Battery Park
Battery Park is a 25-acre (10 hectare) public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, facing New York Harbor
New York Harbor
New York Harbor refers to the waterways of the estuary near the mouth of the Hudson River that empty into New York Bay. It is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not use the term, New York Harbor has important historical, governmental,...

. The Battery is named for artillery batteries
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

 that were positioned there in the city's early years in order to protect the settlement behind them. At the north end of the park is Castle Clinton, the often re-purposed last remnant of the defensive works that inspired the name of the park; Pier A
City Pier A
City Pier A is a municipal pier in the Hudson River at Battery Park near the southern end of Manhattan in New York City. It has also been named Liberty Gateway.- History :...

, formerly a fireboat station; and Hope Garden
Hope Garden
Hope Garden in New York City's Battery Park is a memorial dedicated to AIDS victims. The garden has also served as a temporary September 11 memorial, housing The Sphere, which was damaged in the attacks. The garden has also been used as a site for environmental demonstrations due to its fragility...

, a memorial to AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 victims. At the other end is Battery Gardens restaurant, next to the United States Coast Guard Battery Building. Along the waterfront, ferries
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 depart for the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

 and Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the...

, and there is also a New York Water Taxi
New York Water Taxi
New York Water Taxi is a water taxi service based in Red Hook, Brooklyn offering commuter and sightseeing service mainly to points along the East River and Hudson River...

 stop. The park is also the site of the East Coast Memorial
East Coast Memorial
The East Coast Memorial is a World War II war memorial in Battery Park in New York City. It is one of three war memorials in the United States administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The others are the West Coast Memorial in San Francisco and the Honolulu Memorial.The memorial...

 which commemorates U.S. servicemen who died in coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean during World War II, and several other memorials.

To the northwest of the park lies Battery Park City, a planned community built on landfill in the 1970s and 80s, which includes Robert F. Wagner Park and the Battery Park City Promenade. Together with Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park is a waterside park on the Hudson River that extends from 59th Street south to Battery Park in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Bicycle and pedestrian paths, including the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, span the park north to south, opening up the waterfront for...

, a system of greenspaces, bikeways and promenades now extend up the Hudson shoreline
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

. A bikeway might be built through the park that will connect the Hudson River and East River parts of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway
Manhattan Waterfront Greenway
The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a foreshoreway for walking or cycling, long, around the island of Manhattan. The largest portions are operated by the New York City Department of Parks. It is separated from motor traffic, and many sections also separate pedestrians from cyclists...

. Across State Street to the northeast stands the old U.S. Customs House
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House
The Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House is a building in New York City, built 1902–1907 by the federal government to house the duty collection operations for the port of New York. It is located near the southern tip of Manhattan, next to Battery Park, at 1 Bowling Green...

, now used as a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian
National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is a museum operated under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution that is dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the native Americans of the Western Hemisphere...

 and the district U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Peter Minuit Plaza abuts the southeast end of the park, directly in front of the South Ferry
South Ferry (Manhattan)
South Ferry is at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City and is the embarkation point for ferries to Staten Island and Governors Island....

 Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry
Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry is a passenger ferry service operated by the New York City Department of Transportation that runs between the boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island.-Overview:...



The southern shoreline of Manhattan Island had long been known as the Battery, and was a popular promenade since at least the 17th century. At the time, it served as protection to the town. The Battery was the center of Evacuation Day
Evacuation Day (New York)
Following the American Revolution, Evacuation Day on November 25 marks the day in 1783 when the last vestige of British authority in the United States — its troops in New York — departed from Manhattan...

 celebrations commemorating the departure of the last British troops in the United States after the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. The relatively modern park
A park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas. Many parks are legally protected by...

 was created by landfill
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

 during the 19th century, resulting in a landscaped open space at the foot of the heavily developed mainland of downtown. Skyscraper
A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many stories, often designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper...

s now occupy most of the original land, stopping abruptly where the park begins. On State Street, the former harbor front and the northern boundary of the park, a single Federal mansion survives (photo, right) as the Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Elizabeth Ann Seton
Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church . She established Catholic communities in Emmitsburg, Maryland....

. Until the 1820s, the city's stylish residential district lay north of this house, between Broadway and the "North River" (now known as the Hudson River).

Castle Garden

Within the park lies Castle Clinton
Castle Clinton
Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton, once known as Castle Garden, is a circular sandstone fort now located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, New York City, in the United States. It is perhaps best remembered as America's first immigration station , where more than 8 million...

, an American fort built on a small artificial off-shore island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

 immediately prior to the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 and named for mayor DeWitt Clinton
DeWitt Clinton
DeWitt Clinton was an early American politician and naturalist who served as United States Senator and the sixth Governor of New York. In this last capacity he was largely responsible for the construction of the Erie Canal...

. When the land of Battery Park was created, it encircled and incorporated the island.

According to data from the National Park Service, Castle Clinton was named the most popular National Park. Castle Clinton, site of the ticket office for ferries to the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

 and Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the...

, recorded nearly 4.08 Million visitors in 2009.

The fort became property of the city after the war and was renamed Castle Garden. Leased by the city, it became a popular promenade and beer garden
Beer garden
Beer garden is an open-air area where beer, other drinks and local food are served. The concept originates from and is most common in Southern Germany...

. Later roofed-over, it became one of the premier theatrical venues in the United States and contributed greatly to the development of New York City as the theater capital of the nation.

"After a New York clipper
A clipper was a very fast sailing ship of the 19th century that had three or more masts and a square rig. They were generally narrow for their length, could carry limited bulk freight, small by later 19th century standards, and had a large total sail area...

 had finished loading, it was the custom for her to drop down the East River and anchor off Battery Park, then a fashionable resort, where she would remain for a few hours to take her crew on board and usually to ship between five and ten tons of gunpowder ... The people who gathered at Battery Park to see a clipper ship get underway came partly to hear the sailors sing their sea songs, or chanties
Sea shanty
A shanty is a type of work song that was once commonly sung to accompany labor on board large merchant sailing vessels. Shanties became ubiquitous in the 19th century era of the wind-driven packet and clipper ships...

 ... which originated early in the nineteenth century, with the Negro stevedore
Stevedore, dockworker, docker, dock labourer, wharfie and longshoreman can have various waterfront-related meanings concerning loading and unloading ships, according to place and country....

s at Mobile and New Orleans ... As the ship pays off, and gathers way in the slack water, the longshoremen and runners tumble over the side into the Whitehall boats
Whitehall Rowboat
Whitehall Rowboats are considered one of the most refined rowboats of the 19th century. The basic design is much older and of European ancestry. It strongly resembles a sailing ship's gig or a Thames river wherry used by watermen as a taxi service. They were first made in the U.S...

, the crowd at Battery Park gives three parting cheers, the ensign is dipped, and the clipper is on her way to Cape Horn
Cape Horn
Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island...


The migration of the city's elite uptown increased concurrently with the mass European emigration of the middle 19th century. As immigrants settled the Battery area, the location was less favorable to theater patrons and Castle Garden was closed. The structure was then made into the world's first immigration depot, processing millions of immigrants beginning in 1855 - almost 40 years before its successor, Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the...

, opened its doors. This period coincided with immigration waves resulting from the Great Hunger in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 (a.k.a., "The Irish Famine") and other pivotal European events. The structure then housed the New York Aquarium
New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, having opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan in 1896. Since 1957, it has been located on the boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The aquarium is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society as...

 until the 1940s, when it was threatened with destruction. It is currently a National Monument
U.S. National Monument
A National Monument in the United States is a protected area that is similar to a National Park except that the President of the United States can quickly declare an area of the United States to be a National Monument without the approval of Congress. National monuments receive less funding and...

 known again by its original name, and managed by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

. In addition to a small history exhibit and occasional concerts, the fort is the site where ferry tickets are sold to visit Liberty and Ellis islands.

The Sphere

Five months after being damaged but not destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Fritz Koenig
Fritz Koenig
Fritz Koenig, born June 20, 1924, in Würzburg, Germany, is a sculptor best known outside his native country for "The Sphere," which once stood in the plaza between the two World Trade Center towers in Lower Manhattan but which now stands, its damage deliberately left unrepaired, in Battery Park as...

's The Sphere
The Sphere
The Sphere is a large metallic sculpture by German sculptor Fritz Koenig, currently displayed in Battery Park, New York City, that once stood in the middle of Austin J. Tobin Plaza, the area between the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan...

, which once stood at the center of the plaza of the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 a few blocks away, was reinstalled in a temporary location along Eisenhower Mall in the northern section of the park. There, along with an eternal flame
Eternal flame
An eternal flame is a flame or torch that burns day and night for an indefinite period. The flame that burned constantly at Delphi was an archaic feature, "alien to the ordinary Greek temple"....

, it serves to memorialize the victims of 9/11/2001.

Underneath the park

Battery Park, due to its key location, has played an important role in the construction of transportation infrastructure. Under the park, there is the following active infrastructure:
  • Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel
    Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel
    Interstate 478s entire length consists of the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel and its approaches. Its south end is at Interstate 278, and its north end is at NY 9A ....

    , carrying vehicular traffic to Brooklyn
    Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

  • Battery Park Underpass
    Battery Park Underpass
    The Battery Park Underpass was the second section of Manhattan's Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive to be completed, opening to the public in April 1951...

    , carrying vehicular traffic from West Street to the FDR Drive
  • IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line and IRT Lexington Avenue Line
    IRT Lexington Avenue Line
    The Lexington Avenue Line is one of the lines of the IRT division of the New York City Subway, stretching from Downtown Brooklyn or Lower Manhattan north to 125th Street in East Harlem. The portion in Lower and Midtown Manhattan was part of the first subway line in New York...

     with a balloon loop
    Balloon loop
    A balloon loop or turning loop allows a rail vehicle or train to reverse direction without having to shunt or even stop. Balloon loops can be useful for passenger trains and unit freight trains, such as coal trains....

     to enable trains to turn around and switch between the two IRT
    Interborough Rapid Transit Company
    The Interborough Rapid Transit Company was the private operator of the original underground New York City Subway line that opened in 1904, as well as earlier elevated railways and additional rapid transit lines in New York City. The IRT was purchased by the City in June 1940...

  • South Ferry
    South Ferry – Whitehall Street (New York City Subway)
    South Ferry – Whitehall Street is a New York City Subway station complex in the Manhattan neighborhood of Battery Park, shared by the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line and the BMT Broadway Line...

     subway complex.

Archaeological excavation

On December 8, 2005, New York City authorities announced that builders working on a new South Ferry subway station in Battery Park had found the remains of a 200-year-old stone wall. After archaeological analysis, it was widely reported to be the oldest man-made structure still in place in Manhattan.

"This wall most likely is a portion of the gun batteries
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

 that once protected the city in the late 17th and 18th centuries and gave rise to the modern park name," said Robert Tierney, chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is the New York City agency charged with administering the city's Landmarks Preservation Law. The Commission was created in April 1965 by Mayor Robert F. Wagner following the destruction of Pennsylvania Station the previous year to make way for...

. The city and the New York City Transit Authority
New York City Transit Authority
The New York City Transit Authority is a public authority in the U.S. state of New York that operates public transportation in New York City...

 plan to work together to preserve the remains, which were described as "an important remnant of the history of New York City."

A total of four distinct walls and over 250,000 individual artifacts were found in the excavation of the South Ferry subway station. A portion of one wall was placed on temporary display inside Castle Clinton. In 2009, a long portion of wall was embedded permanently into the wall of the entrance to the newly constructed station.

In popular culture

The 1913 silent film Traffic in Souls
Traffic in Souls
Traffic in Souls is a 1913 narrative feature film focusing on forced prostitution in the US and filmed around Ellis Island in New York City. Its subjects were working women and immigrants and it was released at a time when the country was undergoing a "moral panic" over the issue of prostitution...

 contains scenes filmed at the Battery.

The Battery is featured in the famous show tune
Show tune
A show tune is a popular song originally written as part of the score of a "show" , especially if the piece in question has become a "standard", more or less detached in most people's minds from the original context...

 from the musical On the Town in the song New York, New York
New York, New York (On The Town)
"New York, New York" is a song from the 1944 musical On the Town and the 1949 MGM musical film of the same name. The music was written by Leonard Bernstein and the lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The best known line of this song is, "New York, New York, a helluva town...

, which includes the line "... the Bronx is up and the Battery's down" referring to its southerly location. The park is mentioned in the Follies
Follies is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman. The story concerns a reunion in a crumbling Broadway theatre, scheduled for demolition, of the past performers of the "Weismann's Follies," a musical revue , that played in that theatre between the World Wars...

song Broadway Baby which contains the lyric "To pierce the dark, from Battery Park, to Washington Heights". Battery Park is also mentioned in John Mayer
John Mayer
John Clayton Mayer is an American pop rock and blues rock musician, singer-songwriter, recording artist, and music producer. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and raised in Fairfield, Connecticut, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. He moved to Atlanta in 1997, where he refined his...

's song City Love, which includes the lyric "From the Battery to the Gallery" in reference to the entirety of Manhattan Island. The Beastie Boys
Beastie Boys
Beastie Boys are an American hip hop trio from New York City. The group consists of Mike D who plays the drums, MCA who plays the bass, and Ad-Rock who plays the guitar....

' song Open Letter to NYC lyric "... from the Battery to the top of Manhattan" also refers to the entirety of the island. David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

's New Killer Star
New Killer Star
"New Killer Star" is a song written and performed by David Bowie in 2003 for his album Reality. This was the first single from the album and released on DVD only, except in Italy and Canada...

opens with the lines "See the great white scar/Over Battery Park."

The climax of the 2010 film The Sorcerer's Apprentice
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010 film)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a 2010 fantasy adventure film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Jon Turteltaub, and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, the team behind the National Treasure franchise...

happens at the park, including an animated Charging Bull
Charging Bull
Charging Bull, which is sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull, is a bronze sculpture by Arturo Di Modica that stands in Bowling Green Park near Wall Street in Manhattan, New York City...

. Men in Black 3, starring Will Smith, was shot in Battery Park, along with various places in New York City. The park is featured in the first game in the Deus Ex
Deus Ex
Deus Ex is an action role-playing game developed by Ion Storm Inc. and published by Eidos Interactive in 2000, which combines gameplay elements of first-person shooters with those of role-playing video games...

series, players can explore maintenance tunnels underneath Castle Clinton and visit it's courtyard as well as roam the surroundings.

External links

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