Touch the History on Governors Island

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“Many people have imagined the future for Governors Island, and we think it’s also wonderful to imagine the island’s past.”

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm

 … said Leslie Koch (President Governors Island Preservation and Education Company) on The Archaeological Dig in The New York Times

Some pictures of visitors on the archaeological site:

Some comments from the guestbook:

Fascinating and edifying historical treasure (09/20/09)

Goverthing shall forever live on in my heart and spirit (09/19/09)

Cool dig (09/18/09)

Great! Very interesting human stories. José emerges as a kind of tragic hero. Loved Josés gas station (09/18/09)

Glenn & Mike have now completed their world tour of snow globe manufacturing sites! Bravi to the archaeologists for this find (09/13/09)

Made my day and trip over to the island totally worthwile (09/12/09)

The joy of a child is the discovery of a unknown world beneath their foots (09/12/09)

We are so impressed! Just when I thought I couldn’t love Governors Island anymore than I did – Enter the discovery of Goverhting! Incredible! (09/12/09)

Fantastic preservation of an important historical time period in American history. Cheers to the Belgian team for sharing & revealing these important artefacts with the citizens of NYC. This is classic 50’s America! (09/10/09)

“I hope the archaeological dig will yield exciting results.”

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm

“This archeological site provides a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the history of this forgotten piece of Governors Island,” said Professor Luc D’Hoe, who is leading the archeological team. “Over the past several months, we have uncovered the remains of an old church, factory, and gas station that stood at this location.”

The archeologists have learned that there once was a civilian hamlet located on Governors Island. The few inhabitants of the small village were forced to leave their homes in 1954. Since that time, the buildings from the village have been buried under a mound of sand until they were re-discovered earlier this year.

Visitors are invited to learn more about the history of the hamlet and the lives of those who lived there by touring the site and viewing an exhibition about the archeological dig. The exhibition is located adjacent to the dig, in a building formerly used by the US Coast Guard as a mess hall.

“The site itself and the exhibition tell the story of this forgotten village,” said Geert Hautekiet, who designed the dig’s exhibition that outlines the story of the hamlet. “This site allows members of the public to actually touch the history of Governors Island and learn more about this place that disappeared more than fifty years ago.”

Last year, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) began the first phase of demolishing decrepit, non-historic buildings on the Island’s southern half. Demolition included Liberty Village, a series of ten apartment buildings, which created eight acres of new open space. This area has become Picnic Point, an increasingly popular destination for Governors Island visitors.

Demolition also included PS 26 and the Bachelor’s Quarters, which were buildings located on the four acre site where the dig is located. During the demolition of these structures, archeologists discovered the remnants of the hamlet’s buildings.

“This latest effort literally to uncover the history of New York reminds us that there are many routes to the past and that our intellectual journeys need not always be to places that are remote from us either in time or in space,” said Kenneth T. Jackson, editor, The Encyclopedia of New York City. “I hope the archaeological dig will yield exciting results.”

“In 2009, for the first time, visitors to Governors Island could access more areas than ever before, including the entire two mile promenade and the wonderful new spot Picnic Point,” said GIPEC President Leslie Koch. “We are so pleased to open this new space to the public and that visitors can explore Governors Island in an entirely new way.”

Funding for the archeological dig and the accompanying exhibition is made possible by Flanders House.

As we celebrate the quadricentennial and the relationship between the Low Countries and the United States, we are particularly excited that a Flemish team is a part of this discovery,” said Nicolas Polet of Flanders House. “We are so pleased that this project allows New Yorkers to experience history and culture in new ways.”

The Archaeological Dig is closed

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2009 at 5:25 pm

More than 5000 people visited this amazing site.

The Archaeological Team from Flanders at work on Governors Island, last spring.

The Archaeological Team from Flanders at work on Governors Island, last spring.

Time Schedule
Friday: 10.30 AM – 4 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 10.30 AM – 6 PM
Last entrance 45 min. prior to closing.

Tickets:   adults $5 –  children (3-12 years): $3
children (< 3 years) and surviving residents of the disappeared hamlet: Free

For directions to Governors Island and ferry schedule visit

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm

thearchaeologicaldig_flyer_DEF_72dpi_RGBVisit a fascinating archaeological dig. Step back in time and experience the history as you stroll through the partly excavated remains of a small hamlet, once evacuated in the early fifties. The oldest roots of the hamlet are some 400 years old and go back to the first settlements in Manhattan.

This winter, during demolition works on Governors Island in preparation for the site of the future park, contractors by accident discovered the remains of a disappeared hamlet. Archaeologists from Flanders (Belgium), examining the site, are amazed by their discoveries.

Until October 11th, the site is exclusively open to the public. A temporary exhibition with unique discoveries and historical information introduces the audience to the amazing Archaeological Dig.


In Uncategorized on July 13, 2009 at 9:12 am

The presentation of The Archaeological Dig was made possible through generous funds from Flanders House, the new cultural forum of Flanders (Belgium) in the United States ( and the New Island Festival ( Additional funding was made possible by the Flemish Community, the City of Antwerp, JetAirways and G.I.P.E.C. ( 

The archaeological team is led by prof. Luc d’Hoe (University of Louvain, Belgium). The temporary exhibition accompanying the excavation is designed and constructed by Compagnie KAiET! with technical support of the National Park Service.