Each year when the days turn warmer, most New Yorkers dream about exotic destinations and beach vacations. But as many have already discovered, city dwellers don’t have to go far to enjoy the beach experience.
Modern Mexican restaurant and beach club GITANO ISLAND has transformed the New York Scene by bringing a Dinner and Disco on the Beach experience that those who attend don’t soon forget.
The New Beach Club That Shipped 350 Tons of Sand to Governors Island
GITANO Island did the unimaginable. They built a tropical oasis in the midst of the New York Harbor.
To accomplish this, the seasonal restaurant that opened in June 2022 shipped 350 tons of sand and 500 tropical plants to New York to create a one-of-a-kind experience that allows overworked New Yorkers to escape to a tropical getaway without delayed flights and lost luggage.
Based on the world-renowned GITANO in Tulum, Mexico (and similar to other GITANO concepts around the U.S.), they have a 5-year deal to create this unique getaway from May to October. Diners and dancers have a limited time to experience GITANO NYC in 2022 but can anticipate a new, vibrant, and very neon continuation of the dinner, drinks, and dance on the beach experience in 2023.
What Experience-Seekers Can Expect at GITANO ISLAND
GITANO ISLAND has terraformed 27,000 square feet of waterfront space, reimagining it as a tropical island, restaurant and beach club
Visitors won’t be able to miss the 40-foot water features with a giant disco ball reflecting off New York Harbor or the neon lights amplifying the energetic ambiance.
Endless greenery, tropical palm trees with the authentic Modern-Mexican menu and music immerse beachgoers in a Tulum vacation experience.
Guests are greeted by GITANO ISLAND’s signature pink neon sign and quickly dsicover the familiar Beduin tent with a 360-degree marble bar, bamboo pergolas, sunbeds and shaded sofas, cabanas, a tented stage, and an open kitchen fired up and ready to serve up Gitano’s take on authentic Mexican cuisine.
Authentic Mexican Dining with a Modern Twist
The restaurant is proud to have the designation as the first to serve dinner on Governors Island. GITANO Executive Chef Antonio Maldonado a menu destined to delight.
Serving up to 600 at a time, the restaurant and bar will pour their signature cocktails, like the GYPSY DISCO 75 and Jungle Fever as they dish up authentic-modern Mexican cuisines like tamales de pipiàn, watermelon salad, and Branzino in a banana leaf.
The modern-Mexican restaurant and beach club is open daily, starting at noon and continuing through brunch. Then they open again at 4PM until close for cocktails and dinner.
Live Music Celebrating Rich Cultures
GITANO ISLAND hosts live DJs from around the world Thursday through Sunday with a wide range of artistic flavors, from afrobeat’s perfect mix of jazz and funk to house music to diverse Latin flair to Nu Disco. International touring acts immerse guests in a world of music, dance, and culture.
Special Events for All
Friday is reserved for “ISLAND DISCO”. Saturday’s are for “CEREMONIA”. Then, on Sunday, people gather for LOVE SENSATION, an LGBT event.
Each week they host a guest for the themed night. For example, in September 2022, they host Gabriel Liberty, Miss Maria, Lohrasp, Miguel Leon, and Boyyish.
Other recent special events have included Gitano Cinema, Gitano Flamenco, Mexico City Zona Maco Pop Up, and a Community Plant Giveaway.
What to Wear to GITANO Island
GITANO Island is the place to see and be seen in NYC. The owners recommend casual chic. While Gitano NYC is the perfect place to escape the city and relax, guests should dress to impress. While this is a restaurant with a beach-club vibe, it’s not the place for swim trunks and beach towels.
Arriving at GITANO ISLAND
GITANO ISLAND is just a five-minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan. Rather than a long flight, New Yorkers need only to travel by boat to reach their destination, and it’s recommended they take the ferry rather than their own boat, since docking space is limited.
The ferries run every 30 minutes during the week and set sail from Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street at Casa Cipriani. On the weekend, they run hourly from Brooklyn Bridge Park and Red Hook. Round trip ferry tickets for Governors Island cost $4 and must be booked 15 minutes in advance.
The last ferry runs at 10 PM Sun-Thur and 11PM Fri-Sat. GITANO closes down at this time to allow Governors Island visitors to catch the ferry.
Once beachgoers get off the ferry, the restaurant is a two-minute walk to the left, on the other side of Taco Vista. All they have to do is look for GITANO’s iconic pink neon signs.
Guests will need a reservation. This includes those who are only attending for the drinks and dance. Because they can only accommodate 600 guests at a time, dining reservations are for up to two hours. However, guests can also book a lounge or beach club reservation to continue the vacation experience later into the evening (10PM or 11PM, depending on the night).
Reservations can only be held for 15 minutes, so it’s important that guests arrive early for their ferry to avoid being late. Those who miss their reservation, may still be accommodated based on availability.
The Kitchen serves brunch from 12pm – 3pm everyday, and dinner 4pm – 9pm Monday through Thursday and till 10pm Friday to Sunday
About GRUPO GITANO
The company behind GITANO ISLAND sought to create a transportive oasis within the city. Founder and CEO James Gardner told Travel and Leisure, “We are inspired by the juxtaposition of the concrete jungle against our tropical jungle from the Yucatán [Peninsula], seeing coconut palms swaying against the Manhattan skyscrapers is always a beautiful sight, and highly Instagrammable at that.”
Many of the live plants and materials came straight from the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico. Gardner further said of the project. “I’ve lived in New York for more than 20 years but had never been to Governors Island. I fell in love with the magic of the island, as if I was transported out East, after a five-minute ferry ride.”