Battery Park – Tourist Attractions in New York City
Battery Park in NYC, New York, USA
Battery Park is a 21-acre (8.5 ha) public park located at the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City. The park is named for the artillery that was stationed there at various times by the Dutch and British in order to protect the harbor. At one end of the park is Pier A and Hope Garden, a memorial to AIDS victims. At the other end is battery Gardens restaurant, next to the United States Coast Guard battery Building. Along the waterfront, ferries depart for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
To the northwest of the park lies battery Park City, an area of landfill redevelopment built in the 1970s and 80s, which includes Robert F. Wagner Park and the battery Park City Promenade. Together with Hudson River Park a system of greenspaces, bikeways and promenades now extend up the Hudson shoreline. A bikeway is being built through the park that will connect to the Hudson River Park bikeway, north of the park across battery Place that runs past battery Park City and the World Financial Center and up the West Side. Across State Street to the northeast lies the U.S. Customs House/Museum of the American Indian. Peter Minuit Plaza abuts the southeast end of the park, directly in front of the South Ferry Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry.
The park itself was created by landfill during the 19th century, resulting in a landscaped open space at the foot of the heavily developed mainland of Manhattan Island. Skyscrapers now occupy the original land, stopping abruptly where the park begins. On State Street, the former harbor front and the northern boundary of the park, a single Federal mansion survives (illustration, right) as the Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Until the 1820s, the city’s stylish residential district lay north of this house, between Broadway and the “North” River.
Within the park lies Castle Clinton, an American fort built on a small off-shore island immediately prior to the War of 1812 and named for mayor DeWitt Clinton. When the land of battery Park was created, the island was enclosed by land.
The fort became property of the city after the war and was renamed Castle Garden. Leased by the city it became a popular promenade and beer garden. Later roofed-over, it bacame one of the premier theatrical venues in the United States and contributed greatly to the development of New York City as the theater capital of the nation. The migration of the city’s elite uptown increased concurrently with the mass European emigration of the middle 19th century. As immigrants settled the battery area, the location was less favorable to theater patrons and Castle Garden was closed. The structure was then made into the world’s first immigration depot, processing millions of immigrants beginnng in 1855 – over 40 years before its successor, Ellis Island, opened its doors. This period coincided with immigration waves resulting from the Great Hunger in Ireland (a.k.a.”The Famine”) and other pivotal European events. It is currently a National Monument known again by its original name, and managed by the National Park Service. In addition to a small history exhibit, the fort is the site where ferry tickets are sold to visit Liberty and Ellis islands.
battery Park is featured in the famous song by Leonard Bernstein, “New York, New York, it’s a Hell of a Town”, which includes the line “and the battery’s down” for the southerly location of the Park.
battery Park is also mentioned in John Mayer’s song City Love, which includes the lyric “From the battery to the Gallery” in reference to the entirety of Manhattan Island.
Five months after being damaged but not destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, Fritz Koenig’s The Sphere, which once stood outside the World Trade Center a few blocks away, was reinstalled in a temporary location along Eisenhower Mall in the northern section of the park. There, along with an eternal flame, it serves to memorialize the victims of 9/11.