Once upon a time, Battery Park City (BPC)—a neighborhood sandwiched between the West Side Highway and the Hudson River—was considered an isolated part of town with few restaurants (or reasons) to visit unless you lived there. Those days are done and this neighborhood has become such a family-friendly destination that you might just want to move here after spending the day walking through the plentiful parks and marveling at all there is to do here. Join us for a day in the life of this downtown neighborhood.
Fuel up with an organic breakfast: Snag an outdoor table (or dine indoors at the communal table) at Le Pain Quotidien. Everything made here is eco and artisanal—the organic granola and tofu scramble are particularly tasty. Ask for a coffee refill and take it to-go. You’re going to need all the energy you can get for a day spent in this fun-filled neighborhood.
Learn and climb. Combine a little learning about the plight of hunger in the world today at the Irish Hunger Memorial as you climb to the top of this authentic roofless stone cottage that was brought over from Ireland. Your kids will learn all about the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852 as they gaze at nearly two miles of text in the entry tunnel. Once you get to the top, take a breath and scout out the awe-inspiring views of the Hudson and the park below.
Rainy day alternative: Stop into the Children’s Room at Poet’s House located on River Terrace. Sit down and read some poems with your kids or watch them tap on one of the several old-fashioned typewriters in the space. Maybe they’ll dream up a haiku for you!
Borrow a ball. Head a slight bit north along the river to Nelson A. Rockefeller Park and walk to The Parkhouse, where you can request a ball to borrow for a quick game of toss. Start a soccer game or, for younger kids, spend the day in the sandboxes at the adjacent Rockefeller playground.
Experience the Shake Shack. Back on Murray Street (in the corridor opposite the Goldman Sachs tower), stop at the Shake Shack for a juicy hormone-free hamburger. Order the Lower West Side ‘Concrete,’ a combination of frozen chocolate custard and Shack-made mix-ins (marshmallow sauce and Mast Brothers cocoa nibs) and five percent of sales will benefit the Young Sprouts gardening program at the Battery Parks City Parks Conservancy.
Refuel and stroll. Walk through World Financial Center, which divides the North End and the South of the neighborhood and refuel with a cup of coffee at the very fair-priced Financier Patisserie. Don’t miss the Palm Court (it’s filled with 45-foot palm trees) and the Marina dotted with sailboats and yachts. These are great places for kids to run around (or zip around on their scooters). Continue south past along The Esplanade, a path that runs from the North End to historic Battery Park and linger. The views of the Statue of Liberty are stunning reasons enough to take this hike.
Get There: The M22 runs through the neighborhood during the week, linking Battery Park City to city streets across the West Side Highway. Or, just walk to the 1, 2 or 3 subway at Chambers Street and West Broadway.
Online: Battery Park City parks lists all you need to know about the neighborhood and its outdoor spaces.
— Lambeth Hochwald