Battery Park City: A bustling nabe with beautiful greenery
When visiting Battery Park City, you might want to bring sunscreen or a light jacket. Although BPC covers only 92 acres, more than a third of the neighborhood consists of parks and public spaces.
With its flower-lined walkways, waterside paths and lush lawns, Battery Park City is a pedestrian’s dream.
For some, it is hard to think that this bustling neighborhood was nothing more than an idea 50 years ago. The first residential building, Gateway Plaza at 389 South End Ave., wasn’t even completed until 1983.
But stemming from the combined efforts of the Battery Park City Authority, the New York State public benefit corporation that has owned and managed the area since 1968, and private developers, it is now a desirable place to call home.
“It wasn’t always a hip place to be, even five years ago,” said Jared Paletti, a broker at Spire Group. “But now … it’s a viable alternative to the West Village, and certainly more diverse.”
Paletti also compared Battery Park City to another popular downtown neighborhood.
“I’m seeing a lot of spillover from TriBeCa. With prices rising in that neighborhood — although the gap has narrowed in price difference between TriBeCa and Battery Park City — there’s an influx of young professionals and couples, as well as families,” he said.
According to the real estate website StreetEasy, the median sales price for Battery Park City is $1.097 million, while TriBeCa’s is $3.8 million.
The neighborhood’s accessibility, excellent schools (including the award-winning Stuyvesant High School), and kid-focused amenities such the New York Kids Club and state-of-the-art playgrounds, attract families.
Enjoyed by all, the 13 parks and public spaces in BPC give the neighborhood a suburbia-in-the-city feel.
Head to the community fields on North End Avenue for a game of touch football or soccer, bring the kids to the playground at West Thames Park, pack a picnic for the great lawns of Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park or simply stroll down The Esplanade and take in the views of the Hudson.
Battery Park City also appeals to art enthusiasts and history buffs.
Several of the neighborhood’s 20 public art pieces are located in Teardrop Park and Rockefeller Park, and the Rector Gate arches, in all their steel, bronze and granite glory, deck one entrance to The Esplanade.
A segment of the Berlin Wall is on display in Kowsky Plaza, while the Irish Hunger Memorial on Vesey Street pays homage to the Great Famine with a 19th century rebuilt cottage, informational plaques and lush landscaping.
Other cultural draws include the Poets House, a library with more than 50,000 volumes of poetry and the Skyscraper Museum, a museum devoted to architecture and design.
By night, once many of the businesspeople from the World Financial Center head home, the streets are significantly quieter, but Battery Park City still has something to offer come sundown.
Restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer opened Shake Shack, Blue Smoke and North End Grill all within the past two years, while standby haunts of the ’hood like Merchants River House and Liberty View Restaurant remain popular. Afterward, locals and visitors alike can head to cocktail bars like Southwest NY or Atrio Wine Bar for casual imbibing.
“What makes Battery Park City unique compared to other neighborhoods is, it’s a middle ground, a place you live in the city before moving to suburbs,” Paletti said.
“You can raise a family here,” he said. “It’s one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Manhattan.
Battery Park City is a peninsula bounded by West Street to the east and surrounded by the Hudson River to the north, west, and south. The northernmost street is Chambers Street, while the southernmost street is Battery Place.
Battery Park City is a pleasantly walkable neighborhood due to its numerous parks and waterfront Esplanade. Numerous trains will take you within a short walking distance.
1, R to Rector Street
4, 5 to Bowling Green or Wall Street
A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers Street
E to World Trade Center
N, R to Cortland Street
M9, M20, M22
Downtown Connection services 37 stops in lower Manhattan for free
New York Public Library, 175 North End Ave.
Nearby USPS offices are at 15 Rector St. and 90 Church St.
The First Precinct covers Battery Park, the Financial District, SoHo and TriBeCa. According to the NYPD’s CompStat reports, overall crime declined nearly 54% from 2001 to 2012. However, there has been a recent increase of grand larcenies in the area.
CELEBS WHO LIVE HERE
Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem
Cobie Smulders and Taran Killam
Inatteso Pizzabar Casano, 28 West St. A Battery Park City favorite since December 2008, Inatteso serves modern interpretations of Italian classics. Great for lunch or dinner, try the Neapolitan pizzas fresh from the brick oven or the well-priced house-made pasta dishes. 212-267-8000.
Food trucks, 4 World Financial Center. For a quick bite, head to the food trucks parked at the World Financial Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. The rotating schedule of mobile eateries brings sandwiches and sliders at Miami Food Machine and barbecued Mexican classics at the aptly named Mexicue. Sweet tooths can be satisfied at Andy’s Italian Ice, which scoops up refreshing flavors such as mojito and orange fresca. Brookfield placeny.com/foodtrucks
Wei West, 235 Murray St. This pan-Asian restaurant serves classics like fresh spring rolls, noodle dishes, and stir-fries. The sushi and sashimi are recommended, such as the popular Battery Park Roll with salmon and fresh pineapple, topped with avocado and caviar. Bonus: Wei West has a nice offering of gluten-free options. 212-786-1300.
North End Grill, 104 North End Ave. North End Grill, one of the newest restaurants from Danny Meyer’s ever-expanding Union Square Hospitality Group, is a New American bar and grill. Though the food has earned its own accolades, the real passion of the place comes from the impressive Scotch bar, extensive wine list and fun cocktails. 646-747-1600.
Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar, 102 North End Ave., top floor. A local favorite, Loopy Doopy is located on top of the Conrad Hotel. With stunning views of the Hudson and a nice breeze, visitors may be so enchanted sipping the specialty drink — a frozen ice pop served in a glass of prosecco — they will not be bothered by the $18 price tag. 646-769-4250.
Black Hound Bar and Lounge, 301 South End Ave. Next door to sister restaurant Southwest NY, this neighborhood bar is notable for its warm atmosphere and exceptional cocktails. A relative newcomer to the area, Black Hound is welcomed for its specialty literary-themed drinks. Try the Mark Twain-inspired Widow Douglas, with Dewar’s, ginger, honey, peach, lemon and peach bitters, for a swift kick. 212-945-0562.
Skyscraper Museum Gift Shop, 39 Battery Pl.
This gift shop stands out for refraining from only selling run-of-the-mill Statue of Liberty magnets and Manhattan skyline mugs. Instead, find a pleasing assortment of architectural miscellanea, including exclusive archival prints of the Empire State Building, city construction photos and a notable offering of architecture books. 212-945-6324.
Bulls and Bears Winery, 309 South End Ave.Though a bit pricey, Bulls and Bears has a large selection of both common and hard-to-find wines and liquors. Don’t hesitate to ask an associate for an honest opinion. 212-912-0890.
Bloom, 255 Murray St. Catering to the higher-end market, Bloom sells exquisite arrangements of flowers and well-curated gift packages. One (beautiful) signature package comes with 70 hot pink and lime green roses, tulips, orchids and more, but will set you back a cool $385. 212-832-8094.
Manhattan Sailing School, 385 South End Ave. (at North Cove Marina). Offering classes for all experience levels, Manhattan Sailing School remains New York’s largest sailing school. Novices sign up for Basic Sailing, which instructs the wannabe sailor on, well, the basics. But for the more practiced, check out Coastal Cruising or Learn to Race. Classes range in price; call for more details. 212-786-0400.
Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl. This museum, officially titled Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, strives to educate visitors on Jewish life in the 20th and 21st centuries. With a special focus on Holocaust remembrance, the Museum of Jewish Heritage is a must-see in Battery Park City for people of all ages. 646-437-4202.
Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, north end of Battery Park City. Battery Park City is home to 13 different playgrounds and parks, one of which is the Nelson A. Rockefeller Park. Located at the northernmost point of the nabe near River Terrace and Warren Street, Rockefeller Park is a great place to relax or play, due to its playground, public art pieces and spacious green lawns. 212-267-9700.\
Residents of Battery Park City and kayakers on the Hudson are in a disagreement about ongoing noise complaints from ferry horns.
Though Coast Guard regulations call for ferries to signal their departure from docks with a six-second horn honk to ensure the safety of smaller vehicles or boaters in the river, some residents are not pleased with what they view as an annoyance.
In an open letter to his neighbors dated July 2, BPC resident Wolfgang Gaebler complained that the honking from the ferries “interrupts our sleep every morning before 6:00 a.m.”
On a Facebook page he created to spearhead the movement, titled “Stop Honking Ferries in New York City,” Gaebler urges his neighbors to write to ferry company NY Waterway and the U.S. Coast Guard and to make noise complaints to 311.
But Coast Guard spokesman Charles Rowe said the law is necessary to keep people safe.
“It’s required by law as a safety measure; any vessel traffic going through the river needs to sound their horn to warn other vessels,” Rowe said. “The Coast Guard is charged with enforcing the law, especially when the safety of others is a concern.”
Q&A with Abraham Merchant: a Battery Park City restaurateur
Abraham Merchant, president of Merchants Hospitality, owns and operates 17 restaurants and bars downtown, including Merchants River House and Black Hound.
He has also lived in Battery Park City for 12 years. He calls the neighborhood “an oasis.”
Do you live in the area? Why?
Yes, I moved right after 9/11. I wanted to show my staff it was safe to be there, that downtown is a safe place to live. I intended to stay for two years, but stayed because I like the area.
How has Merchants River House done so far?
Very well! Steamers Landing did well, too, but it was expensive and not as approachable. It’s good for businessmen after hours; tourists can walk right in. It’s not intimidating in any way. We are very accepted by the neighborhood, by the families that live here, office workers, and tourists alike.
How has the nabe changed since you’ve been around?
The major change is there is a significant influx of people moving downtown, especially since 9/11. It is a financial area, yes, but it’s also residential. All of a sudden, it became a neighborhood, not just fragmented office buildings. There are top-notch restaurateurs here — Danny Meyer opened three restaurants.