Upicnic | Picnic in Battery Park, Bathe in New York City History

Picnic in Battery Park, Bathe in New York City History

BY MARTA
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8/30/2016

As a New Yorker you might be trained to fiercely avoid Battery Park just as much as Times Square. Yet, that would be a terrible mistake, for beyond mobs of zealous tourists waiting in line for the Ellis Island ferry lays a true New York City gem.

Fun fact: do you know why this area of Manhattan is called “the Battery”? It’s because of the artillery batteries (aka cannons and stuff) that were stationed there for defense in the 17th century when New York was still New Amsterdam and had a long way to go before becoming an actual city.

Battery Park spans 25 acres of some of the city’s oldest and most historic grounds. Caste Clinton, nestled in the center of the park, used to be the first point of contact for immigrants decades before Ellis Island was established, and well before the Statue of Liberty became a New York icon. It is also home to a stretch of 200 years old wall, the oldest man-made structure still in place in Manhattan (!) discovered during recent renovations of the South Ferry subway station.

Today, Battery Park offers a much needed spot to relax close to Wall Street and the Financial district – plus, the recently reopened Battery Oval is a magnificent lawn welcoming picnic events of all sizes.

My personal favorite way of taking in all of Battery Park’s glory is to arrive in the late afternoon (when most tourists are gone) and lounge on one of the many benches lining the area East of Castle Clinton’s or on the recently renovated esplanade… watching the sun setting behind Lady Liberty will restore your faith in humanity and remind why you love this anxiety-ridden, glorious, crazy city of ours.

Plan a picnic here if: you are looking for an easy to reach spot where you can feel connected with New York’s history and bathe in the glory of Lady Liberty. But also if you simply like amazing comfy grass and you happen to be in the FiDi.

What’s nearby: Wall Street, the whole Financial District, Bowling Green, Charging Bull, and a million ferries to Staten Island, Governors Island, Ellis Island.

How to get there: Battery Park covers the very end of Manhattan and even though that may seem far away for many, in reality all major subway lines have a stop in the area – 1, 4/5 and N/R trains are all but a few minutes to the East of the Park.

Closest restrooms? Your best bet is to head over to the Staten Island Ferry terminal for easy, clean, air conditioned restrooms. You can also head over to Battery Gardens or to the Battery Park playground, either way, they are all towards the East side of the park.

Rules you should know about: standard rules of conduct apply – so be a nice human being, clean the mess you make (if any) and don’t be too loud, but you can otherwise lounge with music or play unorganized sports and things like that.

And as always, happy picnicking!

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