Lisa Nina Cruz, a finalist in the last round of The Bucket List Initiative, first wrote about nature in NYC with a piece on Governor’s Island. Here, she shares her insights on another of New York’s beautiful, natural spaces: Battery Park.
A great city allows locals to meet a diverse range of desires: to commute reasonably; to pursue unique activities; to become cultured in arts; to maintain physical activity; to eat delectable food; and to meet new people frequently. A phenomenal city will also allow for the opportunity to find respite from it all via immersion in nature. Life gets hectic, and it becomes easy to forget the importance of reflection and imagination. Nature serves to remind us of this and more.
As a resident of Manhattan (one of the aforementioned phenomenal cities), I love the city as much as I do nature. It’s not always easy to indulge in the latter, though (unless you can get to Central Park every day – which I used to do at one point in my life). Then, while working a job miles from Central Park, I discovered the beauty of a different outdoor space: Battery Park.
“Life gets hectic, and it becomes easy to forget the importance of reflection and imagination. Nature serves to remind us of this and more.”
Battery Park is a 25-acre public park located on the southernmost tip of Manhattan. It hugs the Hudson River and faces the New York Harbor. For those unfamiliar, the southernmost area of Manhattan predominantly consists of corporate offices, government buildings and luxury high-rise apartments. It is home to Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, the World Trade Center, and the infamous Charging Bull sculpture. For the 280,000 individuals working in the area, the park’s waterfront promenades, vast greens and colorful gardens are undoubtedly welcomed respites.
The Park has undergone many changes in the last few years that have significantly improved its environment. Apparently this is just the beginning and there are many more developments in store: the bikeways will be connected to pathways on the East Side, and new chairs for the park will be chosen via the “Draw Up a Chair Competition. Designers across the globe have entered submissions (679 in total!) and the top design will be chosen in the hopes that it will set a new standard for outdoor seating design.
Battery Park boasts some other very unique sites and activities that are worthy of exploration as well. These include:
- The East Coast Memorial: A memorial commemorating those who died in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II;
- The Sphere: A gold, circular sculpture that was housed in the World Trade Center prior to 9/11 and only slightly damaged during the events of that day;
- Hope Garden: Currently houses the Gold Sphere. Additionally, the garden holds an eternal flame dedicated to AIDS victims;
- Castle Clinton/Castle Garden: What was once an old fort is now a promenade and outdoor beer garden;
- Statue Ferries: Ferry service to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can be found here;
- Battery Urban Farm: A one-acre educational farm (turkey-shaped, no less) that grows over 80 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers;
- SeaGlass: A new state-of-the art, modern take on the carousel that was created to inspire and educate. It is described as a “spiraling pavilion of glass and steel [that] brings art, architecture, music, and film to children of all ages.”
Although I was fortunate to have Battery Park as my work-neighbor for some time, I think it’s worth a visit from any area of New York City. It is certainly a worthy stop for out-of-towners who may already be in the area visiting the historical sites in the Financial District or walking across the Brooklyn Bridge as well. After all, New York is a phenominal city and as such, we should all appreciate and indulge in its food and cultural offerings and its abundant nature.
For more information, check out:
- General: http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/batterypark
- General: http://www.thebattery.org/the-battery/
- Battery Park Urban Farm: http://www.thebattery.org/projects/battery-urban-farm/
- Chair Competition: http://www.thebattery.org/projects/chair-competition/
- SeaGlass Project: http://www.thebattery.org/projects/seaglass/
- Other parks in the area: http://www.batteryparkcity.org/Live/Parks-Public-Spaces/
Words and photos: Lisa Nina Cruz