The Battery Perimeter, Bikeway, Oval, and Woodland

Quennell, Rothschild & Partners: Sited on the historic southern tip of Manhattan, the Battery takes its name from the “battery” of cannons erected by Dutch settlers in the 1600s. Over the centuries, the park has functioned as America’s first immigrant receiving center, a pleasure ground, and a memorial landscape. What was a worn, formal Moses-era park a mere twenty years ago is now a lush destination for six million tourists and New Yorkers who come here each year to board a ferry, visit the memorials and urban farm, stroll the Bosque Gardens and waterfront promenade, and take in the magnificent views of New York Harbor. Quennell Rothschild & Partners worked closely with NYC Parks and the Battery Park Conservancy on this $14M, 12-acre redesign which includes an expansive new gathering space, a pastoral bikeway, a monument walk, and streamlined circulation.

The Oval

© Battery Conservancy Josie Connell
© Battery Conservancy Josie Connell

Two acres of Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue, shaded by 38 stately trees, carpet the sweeping Battery Green oval, a gathering space for up to 9,000 concert-goers. Those arriving at the Broadway entrance are treated to dramatic views of Castle Clinton.

Battery Bikeway

© Quennell Rothschild Partners
© Quennell Rothschild Partners

The curvilinear bikeway, flanked by colorful perennials and shrubs, provides the critical link between the Hudson River Park and East River bikeways, as well as safe access through the park. A combination of visual and physical cues alerts bike riders to pedestrian crossings.

Monument Walk

© Starr Whitehouse
© Starr Whitehouse
The park hosts 23 monuments to American explorers, defenders, and inventors, as well as the twisted “Sphere” rescued from the World Trade Center. Previously scattered haphazardly around the park, ten of these sculptures have been restored and moved to the park’s perimeter. In their final home along the new monument walk, the newly prominent monuments provide focal points at all the major streets leading to the park.

Planting

© Quennell Rothschild Partners
© Quennell Rothschild Partners
The longevity of the park’s 250 mature trees has been assured through new paving that preserves their root systems. Unnecessary paths have been removed, making way for more lawn and woodland where the old trees can happily spread above and below ground.

Circulation

© Quennell Rothschild Partners © Quennell Rothschild Partners
Former conflicts between pedestrians, bikes, trucks and buses have been resolved. View-framing plantings enhance the main entrances, while new entrances connect the Battery with Pier A to the west and Peter Minuit Plaza to the east.

To reinforce its role as the city’s first line of defense against hurricanes, the park has also become more pervious. By replacing mown lawn with swaths of native grasses and reducing paving, Quennell Rothschild and Partners have prevented any additional stormwater from being generated.

The Battery has finally been restored to a beautiful, sustainable twenty-first century public space worthy of its cultural, archaeological, and historic significance.

Data

Project: The Battery Perimeter, Bikeway, Oval, and Woodland
Landscape Architects: Quennell, Rothschild & Partners
Awards: ASLA-New York Chapter Honor Award.
Location: Lower Manhattan, New York
Completion Date: 2016
Area: 12 acres

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