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Visit the Financial District's Parks in New York City

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 10/15/2009 - www.Littleviews.com ]

Battery Park City - Tom Otterness

>>  The parks in New York's Financial District are as stunning as Central Park, but few tourists know about them. This is a major loss when it comes to sightseeing, relaxing, and having fun with children when visiting the big city.

The Financial District parks, which go by a series of names, such as Battery Park, the Esplanades, and the Battery Park City's parks, provide stunning views of the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, and the towering city itself. They also feature river walkways, landscaped lawns, special seating, relaxing, and performance areas, ferry service, museums, unique children's playgrounds, and pool tables!

This article, the first in a series, briefly outlines the Financial District park system itself, followed a detailed description of the northern portion of the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Park (which is often called the "Battery Park City park") and The Real World playground.

Overview of the Financial District Park System

Map of Financial District Parks that highlights this article

The main topic of this article takes place near callouts (1) - the corner of the Chambers and Church Street subway station, (2) - the Washington Market Park and the Chambers Street bridge over West Street, and (3) - Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Park.

Future articles will cover all the parks in the areas marked, including the rest of the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, which features a large lawn, several seating areas, a huge children's playground, the NY Waterways ferry terminal, and a landscaped waterfall.

The eastern backdrop of the North Cove (4) area is the World Financial Center and numerous restaurants. The cove itself provides a yacht basin for mega-yachts with enough space left over for a modest sailing school.

Walking south of the cove at (5) is The Esplanade Plaza, the Esplanade (walkway), Rector Park, the Liberty Community Garden, and the West Thames Park, which also includes a playground. Further south is South Cove Park (6), followed by the Wagner Park and Museum of Jewish Heritage (7). Callouts (8), (9), and (10) mark New York's famous Battery Park, which features sightseeing boats, the Staten Island Ferry, memorials, and the magnificent National Museum of the American Indian (the former U.S. Customs House).

All of these parks feature spectacular river views with the Statue of Liberty visible in most of them.

Getting There

Bridge over New York's West Street

To reach the far northern end of the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, begin on Chambers Street and West Broadway (1) at the subway station (lines 1, 2, 3, and 9). Walk west past The Washington Market Park (2), which features a huge playground, and continue walking west to a smartly styled, elevator-accessible bridge that crosses over busy West Street. Linger on this bridge to watch traffic and take in the city's sights!

Entrance to the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Park - Battery Park City

Continue walking west to the park's entrance at Chambers and River Terrace (3). There, you'll begin to see sweeping views of The Hudson and New Jersey shoreline, as well as the expanse of park itself. Take the architecturally interesting staircase, or accessible-friendly ramp, down to the flower-lined park itself.

Entering The Real World by Tom Otterness

Battery Park City - Tom Otterness

Once in the park, you'll see The Real World entrance, which contains dozens of Tom Otterness' rounded, brass sculptures.

Children love to play on these sculptures (the monkey above is large enough to hold a small child for photographic purposes), and adults love checking out all the details.

Note the big feet in the background behind the monkey. The slope of the largest foot is high enough to serve as a child's slide.

Battery Park City - Tom Otterness

The Real World, a snarky (sarcastic/humorous) depiction of the financial industry, was installed prior to 9/11/01 when the World Trade Center was bombed. Given real world meanings, you'll have fun interpreting what you see. As for the sculpture above, kids usually stand on its foot pedestals. (Adults may rightly assume that these children are standing on the back of "a common man." What the heck - you can do it, too!)

Battery Park City - Tom Otterness

There are numerous cement picnic tables in this area, all decorated with sculptures, with no two tables alike. During weekday afternoons, you'll often see nanny's sitting together as their charges play in the area.

Battery Park City - Tom Otterness

The area's main sculpture, which sits in the middle of a moat that kids use as a splash pool, is very intricate. Children and young teens climb all over this sculpture, making it common to see several perched on its various edges.

Battery Park City - Tom Otterness

The theme of The Real World is people chasing money and you'll see footprints and coins wherever you look. They appear on dry land and in the moat itself.

Battery Park City - Tom Otterness

Above is a very small sculpture of a creature pushing a wheelbarrow full of coins. You'll see similar money-related themes in Otterness' Time + Money installation at the 42nd Street Hilton Hotel, between 8th and 7th Avenues, on both entrance doors and throughout its hallway.

Battery Park City - Tom Otterness

Nothing is left unadorned. Even the cement walls that ring the area feature embedded sculptures, every one of which kids play with, while adults ponder meanings and snap photos.

Links and Additional Information

Online information about the complete park district is scarce. Googling "Battery Park New York," of course, turns up a lot of specific detail, while doing the same with "Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Park" is weak. Many references are connected to Google maps, which, of course, don't describe a thing.

You'll find better information by Googling (or Binging) "Battery Park City Parks," or by looking up information on each park listed earlier in this article.

The following links provide a bit more background information:

Upcoming Articles in this Littleviews' Series

Hopefully, this article and the ones planned for the future, will help you decide where to go and what to see. If you are traveling with children, you'll find the area's playgrounds exceptional!

If you want to rush (or jog) through, the park's parameter from the north end to the National Museum of the American Indian is approximately two miles. More than likely, however, you'll want to explore the park on different days so you can relax and appreciate what you see.

If you plan on visiting before this series is complete, feel free to ask me questions about the area. That said, I do not yet know where the public restrooms are located, but that's #1 on my list of things to find out about in the near future.

Questions? Ask Karen at Karen@littleviews.com

Article and photos by Karen Little. First published on 10/15/2009. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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