I remember the first time I went to Battery Park City. It was back in the late 1980s, and I was visiting a friend who had just moved into one of those earliest rental apartments to go on the market, and the whole place seemed a million miles away, like some suburban neighborhood had been dropped down into Lower Manhattan. I’ve been back to that part town a hundred times since then, of course, but just a couple of weeks ago, while wolfing a burger at the new Battery Park City Shake Shack, I was thinking how truly integrated into the city the community has become.
The creation of the Hudson River Park–that long, lovely stretch of waterfront promenades and bike paths and piers for recreation and relaxation–helped link Battery Park City with its northern neighbors in Tribeca, the West Village, and beyond. Development along West Street, including the opening of a huge Whole Foods just south of Fulton, helped as well, as have all of programs and entertainments organized by the likes the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the River to River Festival, which bring New Yorkers from all over town into the neighborhood. All told, it makes Battery Park City apartments feel like they’re located in Manhattan… albeit an especially quiet and lawn-filled part of Manhattan.
All of this comes to mind today because of an article in The New York Times announcing that, after some four decades of construction, the building of Battery Park City is, essentially, done. On the last two empty lots on the 92-acre community now stand two new rental apartment buildings, the Liberty Green and the Liberty Luxe, both either completed or about to be so, and together bringing 471 new rental apartments to the neighborhood. And then… that’s it. They’re finished.
Of course, this being New York City, there will always be changes and additions, and when One World Trade Center opens its doors in 2012, you can expect a huge influx of workers to “discover” how great Battery Park City has become, and the stores and services which will follow. But for all intents and purposes the skyline of Manhattan’s massive, planned city-by-the-river is now completed. Remarkable.
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