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Battery Park is a 25 acre public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of the New York City borough of Manhattan, facing New York Harbor. The Battery is named for the artillery battery that was stationed there at various times by the Dutch and British in order to protect the harbor.
Near this point, the colonists of the Dutch West India Company began the settlement of New Amsterdam in 1625. As the colony grew and its commerce expanded, piers, wharves, and slips rose along the coastline. The Dutch constructed Fort Amsterdam as early as 1626, and around 1683, the first of a series of gun batteries was constructed around the shore.
In Battery Park, is a now-damaged sculpture called "The Sphere" It once stood in the center of the fountain of the World Trade Center Tobin Plaza. The Sphere was pulled from underneath the collapsed towers. It was inaugurated at a ceremony marking the six month anniversary of the attack as a temporary memorial to all those who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center.
Created in 1971 by artist Fritz Koenig, The Sphere was described as "a monument fostering world peace." The 45,000-pound sculpture is 15 feet in diameter and is made of steel and bronze. It sustained a gash through its center, but remains structurally intact.
Visitors to Battery Park are immersed into a fun and fantastic cityscape collage -- complete with ferry boats, souvenir vendors, fast food carts, seagulls, business workers dining al fresco on the park benches, schoolchildren or camps on outings, performance artists, and walking paths through beautiful flower beds. At night, you can stroll the promenade and take in views of New Jersey lights across the water, and breathtaking views of some of lower Manhattan's skyline, Governors Island, Staten Island, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Have your photo taken with a Statue of Liberty!
A view of downtown Manhattan from the park.
Castle Clinton ( below) was built in anticipation of the War of 1812. A decade later it was renamed Castle Garden and was transformed into the City's premier cultural center. By 1855, successive landfills had enlarged the Park to encompass Castle Garden and the structure became America's first immigrant receiving center, welcoming 8.5 million people before it was succeeded by Ellis Island. In 1896, the Castle was transformed into the beloved New York Aquarium, one of the nation's first public aquariums.
Following its near-total demolition in 1941 and a major preservation battle, the original fort walls were declared a National Monument by an Act of Congress in 1946. Restored to its fortification appearance by the National Park Service in 1975, the Castle currently houses a small interpretive display and the ticket office for the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island ferry.
A slide show about Castle Clinton's history can be viewed at this link.
Battery Park contains many monuments honoring soldiers, explorers, inventors, and immigrants. I'd like to show you a few of them, and hopefully I'll be able to display more in a future post.
The sculpture below is located at the south end of Battery Park near Castle Clinton. The piece was donated by Samuel Rudin (1896-1975) one of New York City's largest property owners, who commissioned the sculpture in the early 1970s, intending it to be installed near Castle Clinton as a memorial to his parents, who immigrated to the United States in the late-19th century. Although Rudin died in 1975, Rudin's family took up the campaign to install the sculpture at the park, and it eventually was dedicated on May 4, 1983. It is by sculptor Luis Sanguino.
On the eastern side of the plaza is a monumental bronze eagle, sculpted by Albino Manca (1898-1976) and set on a pedestal of polished black granite, grips a laurel wreath over a wave — signifying the act of mourning at the watery grave. This monument was commissioned by the American Battle Monuments Commission, a small independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government, and was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) on May 23, 1963.
It was restored in 1997, and was originally dedicated in 1963 to our servicemen and women who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. A total of 4,067 lives were lost, and their names, rank and home state are inscribed on the eight 19-foot-high granite walls.
Along the waterfront, ferries depart for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The terminal for The Staten Island Ferry is nearby, which you can ride for free! The 5 mile, 25 minute ride also provides view of the Statue of Liberty in the harbor, and the Manhattan skyline. It is NYC's best bargain!
A full Statue Cruises ferry (below) waiting to depart for Liberty Island.
A view of the Statue Of Liberty on a misty, foggy day from Battery Park.
Located on a 12 acre island, the "Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World," was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.
I hope you enjoyed this quick trip through Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
Please leave a comment on this post, if you haven't already, to have a chance to win my 100th blog post give away. A random drawing from all the names who comment will be picked on Monday, June 23, 2008. Thanks!