Stroll through New York's Battery Park neighborhood, also known as Battery Park City, and it's difficult to believe that the area was once part of the Hudson River and the ports that served it.
Situated at the southern tip of Manhattan, Battery Park City and the park nearby appear as an oasis in the midst of a big city. The community was developed after Lower Manhattan's shipping ports became largely unused and run down, due mostly to the increased popularity of air transportation in the 1950s and 1960s. During those decades, local government officials looked for better ways to use the area that was once so vibrant.
By the late 1960s, architect Wallace K. Harrison was called upon to create a design for the neighborhood. He devised a 90-acre planned community that would be just steps from Wall Street and Manhattan's thriving financial district. According to the architect, it was to consist of light industry, residential housing, and places for social interaction, such as restaurants and movie theaters. Funding was approved in 1972 and the name Battery Park City was chosen due to the neighborhood's proximity to the expansive green area known as Battery Park.
In order to begin the project, old run-down piers had to be removed or buried. That was done by excavating more than 1 million cubic yards of rocks and dirt from construction projects already taking place in the area. Much of the rubble used to build the Battery Park neighborhood was taken from the site of the World Trade Center, which was completed in 1972-73.
Five sub-neighborhoods now make up the area known as Battery Park City. Four of them are residential with the commercial World Financial Center (WFC) situated in the center. The WFC features four office towers that house some of the world's most prestigious corporations and the complex is also a cultural center for the neighborhood's residents and the city in general, hosting numerous concerts and other arts events year round.
The residential areas - Gateway Plaza, Rector Place, Battery Place, and North Residential Neighborhood - boast high-rise condominiums and some low-rise buildings as well, all contemporary in style and lacking the charm of some older New York City neighborhoods. North Residential Neighborhood is also home to Stuyvesant High School, a magnet school for exceptional mathematics and science students, a hotel, and several shops and fine restaurants that cater to local residents, mostly Wall Street employees and their families who enjoy the close proximity to their jobs.
Lower Manhattan's Battery Park neighborhood suffered much after the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. Many of the buildings experienced moderate to severe damage and records show that nearly two-thirds of Battery Park City's residents fled the area and moved to different parts of the city, largely due to environmental concerns about dust and debris from the towers. However, since 2005, home sales have increased once again and New Yorkers are moving back to the area.
Read about other Manhattan tourist attractions:
Review, comment, or add new information about this topic:
Discuss this city on our hugely popular New York forum
|Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses|