When walking around Battery Park City, it's hard to believe you're in Manhattan. Though filled with tall, glass buildings and financial firms, the area feels oddly suburban. It's where people move to raise families and get to know their neighbors. Kids blow bubbles on wide lawns, dads fire up grills on summer weekends, and couples watch the sun set beyond the Hudson. There's even a marina that offers sailing lessons. If this all seems highly unusual for New York City, it's because Battery Park City is essentially brand-new, constructed in the 1980s. Its 92 acres are densely built, but with parks all along the waterfront, there's also a significant amount of green space.
Battery Park City is bordered by Chambers Street to the north, the Battery to the south, West Street to the east and the Hudson River to the west. There are six subway lines within a half-mile radius of the neighborhood— the 1, 2, 3, R, 4 and 5. The Downtown Alliance runs a free shuttle bus service during the day, with 37 stops between South Street Seaport and Battery Park City. NY Waterway operates ferries to Jersey City and Hoboken in New Jersey. Bicyclists appreciate the several CitiBike bike-sharing docks and easy access to the West Side bike path.
Battery Park City is extremely comfortable. There are 36 acres of public open spaces running along a 1.2-mile riverside path. Sports fields, lush gardens, playgrounds and sweeping views are at your doorstep. Busy West Street divides the area from Tribeca and the Financial District, making it feel separate and self-contained. Since it's set apart from the rest of the grid, city traffic doesn't have a reason to pass through here, so streets are quiet. People who live here and work on Wall Street are able to walk to their offices. You run into people you know here, especially when you spend time with your children at the playground. Since buildings are relatively new, apartments are well-appointed and increasingly eco-friendly.
Lovely as it is, the neighborhood is one of the few corners of downtown Manhattan that is decidedly uncool. Residents wryly acknowledge this; they didn't move here for the bar scene, after all. But trendier precincts aren't far away. If you want to live closer to the center of things, nearby Tribeca is a better bet.
About half of the people in Battery Park City are married, and 15% have kids. Most residents are at least 30 years old. The median household income is $107,406.
People here have a short commute: 40% of residents get to work in under 20 minutes. 22% get there in 20-30 minutes.
Most of the people you see in Battery Park City live or work here, though others pass through on the bike path or for a romantic dinner at the Ritz-Carlton. The dining scene is impressive at the Hudson Eats food court, which brings over a dozen hip vendors, including Umani Burger and Blue Ribbon Sushi, together under one roof. Having a beer outside by the marina on a warm day is one of summer's delights.
Brookfield Place, the office complex formerly known as the World Financial Center, contributes much to the neighborhood's cultural diversions. Enjoy the regular free concerts in its glass atrium and the public art displays. Both the Battery Park City Conservancy and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council also offer events and activities such as gardening workshops and exercise classes. Add Regal Cinemas, three Danny Meyer restaurants, and the Poets House, and there's more going on in this neighborhood than you'd expect.
Battery Park City History
Fifty years ago, the area now known as Battery Park City was all water. The Battery Park City Authority, a public corporation, developed the site using public funds for the landfill — a quarter of which came from the construction of the original World Trade Center — and infrastructure, while relying on private developers to fund and construct the buildings themselves. The master plan was drawn up in 1979 and completed in 1988, but many new buildings have gone up since then, notably Stuyvesant High School and Goldman Sachs' headquarters. The biggest changes, of course, came after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. Today, the new One World Trade Center stands high above the area. Its offices and observation deck are scheduled to open in 2015.
36 Battery Place — The Museum of Jewish Heritage
39 Battery Place — The Skyscraper Museum
1 Albany Street — 9/11 Memorial and Museum
220 Vesey Street — Brookfield Place's airy Winter Garden
385 South End Avenue — North Cove Marina