On a brisk morning on Governors Island, as winter begins to surrender to spring, the fake palm trees that greet the ferry on Water Taxi Beach appear even more surreal than usual, poking up out of snow above the empty picnic tables.

The ferry pulls in. The sun peeks through bare branches. A handful of people veer left toward the offices of the Trust for Governors Island and various maintenance jobs. The rest of the ferry's passengers — high school students and their adult keepers — file toward the newly opened Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, housed in a former Coast Guard infirmary. Read More

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