I kind of knew that going to Governors Island on opening weekend when the weather is 27 degrees would be a mistake – and it kind of was and it kind of wasn't. It was mobbed, there were rented-bicycle bells everywhere, and it was way too hot – but there was a hidden gem.
Governors Island, for anyone who doesn't know, was once a historic US Army barracks at the foot of Manhattan – all drilling grounds, parade grounds, canons and billets. It's quite fascinating from that perspective, although the leftover colonial-style houses are strange – it's like a little secret ghost town, with padlocked doors, empty verandas and boarded windows. Nowadays it's open to the public for the summer (they hold the amazing-looking Jazz Age lawn party there in June).
One house that wasn't padlocked (although I'm almost certain that it should have been, given the state of it) was the Commander's House – a huge sprawl of a crumbling mansion, with little hints of what it once was. It was fascinating to be able to have such a good look around, even if it wasn't actually permitted, strictly speaking. It felt strangely like a open house view, but without the purchasing option.