Battery Park City

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Coordinates: 40°42′46″N 74°00′56″W / 40.712687°N 74.015665°W / 40.712687; -74.015665

Location of Battery Park City, which is marked in yellow
The esplanade of Battery Park City
South End Avenue

Battery Park City is a 92-acre (37 ha) planned community at the southwestern tip of Lower Manhattan in New York City, United States. The land upon which it stands was created by land reclamation on the Hudson River using over 3 million cubic yards of soil and rock excavated during the construction of the World Trade Center, the New York City Water Tunnel, and certain other construction projects, as well as from sand dredged from New York Harbor off Staten Island.[1] The neighborhood, which is the site of Brookfield Place (New York City) along with numerous housing, commercial and retail buildings, is named for adjacent Battery Park.

Battery Park City is owned and managed by the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), a public-benefit corporation created by New York State under the authority of the Urban Development Corporation.[2] Excess revenue from the area was to be contributed to other housing efforts, typically low-income projects in the Bronx and Harlem.

Under the 1989 agreement between the BPCA and the City of New York, $600 million was transferred by the BPCA to the city. Charles J. Urstadt, the first Chairman and CEO of the BPCA, noted in an August 19, 2007 op-ed piece in the New York Post that the aggregate figure of funds transferred to the City of New York is above $1.4 billion, with the BPCA continuing to contribute $200 million a year.

Much of this funding has historically been diverted to general city expenses, under section 3.d of the 1989 agreement. However, in July 2006, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor George Pataki, and Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. announced the final approval for the New York City Housing Trust Fund derived from $130 million in Battery Park City revenues. The fund aimed to preserve or create 4,300 units of low- and moderate-income housing by 2009.[3] It also provided seed financing for the New York Acquisition Fund, a $230 million initiative that aims to serve as a catalyst for the construction and preservation of more than 30,000 units of affordable housing citywide by 2016. The Acquisition Fund has since established itself as a model for similar funds in cities and states across the country.[4]


Greenery at South Cove
NYPL branch library

Battery Park City is bounded on the east by West Street, which separates the area from the Financial District of downtown Manhattan. To the west, north and south, the area is surrounded by the tidal estuary of the Hudson River.

The development consists of roughly five major sections. Traveling north to south, the first neighborhood, "Elephant" or Land Fill Near TriBeCa, has high-rise residential buildings, a large hotel, Stuyvesant High School, a movie theater and a modern branch of the New York Public Library. Existing restaurants located in the hotel have been closed following a take over of the property by Goldman Sachs with new development planned for [5] "...a trio of restaurants run by Danny Meyer – the New York City restaurant wunderkind – as well as a new ballroom and conference centre, attached to the hotel which will be upgraded. In addition, the bank [Goldman Sachs] plans 5,000 square feet of retail units". Former undeveloped lots in the area have been developed into high-rise buildings. Goldman Sachs has completed building a new headquarters at 200 West Street.

Immediately to the south lies Brookfield Place (New York City), a complex of several commercial buildings occupied by tenants including American Express, Dow Jones & Company, Merrill Lynch, Nomura Holdings, RBC Capital Markets, and Deloitte & Touche. Brookfield Place's ground floor and portions of the second floor are occupied by a mall; its center point is a steel-and-glass atrium known as the Winter Garden. Outside of the Winter Garden lies a sizeable yacht harbor on the Hudson known as North Cove.

South of Brookfield Place lies the majority of Battery Park City's residential areas, in three sections: "Gateway Plaza", a high-rise building complex; the "Rector Place Residential Neighborhood" and the "Battery Place Residential Neighborhood". These neighborhoods contain most of the area's residential buildings, along with park space and various types of supporting businesses (supermarkets, restaurants, movie theaters.) Construction of residential buildings began north of the World Financial Center in the late 1990s and completion of the final lots scheduled to be completed by spring 2011.


As of the 2000 census, there were 7,951 people residing in Battery Park City. The population density was 41,032 people per square mile (15,855/km²). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 75% White, 17.93% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.97% African American, 0.06% Native American, 1.58% from other races, and 2.42% from two or more races. 5.32% of the population were Hispanic of any race. 27.7% of the population was foreign born, 51.8% came from Asia, 30.8% from Europe, 8.2% from Latin America and 9.2% from other (mostly Canada).

As of 2007, about 10,000 people live in Battery Park City, most of whom are upper middle class and upper class (54.0% of households have incomes over $100,000). When fully built out, the neighborhood is projected to have 14,000 residents.[6]

Population history:

  • 1980: -
  • 1990: 5,574
  • 2000: 7,951
  • 2010: 13,386


Current residential neighborhoods of Battery Park City are divided into a north and south section, separated by the Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Center) complex. The southern section, extending down from the Winter Garden, is the more densely populated region, containing Gateway Plaza, and Rector Place apartment buildings. The northern section, although still under very large construction, consists entirely of large, 20–45-story buildings which are all various shades of orange brick.

One building was built in the 1910s. In the 1980s, there was a building boom, with 23 buildings being built in the area; in the 1990s, 9 buildings were bulit, followed by the construction of 11 buildings in the 2000s and 3 buildings in the 2010s.[7]

Site and formation[edit]

Throughout the 19th century and early 20th century, the area adjoining today's Battery Park City was known as Little Syria with Lebanese, Greeks, Armenians, and other ethnic groups; a long-standing reminder of the ethnic past was the former St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was destroyed in the September 11 attacks. An additional historic church, St. George's Syrian Catholic Church, still stands at 103 Washington Street.

At the corner of Vesey Street and North End Avenue is the Irish Hunger Memorial
North End Avenue toward Stuyvesant High School
Yacht harbor at North Cove, next to the World Financial Center

By the late 1950s, the once-prosperous port area of downtown Manhattan was occupied by a number of dilapidated shipping piers, casualties of the rise of container shipping which drove sea traffic to Port Elizabeth, New Jersey. The initial proposal to reclaim this area through landfill was offered in the early 1960s by private firms and supported by the mayor. That plan became complicated when Governor Nelson Rockefeller announced his desire to redevelop a part of the area as a separate project. The various groups reached a compromise, and in 1966 the governor unveiled the proposal for what would become Battery Park City. The creation of architect Wallace K. Harrison, the proposal called for a 'comprehensive community' consisting of housing, social infrastructure and light industry. The landscaping of the park space and later the Winter Garden was designed by M. Paul Friedberg.

In 1968, the New York State Legislature created the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) to oversee development. The New York State Urban Development Corporation and ten other public agencies were also involved in the development project.[8] For the next several years, the BPCA made slow progress. In 1969, it unveiled a master plan for the area, and in 1972 issued $200 million in bonds to fund construction efforts. Landfill material from construction of the World Trade Center was used to add fill for the southern portion. Cellular cofferdams were constructed to retain the material.[9] After removal of the piers, wooden piles and overburden of silt, the northern portion (north of, and including the marina) was filled with sand dredged from areas adjacent to Ambrose Channel in the Atlantic Ocean. By 1976, the landfill was completed. Seating stands for viewing the American Bicentennial "Operation Sail" flotilla parade were set up on the completed landfill in July 1976. Construction efforts ground to a halt for nearly two years beginning in 1977, as a result of city-wide financial hardships. In 1979, the title to the landfill was transferred from the city to the Battery Park City Authority, which financially restructured itself and created a new, more viable master plan, designed by Alex Cooper and Stanton Eckstut. The design of BPC to some degree reflects the values of vibrant city neighborhoods championed by Jane Jacobs. The Urban Land Institute (ULI) awarded the Battery Park City Master Plan its 2010 Heritage Award, for having "facilitated the private development of 9.3 million square feet of commercial space, 7.2 million square feet of residential space, and nearly 36 acres of open space in lower Manhattan, becoming a model for successful large-scale planning efforts and marking a positive shift away from the urban renewal mindset of the time."[10]

Construction and early development[edit]

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the site hosted Creative Time's landmark Art on the Beach sculpture exhibitions. On September 23, 1979, the landfill was the site of an anti-nuclear rally attended by 200,000 people.[11]

Construction began on the first residential building in 1980, followed in 1981 with the start of construction on the World Financial Center. Olympia and York, of Toronto, was named as the developer for the World Financial Center in 1981, who then hired Cesar Pelli as the lead architect. By 1985, construction was completed and the World Financial Center (later renamed Brookfield Place New York) saw its first tenants.

Throughout the 1980s, the Battery Park City Authority oversaw a great deal of construction, including the entire Rector Place neighborhood and the river esplanade. It was during that period that current City Planning Department Director Amanda Burden worked on Battery Park City. During the 1980s, a total of 13 buildings were constructed. The Vietnam Veterans Plaza was established by Edward I. Koch in 1985.[12] In the early 1990s, Battery Park City became the new home of the Stuyvesant High School. During the 1990s, an additional six buildings were added to the neighborhood. By the turn of the 21st century, Battery Park City was mostly completed, with the exception of some ongoing construction on West Street.

Early 21st century[edit]

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks had a major impact on Battery Park City. The residents of lower Manhattan and particularly of Battery Park City were displaced for an extended period of time. Parts of the community were an official crime-scene and therefore residents were unable to return to live or even collect property. Many of the displaced residents were not allowed to return to the area for months and none were given government guidance of where to live temporarily on the already crowded island of Manhattan. With most hotel rooms booked, residents, including young children and the elderly were forced to fend for themselves. When they were finally allowed to return to Battery Park City, some found that their homes had been looted. Upon return the air in the area was still filled with toxic smoke from the World Trade Center fires that persisted until January 2002. More than half of the area's residents moved away permanently from the community after the adjacent World Trade Center towers collapsed and spread toxic dust, debris, and smoke. Gateway Plaza's 600 building, Hudson View East and, the then Parc Place, now Rector Square were punctured by airplane parts. The Winter Garden and other portions of the World Financial Center were severely damaged. Environmental concerns regarding dust from the Trade Center are a continuing source of concern for many residents, scientists, and elected officials. Since the attacks, the damage has been repaired. Temporarily reduced rents and government subsidies helped restore residential occupancy in the years following the attacks.

Northernmost part of Battery Park City
View from Hudson River

After the events of 2001, residents of Battery Park City and Tribeca formed the TriBattery Pops Tom Goodkind Conductor. The “Pops” have been Grammy nominated and are the first lower Manhattan all volunteer community band in a century. Since then, real estate development in the area has continued robustly. Commercial development includes the 2,100,000-square-foot (200,000 m2) Goldman Sachs Global Headquarters, which opened for occupancy in October 2009. Goldman Sachs is seeking gold-level certification under the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program by incorporating various water and energy conservation features. Several residential projects are underway, including LEED buildings which cater to the environmentally conscious.


Currently, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority provides bus service to the area. As of October 2014, the M9, M20, and M22 bus lines service parts of Battery Park City. Additionally, the Downtown Alliance provides a free bus service[13] that runs along North End Avenue and South End Avenue, connecting the various residential complexes with subway stations on the other side of West Street. There is currently no New York City Subway access in Battery Park City proper; however, the West Street pedestrian bridges provide the residents and workers of Battery Park City connectivity to subway stations and the PATH station in the nearby Financial District. A tunnel under West Street also provides access from Battery Park City to the World Trade Center PATH station. The Battery Park City Ferry Terminal is at the foot of Vesey Street opposite the New York Mercantile Exchange and provides ferry transportation to various points in New Jersey.

Battery Park City Authority[edit]

The Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authorit is a Class A New York State public benefit corporation.[14] Its mission is "to plan, create, co-ordinate and maintain a balanced community of commercial, residential, retail, and park space within its designated 92-acre site on the lower west side of Manhattan"[15] in New York City. Created in 1968 (L. 1968, ch. 343) to redevelop outmoded and deteriorated piers, a project that has involved reclaiming the land, replanning the area and facilitating new construction of a mixed commercial and residential community. The authority's board is composed of seven uncompensated members who are appointed by the governor and who serve six-year terms. N.Y. Pub. Auth. sec. 1973. The BPCA is invested with substantial powers: it can acquire, hold and dispose of real property, enter into lease agreements, borrow money and issue debt, and manage the project. N.Y. Pub. Auth. sec. 1974. Like other public benefit corporations, the BPCA is exempt from property taxes and has the ability to issue tax exempt bonds. N.Y. Pub. Auth. sec. 1981.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Howe, Arthur. "IN N.Y.C., A $1 BILLION DREAM RISES", The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 1982. Accessed August 4, 2007. "Construction already is under way on the southern tip of Manhattan, at Battery Park City, land named for the British fort built there in 1693. The area was expanded by 1.2 million cubic yards of earth and rock excavated for the foundations of the World Trade Center nearby."
  2. ^ Goldberger, Paul (August 19, 1981). "6 Builders Chosen for Housing at Battery Park City". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  3. ^ Scott, Janny (August 1, 2006). "Manhattan: Housing Plan Approved."
  4. ^ "Mayor Bloomberg’s affordable housing plan". New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. August 2008. Retrieved 29 Oct 2012. 
  5. ^ Joe Weisenthal in Business Insider 08/02/2010.
  6. ^ Hughes, C. J. (October 21, 2007). "Next Door to a Poignant Memory". The New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  7. ^ Emporis NYC Districts and Zones: Battery Park City
  8. ^ "Megajob takes foothold in fill, New York City's $1-billion river development survives snags". Engineering News-Record. 1983-04-14. 
  9. ^ Iglauer, Edith (1972-11-04). "The Biggest Foundation". The New Yorker. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Herman, Robin (September 24, 1979). "Nearly 200,000 Rally to Protest Nuclear Energy". New York Times. p. B1. 
  12. ^ "Vietnam Veterans Plaza". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ List of Class A Public Authorities
  15. ^ Battery Park City Authority Mission Statement

Further reading

  • Gordon, David L.A. (1997) Battery Park City: Politics and Planning on the New York Waterfront, Gordon and Breach Publishers

External links[edit]