Battery Park City bursting with parks, new restaurants and residential towers

Battery Park City bursting with parks, new restaurants and residential towers

You wouldn’t call Battery Park City the suburbs, exactly — but with a majority of the Manhattan neighborhood surrounded by the Hudson River and more than a third of its 92 acres dedicated to parkland, it seems quieter than the rest of the borough.

Due to its close proximity to the World Trade Center and the rest of the Financial District, the area has long been a haven for finance professionals who benefit from the quick commute to their offices.

A planned community, BPC and the land it sits on at the edge of Manhattan were constructed in the 1970s out of landfill recycled from the excavation of the first World Trade Center site. Before that, the borough’s most western boundary before the Hudson River was West Street.

The neighborhood and its amenities were therefore planned specifically to foster residential life.

Today, families with small children are attracted to all it has to offer, as a walk along the scenic riverfront promenade or visit to one of the area’s many parks will attest to.

“I have two small children, and this neighborhood is very kid-friendly,” said five-year resident Ryan Morfin, 37.

The two-acre Teardrop Park, off Warren Street between River Terrace and North End Avenue, doesn’t allow dogs, but it does offer art, gardens and rocks for climbing.

Rockefeller Park, a waterfront space located west of River Terrace at the north end of BPC, has a large lawn and a playground, as well as basketball and handball courts and a pavilion.

Local ball enthusiasts can play baseball, softball, Frisbee and other sports at the community ball fields at West Street between Murray and Warren streets.

In terms of schools, parents have access to P.S./I.S. 276, the Battery Park School, which includes a rooftop garden in its curriculum, along with Spanish language instruction starting in the first grade.

“There are quite a few families in the neighborhood, but everybody is down here now,” said Betsy Buhler, a real estate agent with Citi Habitats who has lived in BPC for 30 years. “I have clients who have sold their homes in Westchester and Long Island and retired back into the neighborhood. There are young families, singles, everybody.”

For dining, locals head to hip restaurants at the Brookfield Place complex, such as Amada, a Spanish concept from famed chef Jose Garces that opened in April, and Parm, an outpost of the sandwich and American food franchise.

Even the housing stock feels new, with its oldest residential complex, Gateway Plaza on South End Avenue, constructed in 1983. Other BPC residences include brick structures at the south end, where prices tend to be on the less expensive side, and sleek glass and steel towers on the northern half.

As neighboring TriBeCa and the Financial District have become increasingly hot neighborhoods, BPC has become a more popular, too.

“In the past there was a drawback to the location of the neighborhood” because it wasn’t near any nightlife or shopping, Buhler said. “Years ago … it felt like it wasn’t really connected to the rest of Manhattan. But all that’s changed. People are clamoring to live here now.”

The cost of living is also on the rise.

The median sales price in Battery Park City rose 71% from $950,000 in 2014 to $1,624,108 in 2015, according to the listings site StreetEasy. The median rent rose 14% from $3,825 in 2014 to $4,350 in 2015, StreetEasy found.

Because of this, some longtime residents are worried about eventually getting priced out.

Michael Magliulo Jr., who has owned Picasso Pizzeria at 303 South End Ave. for 20 years, said he used to live in BPC but left for New Jersey due to the rising rent. He fears his business may face the same fate.

“It’s very difficult for businesses to make rent in this neighborhood,” he said. “Big companies are taking over the little guys. Who wants to see nothing but chains? It makes the community better to have a mix.”

But locals said they love their neighborhood, despite its housing prices.

“For many years Battery Park City was like the frontier — a bunch of buildings with no services and nothing to do,” said Karen Quinones, a historian with Patriot Tours and an expert on Manhattan below Chambers Street. “It’s amazing walking there now. It’s like a totally separate city.”

Find it:

Battery Park City is bordered by West Street to the east and is bound by the Hudson River to the south, west and north, according to StreetEasy.

Patrick McGovern