trust broke ground on 30 acres of new park spaces scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2013 and is proceeding with an ambitious infrastructure program to ready the Island for expanded tenancy and activity. For more information, visit