Real EstateCity LivingManhattan Battery Park City bursting with parks, new restaurants and residential towers By Patrick McGovern Special to amNewYork Updated May 27, 2016 1:47 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email 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. Battery Park City restaurants Photo Credit: Linda Rosier Hudson Eats200 Vesey St. in Brookfield PlaceA food court in the Brookfield Place complex featuring some of New York City's most popular vendors, including Umami Burger, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Black Seed Bagels and Mighty Quinn's BBQ. Get there early -- the 600 communal seats fill up in a hurry during the lunch rush.Brookfieldplaceny.comAmada250 Vesey St.Award-winning chef Jose Garces recently opened this much-anticipated NYC outpost of his flagship Philadelphia restaurant, featuring tasting menus and innovative takes on tapas.Newyork.amadarestaurant.comEl Vez259 Vesey St.New interpretations of classic Mexican dishes dominate the menu at this upscale restaurant that is especially popular with the after-work crowd.Elveznyc.com Bars and nightlife Photo Credit: Linda Rosier The Black Hound301 South End Ave.This speakeasy-style dive bar owned by Death & Co. alum Jeremy Strawn serves classic cocktails named after literary figures daily until midnight.Blackhoundbar.comThe Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar102 North End Ave.Enjoy a signature Prosecco and ice pop cocktail at this stylish lounge located on the 16th-story roof of the Conrad Hotel.Conradnewyork.comPier A Harbor House22 Battery PlaceLocated in a landmark building that originally housed the city's former Department of Docks, this bar and restaurant offers sweeping views of the New York Harbor.Piera.com Shopping in Battery Park City Photo Credit: Linda Rosier Le District225 Brookfield PlaceThis market and restaurant space has been described as the French answer to Eataly. Shop for staples in French cuisine at its marketplace.Brookfieldplaceny.comBabesta250 Vesey St. in Brookfield PlaceHead to the Brookfield Place location of the TriBeCa children's boutique, which offers stylish clothes, gifts and toys.Babesta.comBattery Park City Gourmet Market450 North End Ave.Household items and food goods abound at this 24-hour market.212-233-9333 Things to do Photo Credit: Linda Rosier Poets House10 River TerraceGet lost among the 60,000 volumes housed in this national poetry library and literary center, or find your inner muse at the free workshops and events offered in the 11,000-square-foot space designed by architect Louise Braverman.Poetshouse.orgIrish Hunger MemorialNorth End Avenue and Vesey StreetA patch of rural Ireland that seemingly floats above the concrete and asphalt of the city below. The memorial, which features a stone cottage and honors the Irish Potato Famine, opened in 2002 and offers views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.Bpcparks.orgMuseum of Jewish Heritage36 Battery PlacePermanent and special exhibitions explore Jewish life from the last 100 years. Be sure to visit the Garden of Stones, featuring trees planted by Holocaust survivors and their families that are growing out of stones.Mjhnyc.org Transit basics Photo Credit: Linda Rosier Trains:The closest subways to Battery Park City are the E at World Trade Center and the 1 at Rector Street.Buses:M9, M20, M22 Battery Park City real estate data Photo Credit: Linda Rosier Median sales price: $1,624,108 Number of units on market: 362 Median rental price: $4,350 Number of rentals on market: 1,399 (Source: StreetEasy) Pop culture in Battery Park City Photo Credit: AFP, Getty Images / Valerie Macon Zelda, the wild turkey who made headlines in NYC for more than a decade, spent the summer of 2013 living in Battery Park City. Tyra Banks, Leonardo DiCaprio and celeb couple Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher own homes in the neighborhood. The buzz Photo Credit: Linda Rosier Community Board 1, which has Battery Park City in its jurisdiction, is calling on the city and state to help St. Joseph's Chapel.The chapel has been in Gateway Plaza, a mixed-use residential and commercial complex on South End Avenue, since 1983.It has been at risk of leaving its current location since its rent was tripled in 2013, according to CB1.St. Joseph's is part of the parish of St. Peter -- Our Lady of the Rosary, located nearby.In the months after 9/11, the chapel donated its space to first responders and held mass at a nearby health club instead."St. Joseph's Chapel is an integral part of our community," said Ninfa Segarra, co-chair of the Battery Park City Committee for CB1. "Beyond its function as a house of worship, it has served as a gathering place during 9/11 recovery, houses 9/11 artifacts, and is a meeting place of local organizations and partners."On March 22, CB1 passed a resolution urging city officials and the Battery Park City Authority to assist in finding a solution to the situation. However, a representative from CB1 did not respond to a request for an elaboration on what kind help the city and BPCA could provide.In response to the resolution, BPCA spokesman Nick Sbordone said the authority is "sympathetic to the concerns expressed by the St. Joseph's congregation and will be happy to continue discussions with them concerning any options which may allow the chapel to stay in its current location." Representatives from both the St. Peter -- Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and Gateway Plaza management declined to comment. A representative from the mayor's office couldn't be reached for comment. Q&A with Thomas Berton, owner of Manhattan By Sail Photo Credit: Linda Rosier Native New Yorker and longtime downtown Manhattan resident Thomas Berton began providing specialty sailing trips around New York Harbor in 2001 after buying and restoring the Shearwater, an 82-foot schooner yacht built in 1929 that's docked at North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place. Berton, 51, now owns Manhattan By Sail, which offers daily excursions from Battery Park City, including nighttime sails, happy hour trips and a Sunday champagne brunch.Since you opened your business right before 9/11, how was it affected by that day?It was disorienting. People began gathering near our boat after the attacks, so our captain began taking them across to Jersey City. We made multiple trips. I spent quite a bit of time locating our crewmembers and calling their families when I knew they were OK. The Shearwater sustained some damage but we were able to make the repairs.How did you get your start in sailing?I was back home in New York on spring break my senior year of college and was in Battery Park with a friend when we saw a guy loading a very large bag onto a beautiful sailboat. We decided to help him out and he repaid us by taking us sailing. I became a volunteer on the ship, the Petrel, and have been sailing ever since.What are passengers most excited about on your sailing trips?Our customers are mostly New Yorkers, and they say that going out on our ships causes them to fall in love with the city again. We go out and sail around the Statue of Liberty and it's amazing. It never gets old, even for the crew. Looking back at the city, you're in another world.What's something about BPC that would surprise people?Well, I used to come to this area when it was empty -- nothing but landfill. I would bring my BB gun and bow and arrow and shoot at bottles. My friends and I would ride our bikes up on the old elevated West Side Highway. It was a pretty wild area down here before the neighborhood came into its own. Now it's an actual community. By Patrick McGovern Special to amNewYork Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.