Archive for the ‘Battery Park’ category

The Statue of Liberty (sorta) at One New York Plaza

July 11, 2008

When you think of Manhattan buildings, you think skyscrapers. Not absolutely true, but NYC does have more than its fair share of tall, tall buildings. The furthest south of all the skyscrapers is the fifty story One New York Plaza building. It was built on reclaimed land in 1969 and I haven’t the foggiest idea of who inhabits it. I presume its Wall Street types as it is only a couple of blocks away from the NYSE.

The thing that caught my attention is that little figure in front of it. I can’t remember how high it was, maybe five to seven feet; but it turns out that it was part of something called “Statues of Liberty on Parade” and they are decorated with major league baseball team art. This one was for the Colorado Rockies.  (That means there are a whole bunch around and I’ve missed them all!)

Go a few yards further south and you can see the real one in the distance.   Go a little further to the west and you’ll see a number of charactors dressed up as the Statue of Liberty and willing to pose with you for a small fee.  You can pose with this one for free.


Fraunces Tavern

July 9, 2008

On the Fourth of July, I ankled past Frances Tavern; a museum and restaurant located on Pearl Street way down south in Manhattan.

Technically, it calls itself “The Museum of Colonial & Revolutionary History”. But I have to admit the idea of a combo restaurant-museum is pretty cool. I was there too early to try the place out, but I would imagine it’s…interesting. I don’t know if I would have gone in. I went through Menupages and found it’s highly rated, but expensive: burgers are $14 and a chicken pot pie is $16. Even in Manhattan, I can find better deals.


But I have to admit, a burger from the joint that Washington bid his famed farewell to the troops in 1783, an event that led King George III to say that Washington would the the greatest man in the world (for behaving like Cincinnatus and laying down power being thrust upon him and going back to be a farmer), is a bit attractive. Maybe I will…


Castle Clinton in Battery Park

July 7, 2008

Way down at the southern tip of Manhattan is a little fort that was built in ’bout 1811 to keep out those pesky Brits. It’s called “Castle Clinton“, apparently named after the former governor of New York.

As odd as it may seem, it used to be the sole inhabitant of a small island off the tip of Manhattan. Long ago, they did some backfilling and it’s now squarely in Battery Park. I’ve always associated the “Battery” park’s name with Castle Clinton, ’cause it was a military installation and had a number of cannon in it. I believe that’s what the openings were for originally.

It’s got a great entrance area, with some wonderfully large studded doors. Inside, it’s open to the sky, with roofing at the inner edges of the circular structure.

But mainly, it’s just a Parks center where they sell tickets to get to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. They’ve got some displays in there, but nothing that rivets my attention, at least.

Well, there is a plaque that details how Castle Clinton has fared over the years. It doesn’t seem to have ever been used in wartime, but it was a “public center” where dignitaries were received including Lafayette, Andy Jackson, and Jenny Lind. Heck, for 45 years, it was even an aquarium.

Nowadays, it’s just a little place in the corner of Battery Park. It would be great in the rain as it has covered seating and a nice little view of some of the surrounding tall buildings.

It’s just one of those little places in the park that you see and have to wander through everytime you get near it. Nothing particularly special, but it is certainly a pleasant little place.


A Battery Park Ankle

October 15, 2007

Battery Park is southern Manhattan.  That is, it’s south of everything else in Manhattan.  You can say it has several parts:  the wooded and pathway-rich park, a section of monuments including the battery itself, and the waterfront.

I don’t know quite how large it is, but it’s a very cozy park with relatively little noise and the only traffic one typically notices is the boat traffic.

Typical of NYC parks, there are lots of trees.


And some interesting statues and monuments.  The most recent one is probably “The Sphere”.


Its a remnant from the World Trade Center.  It was in the WTC’s plaza for nearly 30 years and was badly damaged at 9/11.  In 2002, an eternal flame was lit (not a good picture of that, but it’s at the lower left).

There’s a nice traditional statue of John Eriksson, the inventor of the screw propeller and the designer of the Union Ship “Monitor”, the Union’s iron-clad.  That’s a model of the Monitor in his left hand (it’s nickname was “the cheesecake on a raft”, which just goes to say that the word “cheesecake” is very different 140 years later).


The namesake of the park, the battery, is a circular structure that was being used to issue ferry tickets when I was there, so I didn’t get inside.  There are spots for the large cannon, as I recall.

There’s also a huge monument to World War II’s soldiers, sailors, and marines that died “in US Coastal waters.”  the names of those that died are listed by their military branch (Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Army-Air Force).  This picture captures only about half the monument.


Here’s a closeup of one of the stones.  You can see that it’s a lot more than just names.


In the center of this stone monument is an eagle statue.


The text at the bottom reads “1941 * * * 1945   Erected by the United States of American in Proud and Grateful Remembrance of Her Sons Who Gave Their Lives in Her Service and Who Sleep In The American Coastal Waters of the Atlantic Ocean    INTO THY HANDS, O LORD”

Now that’s an inscription!

Finally, there’s the waterfront.  It’s very nice, lots of seating, and a view worth traveling for.

Here’s the walkway.


And a couple of pictures of the view.  First, the Statue of Liberty.


And Ellis Island.



CultureFest 2007 in Battery Park

October 14, 2007

Just a quick post on Saturday’s wandering down to Battery Park.  I’ll be posting more on that area soon, but Battery Park is at the absolute southern tip of Manhattan.  The “Battery” is actually the site of an old fort that protected Manhattan from enemy navies, should they want to invade (and, on occasion, they did).  Nowadays, it’s a wonderful little park and a jumping off point to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Anyway, every year the city holds an event called CultureFest.  It’s actually a pleasant and popular event with an emphasis on kids.  Not that it is geared toward kids, but that there are definite kid-friendly items including some of the bigger names.

Mostly, the event is a place that national cultural centers love to exhibit their paraphenalia.  Mostly, that’s just brochures, but it can veer off into actual items.  Some of the national groups that exhibited this year were the French, Irish, Germans, Japanese, Spainish, Chinese, Mexican, and Tibetian.  Some not-quite one-nationalities also exhibited like a Carribean group, a Hispanic group, and Scandinavia House.  I was speaking with the woman working the Scandinavia House exhibit and, noticing her very black hair, asked if she were a descendent.  “No,” she answered, “all the real Scandinavians are working today.”  I just loved that response.

And then there were the museums.  I’m not even going to try to name them.  Dozens.  All sorts of museums (to re-classify such things as zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens in addition to more traditional museums) were there, but all they had were brochures and kid stuff.  Lots of kid stuff for them.

The fest was performed along a series of walkways within the park.  Each of the groups had their own white tent.  It was pretty nicely done.


There were also some exhibits.  The flax works were moderately popular.  Okay, for me it was fascinating.  I’ve seen it before, but the process and the results are fun to watch.


The woman would pull the flax through the nails and it would slowly align all of the strands.  Eventually, it looked like hair (that’s a final sample drapped around her neck).  This would later be spun and woven to become linen.  It seemed like a lot of work.

There was a small group of these Historic Richmond Town re-enactors.  At one point, they did a little dance performance.


I didn’t think of it at the time, but I don’t know the time period they are enacting.  When I first saw them, I thought instantly of the Amish so that was sort of the mindset I had for them, although I knew they were acting.  Later, I saw one of the their number, in full costume, going by carrying some Starbucks for the group.  It was a moment of cognitive dissonance that made me smile.

My favorite moment of the wandering was a very simple one.  I was looking at a Battery Park Conservancy group’s exhibit and the two of them and I started conversing.  Just a very simple conversation where they talked about how much better the weather was than it had been the previous day.  Their friendliness was very engaging and they really seemed to be happy to have all of the people wandering around their park.  Nothing notable was said, but their attitude was really pleasant.  New Yorkers are really nice people.