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'The Hills' To Bring Beauty To Newly-Opening Section Of Governors Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A section of the southwest side of Governors Island is about to be opened for the public for the first time.

As CBS2's Sonia Rincon reported, you will soon be able to head to The Hills for breathtaking panoramic views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Jersey City and the Statue of Liberty.

"We've actually built four hills out of demolition debris on an island in the middle of New York Harbor," said Governors Island Trust President Leslie Koch.

Koch said the debris is from military buildings that used to stand on the site.

Stones have also been set up from the island's old seawall, and the part of the island itself where The Hills are located is made from landfill from the construction of the Lexington Avenue subway.

Baby trees were strategically chosen and placed for a future forest that will never obstruct the views.

"So when visitors come here in 100 years, this is going to be not only as famous, but as spectacular as Central Park," Koch said.

Each hill has a theme. Slide Hill features the city's longest slide, and Grassy Hill has a lush lawn.

And on Discovery Hill, an art installation awaits visitors at the end of a walking trail.

But each of the hills has spectacular views.

Perhaps the most spectacular are from Outlook Hill. CBS2's Rincon climbed to the top with NYC & Company's Chris Heywood, who said a visit to Governors Island is actually one of the city's most affordable adventures.

It starts with a $2 round-trip ferry ride from Lower Manhattan or Brooklyn.

"Seven miles of car-free bike trails throughout the island; head-on views of the Statue of Liberty; the closest place on land to the base of the Statue of Liberty," Heywood said.

Citibike and rentals are available. You can even rent a surrey and see what goes on – whether art galleries or urban farming. You can also just lounge in the hammock grove.

The Hills open to the public July 19.

The city controls half of Governors Island, which includes The Hills. The National Park Service maintains the other half, which has three preserved U.S. Army bases.

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