Imagine you’re standing somewhere along the ribbon of green that stretches along the southwest tip of Manhattan, looking out to the Statue of Liberty. Now go back to this same spot some 50 years earlier. You are now enjoying the same view while floating in the Hudson. This makes Battery Park City a fascinating example of a planned community with an enduring environmental mission.
Prior to the twentieth century, New York City lacked a comprehensive development plan. Even after its official modern formation in 1898, New York City’s growth was very much influenced by the industrial revolution. By the 1960’s, Manhattan was the cumulative result of 300 years of building. With the formation of the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), Manhattan was given a rare opportunity to start from scratch.
The ‘how’ was simple. With the construction of the World Trade Center, Battery Park City had no shortage of fill to extend the land into the Hudson. The ‘what’ was a bit more complex. Governor Rockefeller worked alongside the BPCA in order to achieve a self-sustaining modern city that suited his interpretation of an urban community. This foresight of modernity placed Battery Park City on the right track, but it was the BPCA’s green initiative following the turn of the century that allowed it to truly succeed as a leader in urban renewal.
A stroll throughout the some 92 acres of Battery Park City feels different than the rest of Manhattan. Over a third of the city is dashed with family friendly parks and rustic charm. Somewhat secluded by the Hudson River and West Side Highway, it’s easy to forget when one is in Battery Park City. It almost feels suburban, yet includes all the benefits of urban living.
A core value of the BPCA’s mission states that “All new development, as well as maintenance of parks, public spaces, and other property under Authority stewardship, will employ the latest high-performance environmental designs and techniques available.” It is because of this core value that over one-fifth of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings of Manhattan are located in Battery Park City. While LEED is voluntary, Battery Park City has made it a priority. In 2004, the Solaire became the first residential high-rise in the country to earn a LEED Gold Rating, with residences like Millennium Towers (Gold) and The Visionaire (Platinum) following suit. With this responsible green construction initiative, Battery Park City has revolutionized the industry, even giving LEED a bump into the mainstream.
The ever evolving and livable Battery Park City takes pride in being on the forefront of environmental innovation, yet also offers an abundance of upscale dining, modern art, and planned high-end shopping following the renovation of the World Financial Center.