Battery Park City (BPC) sits on the edge of the Hudson River and stretches from Bowling Green to the south and Tribeca to the north. It is essentially a waterfront community without the beach (well, maybe a small one) and its residents bask in the joy of residing and playing along the great waterway. Majestic views of sunsets over New Jersey, the Statue of Liberty to the south and One World Trade Center to the north offer unparalleled settings.
BPC is a fabulous place to live for people of all ages. It is a planned community that offers a mix of commercial and residential offerings as well as a retail mall, a movie theatre, a marina and acres of open space, ballfields, playgrounds, bike paths and walkways. Walk out your door and throw a frisbee, day sail into the harbor, take in a little league game or even try beach volleyball at Pier 25.
There is also a host of cultural offerings not to be missed. Public displays of art and sculpture are scattered throughout the neighborhood while two larger offerings, The Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Irish Hunger Memorial which require extended visits and moments of reflection.
Today, BPC sits as one of the great triumphs of urban planning. Built on landfill from the World Trade Center site, the community covers 92 acres along the Hudson River to the west of the West Side Highway. In sum, there are more than 30 residential buildings and seven commercial properties, the revitalized Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center) and 200 West Street, the state-of-the-art home of Goldman Sachs.
Today, BPC flourishes like no time in its fifty-year history. In a sense, the planned community has come to full fruition. It’s a great place to raise a family or to be an athletically active single. The neighborhood is one of the safest in NYC and certainly the cleanest. Vehicular traffic is at a minimum and many people cross West Street to get to work. There are five pedestrian bridges that span the highway to connect BPC with the Financial District as well as a tunnel that crosses from the Brookfield Mall to the WTC site. The newest bridge, at West Thames Street, replaced the former Rector Street crossing, which was damaged during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The new ownership of the old World Financial Center has revitalized these rather sterile granite buildings. The updated design of this upscale mall welcomes visitors, particularly tourists, from the WTC site.
Yet despite the idyllic nature of BPC, the neighborhood has endured a series of setbacks over the years. The area was blanketed with ash from the collapse of the twin towers. Many residents left and never returned. Hurricane Sandy slammed the neighborhood and caused severe damage. Another random terrorist attack killed several people along the bikeway that runs along West Street.
The Hudson River Esplanade is the thing for any type of exercising. It is a wonderful experience no matter what your choice of activity. There is even a beach (Yes, real sand) and a volleyball club located on Pier 25, just to the north of BPC.
Picnic on the lawn or have a white napkin brunch at Gigino at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park at the southern tip of Battery Park City. The views are spectacular.
The Skyscraper Museum offers a fascinating look at the evolution of the city skyline including all the historical forces that parallel these engineering marvels.
The North Cove Marina is a wonderful place to admire other people’s yachts or to take a sailing tour of the harbor on a classic schooner.
Rockefeller Park at the northern tip of BPC is the largest open space within BPC and reminds us of the Great Lawn at Central Park.
Pier 25. This is one of those places in NYC that you stumble upon and can't wait to revisit with family or friends. This pier, just north of BPC proper, offers a wide variety of recreational activities, including beach volleyball, a skate park, and a miniature golf course.
Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place. The second floor of Brookfield Place boasts a 30,000 SF gourmet food court. This is not just any food court. This gastronomic destination offers an array of dining experiences with views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty.
Seaglass Carousel. While this sensational attraction is not technically in BPC, we thought it was worth mentioning. Located just to the south in Battery Park, this modern take on the classic carousel is well worth the extra walk. The aquatic carousel features fish in lieu of horses, a tribute to the history of the battery, the first home for the New York Aquarium. Sit yourself in a fish and float as the lights change colors during your ride.
The Little League Ballfields at the north end of the park. Sit in the stands with a burger and shake from Shake Shake (located on North End Way) and take in a ballgame.
What You Might See
Tourists. The downtown tourist circuit includes BPC whether they are debarking the ferry from the Statue of Liberty or crossing West Street from the 9/11 Memorial.
Kids. Lots of kids. Kids in strollers. KIds with backpacks. Kids on skateboards. Family is synonymous with BPC.
Views. The Hudson River is at your doorstep. Turn your head to the south and the Statue of Liberty beckons. To the immediate north the towers of the Trade Center sparkle day and night.
What You Don’t Know
The master plan for BPC dictated that 30% of the total site must be reserved for open space. And not surprisingly, it is a community that thrives on the use of this open space. At times it feels like you are entering the Olympic Village as people, young and old, are engaging in all types of athletic and recreational activities.
The new Thames Street pedestrian bridge which opened in the autumn of 2019 cost $45 million to build. The 230-foot bridge, which crosses West Street, replaced the original Rector Street Bridge that was damaged during the 9/11 terrorist attack.
There is a segment of the Berlin Wall located at Kowsky Plaza, 385 South End Plaza.. The 12-foot high, 8-foot wide section of this historic piece of concrete was donated to the BPC Authority by the German Consulate and stands today as a symbol of freedom.