Located at the southernmost tip of Manhattan next to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Battery Park is where the first Dutch settlers landed in 1623 and where a "battery" of cannons was erected to defend what was then called New Amsterdam. Since that time, the area has been known as "The Battery" and is why the Park is so named. Battery park is one of New York City's oldest public open spaces, and encompasses 23 acres of waterfront parkland.
The park's main attraction is Castle Clinton which was built in anticipation of the War of 1812. Although it was mostly demolished in 1941, it is now the beneficiary of an ongoing restoration project. If you are planning on visiting the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, the tickets for the Ferry may be purchased here.
New to the Battery are the Gardens of Remembrance designed by renowned Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf. The Gardens pay tribute to those who perished on September 11th, 2001 as well as the the survivors of that day. Also continuing the expansion of Battery Park is the Staten Island Ferry-adjacent Peter Minuit Plaza, named after the man who bought the island of Manhattan for the Dutch, and its new open-air public space, the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion.
Battery Park is located in the Financial District neighborhood of Manhattan. The financial hub of the United States, the seat of New York City government, and home to some of New York's oldest buildings, the Financial District has an illustrious history. 17th century settlers began building here, and given the many seafarers of the time, boats could be conveniently docked at one of the slips right near the settlements of wooden homes. Right nearby, in the heart of the district is Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States in 1789, also the meeting site for the First Congress. New York City was both the capital of the United States and New York State at the time. The street names reflect the district's fascinating history: Fulton Street, named after Robert Fulton, the inventor of the steamboat; Maiden Lane, originally called Magde Platje in Dutch; Beaver Street, recalling the once-significant beaver pelt trade, etc. The area today houses some great economic powerhouses, including the headquarters of major banks, the New York Stock Exchange, in addition to the World Financial Center. Contrasts are extraordinary, from old two- and three-story old brick buildings near South Street Seaport to the nearby modern mega-skyscrapers. Some of the numerous other attractions include Fraunces Tavern, where George Washington bid farewell to his troops (also, they have a museum!); the newly-landscaped City Hall Park; the Museum of the American Indian and the US Custom House at Bowling Green; Trinity Church, the first parish church in New York City and the resting place of Alexander Hamilton and Robert Fulton, among others; War Of 1812 strong hold Castle Clinton; the Staten Island-bound South Ferry; Battery Park; and the Federal Reserve Bank. Sadly, the biggest attraction since 9/11 has been the former World Trade Center site, although, thankfully, construction has finally filled the long-standing gouge in Lower Manhattan's face, and the stunning 9/11 Memorial and its attendant museum are welcome signs of a healing city. And, of course, soaring a symbolic 1,776 feet over the memorial is the new 1 World Trade Center!
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