Battery Park City, Manhattan
Learn more about Battery Park City, Manhattan
Battery Park City is a 90 acre (0.4 km²) planned community at the southwestern tip of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The land upon which it stands was created from the Hudson River using 1.2 million cubic yards (917,000 cubic meters) of dirt and rocks excavated during the construction of the World Trade Center and certain other construction projects. The neighborhood, which is the site of the World Financial Center along with numerous housing, commercial and retail buildings, is named for adjacent Battery Park.
Battery Park City is owned and managed by the Battery Park City Authority, a public-benefit corporation created by New York State. Excess revenue from the area is contributed to other housing efforts, typically low-income projects in the Bronx and Harlem.
Battery Park City is bounded on the east by West Street, which insulates the area from the Financial District of downtown Manhattan. To the west, north and south, the area is surrounded by the tidal estuary of the Hudson River.
The development consists of roughly five major sections. Traveling North to South, the first neighborhood, the "North Residential Neighborhood," consists of high-rise residential buildings, a large hotel, Stuyvesant High School and a mall (currently occupied by a movie theater, restaurants and a discount store for leather goods and accessories). Former parkland in the area is being converted into high-rise buildings.
Immediately to the South lies the World Financial Center, a complex of several commercial buildings occupied by tenants including American Express, Dow Jones & Company, Merrill Lynch and Deloitte & Touche. The World Financial Center's ground floor and portions of the second floor are occupied by a mall; its center point is a steel-and-glass atrium known as the Winter Garden. Outside of the Winter Garden lies a sizeable yacht harbor on the Hudson known as North Cove.
South of the World Financial Center lies the majority of Battery Park City's residential areas, in three sections: "Gateway Plaza", a high-rise building complex; the "Rector Place Residential Neighborhood" and the "Battery Place Residential Neighborhood", mostly low-rise building complexes. These neighborhoods contain most of the area's residential buildings, along with park space and various types of supporting businesses (supermarkets, restaurants, movie theatres.) Construction of residential buildings began north of the World Financial Center in the late 1990s.
By the late 1950s, the once prosperous port area of downtown Manhattan was occupied by a number of dilapidated shipping piers, casualties of the rise of air transport. The initial proposal to reclaim this area through landfill was offered in the early 1960s by private firms and supported by the Mayor. This plan became complicated when Governor Nelson Rockefeller announced his desire to redevelop a part of the area as a separate project. The various groups reached a compromise, and in 1966 the governor unveiled the proposal for what would become Battery Park City. The creation of architect Wallace K. Harrison, the proposal called for a 'comprehensive community' consisting of housing, social infrastructure and light industry. The landscaping of the parkspace and later the Winter Garden was designed by M. Paul Friedberg. In 1968, the New York State Legislature created the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) to oversee development.
For the next several years, the BPCA made slow progress. In 1969, it unveiled a master plan for the area, and in 1972 issued $200 million in bonds to fund construction efforts. By 1976 the landfill was completed; in many cases, the pre-existing piers were simply buried.
Construction efforts ground to a halt for nearly two years beginning in 1977, as a result of city-wide financial hardships. In 1979, the title to the landfill was transferred from the city to the BPCA, which financially restructured itself and created a new, more limited master plan. During the late 1970's and early 1980's the site hosted Creative Time's landmark Art on the Beach sculpture exhibitions.
Construction began on the first residential building in 1980, followed in 1981 with the start of construction on the World Financial Center, which saw its first tenants in 1985. Throughout the 1980s, the BPCA oversaw a great deal of construction, including the entire Rector Place neighborhood and the river Esplanade. It was during this period that current City Planning Department Director Amanda Burden worked on BPC. In the early 1990s, Battery Park City became the new home of the Stuyvesant High School. By the turn of the century, Battery Park City was mostly completed, with the exception of some ongoing construction on West Street.
Current residential neighborhoods of Battery Park City are divided into a north and south section, separated by the World Financial Center Complex. The southern section, extending down from the Winter Garden, is the more densly populated region, containing Gateway Plaza, and Rector Place apartment buildings. The northern section, although still under very large construction, consists entirely of large, 20-45 story buildings which are all various shades of orange brick.
The September 11, 2001 attacks had a major impact on Battery Park City. More than two thirds of the area's residents fled after the adjacent World Trade Center towers collapsed. Gateway Plaza, the largest of the residential buildings, was punctured by airplane parts, and the Winter Garden was severely damaged. Environmental concerns regarding dust from the Trade Center have also been a continuing source of worry. Since the attacks, much of the damage has been repaired; reduced rents and government subsidies have gone a long way to restoring residential occupancy.
In the meantime, real estate development in the area continues unabated. More recent projects include Tribeca Green, which caters to the environmentally conscious, and several other buildings.
 External links
- Battery Park City Authority
- NYCfoto.com Photos of Battery Park City
- Battery Park City ONLINE Community Web-site
- North Cove Marina
- Rental buildings in Battery Park City