When it comes to parks in NYC, most visitors have Central Park in mind. And that’s where they’ll head. However, a short subway ride to downtown Manhattan brings you to another world that’s far removed from the ‘glamour’ of Central Park. Battery Park City.
Battery Park City is different from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city. Surprisingly, it also offers a lot for a visitor or even a resident of NYC. In fact, if you’re too lazy to walk to the ferry terminals to take the ferry to say hello to the Statue of Liberty and understand what Ellis Island is all about, visit Staten Island or even get a different perspective of New Jersey just across the Hudson River, no issues.
Battery Park City offers you stunning panoramic views of all these on a clear day. And a lot more as I discovered.
The SeaGlass Carousel
If there’s any one thing that you need to check out, let it be the SeaGlass Carousel. Whether as a treat for your kids, or simply to marvel it yourself. The carousel is made of 30 fiberglass fish that seem to magically go around inside a glass and metal chamber. Because it doesn’t have a pole in the centre of the carousel, what gives it its fluid movement are moving floor panels, with some well-choreographed light and music for an immersive underwater effect. Interestingly, the New York Aquarium, which is now located on Coney Island, was originally opened here in 1896.
American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial
For those with an interest in war, you will find the American Merchant Mariner’s Memorial worth the visit. It’s only after reading up on it that I relooked at the photograph I had so randomly clicked then. And it makes for a sad one. Sculpted by Marisol Escobar, and modelled on an actual photograph, it depicts three US Navy sailors on a sinking ship. While one of them anxiously peers into the horizon, another one screams for help. However, look closely at the third figure and that is when it strikes you. He’s desperately trying to grip the hand of the fourth sailor who’s in the water.
The Universal Soldier
Built in 1991, this 15-foot black granite memorial, with a cutout of an American soldier, is a tribute to the military soldiers who fought in the Korean War. Each year, on July the 27th, at 10am, the sun shines through the soldier’s head and lights up the plaque at the base. That was the day, in 1953, when a ceasefire came into effect between the two Koreas. Also known as The Universal Soldier, it’s designed such that you can see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from one side of the cutout. However, a better and more interesting view is of the skyscrapers with the trees from the other side.
The Esplanade & Park
Running along the Hudson River, it covers the full Battery City Park waterfront. Over a mile long, this is the perfect place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city, while enjoying a quiet walk. If you aren’t much inclined to go visit the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, or have no intention of venturing into New Jersey City, then this is the best place to get a panoramic view of all three. And if you do feel like venturing just a little bit, why not hop onto the ferry to Staten Island. The terminal is a short walk away. Even better, your journey is free.
Dining, wining and whining
If doing nothing is what it tops of your agenda, except perhaps to stretch those legs and catch on the views, then you are in the right place. Whether you want to splurge on dinner while watching the sun set, or simply have a quick bite while escorting the whining kids to the carousel, there is something for everyone.