Photograph by Richard Berenholtz
Photograph by Richard Berenholtz

Walking Tours of Battery Park City

In summer 2021, The Skyscraper Museum inaugurated a series of walking tours of its Battery Park City neighborhood. Three different tours explored three areas of the 92-acre master-planned community. Led by the Museum's director Carol Willis, and assisted by Jean Im and Museum interns, the tours were filmed and recorded, then edited for viewing on our website or streamed on mobile for tour takers.

The first tour focuses on the South Residential Neighborhood; the second the Commercial Core, Brookfield Place (originally the World Financial Center); and the third, the North Residential Neighborhood, including Teardrop Park and the apartment blocks built after 2001 when mandatory "green guidelines" set by the Battery Park City Authority created the first and largest LEED-rated community in the country.

The tours emphasize the history of the Hudson River piers and working waterfront; the 1960s landfill projects, starting with the excavations of the World Trade Center; the barren sand lot with "Art on the Beach" art installations of the 1980s; the construction of the commercial skyscraper hub of the original World Financial Center; and the slow development of the landscaped parks and apartment blocks that have grown to more than 8,200 residential units. Tours also emphasize public space, past and present, and consider the evolving plans to address the challenges of climate change and resiliency along the waterfront.

THE VIDEOS OF THE TOURS ARE CURRENTLY IN PREPARATION.

These programs were supported by a Community Partnership with the Battery Park City Authority.

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South Neighborhood Walking Tour

 

2021 JUN 9, 17, 23, 26 at 4pm
 
The first tour begins at The Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Pl. and explores Battery Park City’s southern district, which is home to some of BPC's earliest landscapes and infrastructure, as well as residential enclaves built in the 1990s, following the 1979 Cooper Eckstut Master Plan. We visit historic Pier A, Wagner Park, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, South Cove, and Rector Place. We follow the green spaces that connect the Esplanade, the first waterfront park in New York since the Brooklyn Heights Esplanade in 1951, and learn about the developing Resilience Action Plan of BPCA. Tour video runs around 50 minutes.

Battery Park City Programs are supported by a Community Partnership with the Battery Park City Authority.

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Business Core Walking Tour

 

2021 JULY 7, 15, 21, 24 at 4pm

The second of the Museum's three thematic walking tours of Battery Park City concentrates on the middle zone of the commercial core with its 1980s Postmodern skyscrapers of the original World Financial Center (now Brookfield Place) by architect Cesar Pelli, as well as the expansive North Cove Marina and its public realm. This walk investigates how the planning concept of public-private partnership was both the principle and economic engine of the Battery Park City project. We consider how the office and retail precinct connects to lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center and how the goal of opening the waterfront to public access and recreation was realized over three decades.

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North Neighborhood Walking Tour

 

2021 AUGUST 4, 12, 14, 18 at 4pm

The third of the Museum’s thematic walking tours of Battery Park City covers the north residential neighborhood, which was developed in several phases, beginning with Stuyvesant High School at the northeast edge and the esplanade and Rockefeller Park along the Hudson. A diagonal avenue lined with apartment buildings creates one face of the neighborhood, while the inner courts of the large blocks are connected by the delightful Teardrop Park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. We explore the experiences of this small park which concentrates landscape architecture into a miniature world. In 2000, the Battery Park City Authority imposed mandatory “Green Guidelines” for all new construction and in 2003 the Solaire became the first residential building in the U.S. constructed to LEED environmental standards. Others we will visit followed, making BPC the nation’s first green community. Tour duration is around 50 minutes.

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Left to right: Thomas Airviews/ Collection of the New York Historical Society, Collection of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Thomas Airviews/ Collection of the New York Historical Society
Left to right: Thomas Airviews/ Collection of the New York Historical Society, Collection of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Thomas Airviews/ Collection of the New York Historical Society
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