This year's extra-long stay in New York City is so I can do all the little things I haven't had time for on previous short stays. I accomplished one of those things today by visiting Governors Island. I had never heard of Governors Island until the New Yorker did a spread on it a while back. Apparently a lot of New Yorkers haven't heard of Governors Island either, even though it's 800 yards and a 10 minute [free] ferry ride from lower Manhattan. The island was a military outpost as far back as 1776, all the way to 1996 when it was a Coast Guard station. There was also a prison on the island in the early 1800s and one of the annecdotes in the New Yorker article had model prisoners babysitting the children of officers on party nights. The island is tiny (172 acres) and is currently run by the City of New York as a public space; the best way to get around is by bike, so I rented one and cruised the paths, passing abandoned barracks, former officer's homes, some sculpture installations, park areas, and former industrial sites. There was a graphic art exhibition in one of the buildings which I checked out, and a band playing in one of the park areas - it was a really nice ride, good way to spend my first full day here, good way to start my five week tenure of being a New Yorker.