Battery Park City
Battery Park City is a mainly residential 92-acre (37 ha) planned community at the southwestern tip of the island of Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States, more than 1⁄3 of which is parkland. The land in Lower Manhattan 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. The neighborhood, which is the site of Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center), along with numerous buildings designed for housing, commercial, and retail, is named for adjacent Battery Park.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Ownership and maintenance
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Buildings
- 6 Crime
- 7 Transportation
- 8 Education
- 9 Parks and open spaces
- 10 Museums and memorials
- 11 Notable residents
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Battery Park City is bounded on the east by West Street, which separates the area from the Financial District of lower Manhattan. To the west, north, and south, the area is surrounded by the Hudson River.
The development consists of roughly five major sections. Traveling north to south, the first neighborhood has high-rise residential buildings, the Stuyvesant High School, a Regal Entertainment Group movie theater, and the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library. It is also the site of the 463-suite Conrad New York luxury hotel, which contains restaurants and bars such as the Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar, ATRIO Wine Bar Restaurant, Mexican-themed El Vez, and three Danny Meyer-branded restaurants (North End Grill, Blue Smoke, Shake Shack); the hotel has a ballroom and a conference center. Other restaurants located in that hotel, as well as a DSW store and a New York Sports Club branch, were closed in 2009 after the takeover of the property by Goldman Sachs. Former undeveloped lots in the area have been developed into high-rise buildings; for example, Goldman Sachs built a new headquarters at 200 West Street.
Nearby is Brookfield Place, a complex of several commercial buildings formerly known as the World Financial Center.
Current residential neighborhoods of Battery Park City are divided into northern and southern sections, separated by Brookfield Place. The northern section consists entirely of large, 20–45-story buildings, all various shades of orange brick. The southern section, extending down from the Winter Garden, which is located in Brookfield Place, contains residential apartment buildings such as Gateway Plaza and the Rector Place apartment buildings. In this section 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 subsections contain most of the area's residential buildings, along with park space, supermarkets, restaurants, and movie theaters. Construction of residential buildings began north of the World Financial Center in the late 1990s, and completion of the final lots took place in early 2011. Additionally, a park restoration was completed in 2013.
Site and formation
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.
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.
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. 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."
Construction and early development
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.
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.
During early construction, two acres of land in the southern section of the Battery Park landfill was used by artist Agnes Denes to plant wheat in an exhibition titled Wheatfield - A Confrontation. The project was visually contradiction: a golden field of wheat set among the steel skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan. It was created during a six-month period in the spring, summer, and fall of 1982 when Denes, with the support of the Public Art Fund, planted the field of wheat on rubble-strewn land near Wall Street and the World Trade Center site. Denes stated that her "decision to plant a wheatfield in Manhattan, instead of designing just another public sculpture, grew out of a long-standing concern and need to call attention to our misplaced priorities and deteriorating human values."
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. 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.
Initially, in the 1980s, 23 buildings were built in the area. By the 1990s, 9 more buildings were built, followed by the construction of 11 buildings in the 2000s and 3 buildings in the 2010s.
Early 21st century
The September 11 attacks in 2001 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 residents' 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 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.
After September 11, 2001, residents of Battery Park City and Tribeca formed the TriBattery Pops Tom Goodkind Conductor in response to the events of the attacks. 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) 200 West Street, the Goldman Sachs global headquarters, which began construction in 2005 and opened for occupancy in October 2009. 200 West Street 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.
Ownership and maintenance
Battery Park City is owned and managed by the Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), a Class A public-benefit corporation created by New York State under the authority of the Urban Development Corporation. 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" 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.
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.
Excess revenue from the area was to be contributed to other housing efforts, typically low-income projects in the Bronx and Harlem. 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. 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.
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[update], 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. The population history is as follows:
- 1980: -
- 1990: 5,574
- 2000: 7,951
- 2010: 13,386
A largely Arab-American neighborhood existed in southeastern Battery Park City from the late 1880s to the 1940s. "Little Syria" encompassed Washington Street from Battery Park to Rector Street. It declined as a neighborhood as the inhabitants became successful and moved to other areas, especially Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and disappeared almost entirely when a great deal of lower Washington Street was demolished to make way for entrance ramps to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which opened in 1950. The overwhelming majority of the residents were Arabic-speaking Christians, Melkite and Maronite immigrants from present-day Syria and Lebanon who settled in the area in the late 19th century, escaping religious persecution and poverty in their homelands – which were then under control of the Ottoman Empire – and answering the call of American missionaries to escape their difficulties by traveling to New York City.
However, many other ethnic groups had lived in this diverse neighborhood, including Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Czechs, and Irish.
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.
The first residential building in Battery Park City, Gateway Plaza, was completed in 1983. As of 2010[update], the population of the area was 13,386. Some of the more prominent residential buildings include:
- Millennium Point, a 449-foot (137 m), 38-story skyscraper built from 1999 to 2001. It occupies the street addresses 25–39 Battery Place. However, due to the September 11 attacks which hit the nearby World Trade Center, opening of Millennium Point was delayed until January 2002. The building won the 2001 Silver Emporis Skyscraper Award. The tower section contains 113 luxury condominiums. The wider, lower 12 floors are occupied by a 5-star hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park. The hotel has 298 rooms, including 44 suites, with the largest suite spanning 200 square metres (2,150 sq ft) in area. The Skyscraper Museum occupies a small space on the first floor of the building. A restaurant is located on the 14th floor.
- The Solaire, the first green residential building in the United States, as well as the first residential high-rise building in New York City to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli and completed in 2003, it has been described as an "environmentally-progressive residential tower". The Solaire is located at 20 River Terrace. The developer received funding from the State of New York, which was somewhat controversial as the developer was only required to agree to set aside 10% of the units as "affordable housing" or "moderate income", rather than the usual 80:20 agreement. When the building opened, rents ranged from roughly $2,500 to $9,001 depending on the size of the unit. The building has been rated LEED Platinum. The energy conserving building design is 35% more energy-efficient than code requires, resulting in a 67% lower electricity demand during peak hours, resulting in, among other benefits, lower electric bills for residents, photovoltaic panels converting sunlight to electricity, and a computerized building management system and environmentally responsible operating and maintenance practices.
Other residential condominiums include:
- Battery Pointe, 300 Rector Place
- Cove Club, 2 South End Avenue
- Hudson Tower, 350 Albany Street
- Hudson View East, 250 South End Avenue
- Hudson View West, 300 Albany Street
- Liberty Court, 200 Rector Place
- Liberty Green, 300 North End Avenue
- Liberty House, 377 Rector Place
- Liberty Luxe, 200 North End Avenue
- Liberty Terrace, 380 Rector Place
- Liberty View, 99 Battery Place
- Millennium Tower Residences, 30 West Street
- The Regatta, 21 South End Avenue
- Ritz Carlton Residence, 10 West Street
- Riverhouse, One Rockefeller Park
- Soundings, 280 Rector Place
- The Visionaire, 70 Little West Street
- 1 Rector Park
Other residential apartments include:
- 22 River Terrace
- Gateway Plaza, 375 South End Avenue
- The Hallmark, 455 North End Avenue
- Rector Square, 225 Rector Place
- River Watch, 70 Battery Place
- The Solaire, 20 River Terrace
- South Cove Plaza, 50 Battery Place
- Tribeca Bridge Tower, 450 North End Avenue
- Tribeca Green, 325 North End Avenue
- Tribeca Park, 400 Chambers Street
- Tribeca Pointe, River Terrace
- The Verdesian, 211 North End Avenue
Battery Park City, which is mainly residential, also has a few office buildings. The seven buildings in the Brookfield Place complex, as well as 200 West Street, are the neighborhood's only office buildings.
Brookfield Place complex
Located in the middle of Battery Park City and overlooking the Hudson River, Brookfield Place, designed by César Pelli and owned mostly by Toronto-based Brookfield Office Properties, has been home to offices of various major companies, including Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, Nomura Group, American Express and Brookfield Asset Management, among others. Brookfield Place also serves as the United States headquarters for Brookfield Office Properties, which has its headquarters located in 200 Vesey Street. Brookfield Place also has its own zip code, 10281.
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.
The building's original developer was Olympia and York of Toronto, Ontario. It used to be named the World Financial Center, but in 2014, the complex was given its current name following the completion of extensive renovations. The World Financial Center complex was built by Olympia and York between 1982 and 1988; it was damaged in the September 11 attacks but later repaired. It has six constituent buildings – 200 Liberty Street, 225 Liberty Street, 200 Vesey Street, 250 Vesey Street, the Winter Garden Atrium, and One North End Avenue (a.k.a. the New York Mercantile Exchange building).
200 West Street
200 West Street is the location of the global headquarters of Goldman Sachs, an investment banking firm. A 749-foot-tall (228 m), 44-story building located on the west side of West Street between Vesey and Murray Streets, it is north of Brookfield Place and the Conrad Hotels, across the street from the Verizon Building, and diagonally opposite the World Trade Center. It is distinctive for being the only office building in the northern section of Battery Park City. It started construction in 2005 and opened in 2009.
The area is patrolled by the NYPD's 1st Precinct at 1 Ericsson Place in Tribeca; this area also covers the rest of western Downtown Manhattan, including Tribeca, World Trade Center, Financial District, and Hudson Square, as well as Governors Island. The area is relatively calm, with no murders, 12 rapes, 68 robberies, 81 felony assaults, 171 burglaries, 1,051 grand larcenies, and 27 grand larcenies auto reported in the area in 2013.
Currently, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority provides bus service to the area. As of October 2014[update], the M9, M20, M22 bus lines service parts of Battery Park City, with the M15, M15 SBS nearby at Battery Park. Additionally, the Downtown Alliance provides a free bus service 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, as well as crosswalks across West Street, connect Battery Park City to subway stations and the PATH station in the nearby Financial District. A tunnel from Brookfield Place 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's schools include:
- P.S. 89
- I.S. 289
- P.S./I.S. 276 (Battery Park City School)
- Stuyvesant High School, which moved into a new waterfront building in Battery Park City in 1992
Battery Park City has a New York Public Library branch at 175 North End Avenue, designed by 1100 Architect and completed in 2010. A 10,000-square-foot (930-square-metre), two-story library on the street level of a high-rise residential building, it utilizes several sustainable design features, earning it LEED Gold certification.
Sustainability was a driving factor in the design of the library including use of an energy-efficient lighting system, maximization of natural lighting, and use of recycled materials. 1100 Architect, in collaboration with Atelier Ten, an international team of environmental design consultants and building services engineers, designed the library’s energy-efficient lighting system. The open plan layout and large use of glass allow for ample natural daylight year-round and low-energy LED light illuminates communal spaces. Recycled materials are incorporated into the design including carpet made from re-purposed truck tires, floors made from reclaimed window frame wood, and furniture made from FSC-certified plywood and recycled steel. Design features include a seemingly "floating" origami-style ceiling made up of triangular panels hung at varying angles and a padded reading nook fitted into the library's terrazzo-finished steel and concrete staircase. The interior uses an easy-to-navigate layout with its three distinct spatial areas of entry area, first floor space, and mezzanine visually unified through the ceiling.
The building also won the Interior Design, Best of Year Merit Award in 2011, followed by The National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, Port Morris Tile and Marble Corporation Craftsmanship Award in 2011 and the Contract, Public Space Interiors Award in 2012.
Parks and open spaces
More than one-third of the neighborhood is parkland.
Some large open spaces and parks include:
- Teardrop Park sits midblock, near the corner of Warren Street and River Terrace. Before construction, the site was empty and flat; part of the neighborhood's development plan, the park was designed in anticipation of four high residential towers on its west and east. Although a New York City public park, maintenance is overseen by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy and the park was designed for the Battery Park City Authority. The park opened on September 30, 2004. There is also a southern extension to this park.
- Vietnam Veterans Plaza, though technically just outside Battery Park City, lies on a trapezoidal parcel of land that was formerly a roadway named Coenties Slip.
- Washington Street Plaza, a pedestrian plaza on Washington Street between Carlisle and Albany Streets, opened on May 23, 2013.
In addition, there are:
- Community Ballfields, North End Avenue between Murray and Warren Streets
- The Esplanade, along the Hudson River from Stuyvesant High School to Battery Park
- Monsignor Kowsky Plaza, east of the Esplanade
- Nelson A. Rockefeller State Park, north end of Battery Park City west of River Terrace
- North Cove, on the river between Liberty Street and Vesey Street.
- Oval Lawn, east of the Esplanade
- Rector Park, South End Avenue at Rector Place
- Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park, north of Battery Park off Battery Place
- South Cove, on the Esplanade, between First and Third Places
- West Thames Park, West Street between Albany and West Thames Streets
- World Financial Center Plaza, within Brookfield Place
Museums and memorials
- Irish Hunger Memorial, located on a 0.5-acre (0.20 ha) site at Vesey Street and North End Avenue. It is dedicated to raising awareness of the Great Irish Famine. Construction began in March 2001, and the memorial was completed and dedicated on July 16, 2002.
- Museum of Jewish Heritage, a memorial to those who died in the Holocaust
- Skyscraper Museum, an architecture museum in Millennium Point
Notable residents include:
- Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, resident of 1 Rockefeller Park
- Sacha Baron Cohen, actor and comedian, former resident of 1 Rockefeller Park
- Isla Fisher, actress, former resident of 1 Rockefeller Park
- Kris Humphries, basketball player, resident of Liberty Luxe
- Dave Gahan, musician, resident of 1 Rockefeller Park
- Tyra Banks, TV personality, resident of 1 Rockefeller Park
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- Parks / Public Spaces, Battery Park City Authority
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- Famous Residents
- Gordon, David L.A. (1997) Battery Park City: Politics and Planning on the New York Waterfront, Gordon and Breach Publishers
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