Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. National Parks in New York City? Yes! There are 11 parks with a total of 23 different sites you can visit in all five boroughs and parts of New Jersey.
Battery Park covers the southernmost tip of Manhattan. During non-peak hours, it's a wonderful place to wander around and enjoy a bit of quiet in NYC. However, during tourist season and hours with the most ferry traffic, this is a bustling hub for visitors and locals alike.
When New York was once New Amsterdam, Manhattan was a much smaller island. At the beginning of the 17th century, the land mass now known as Manhattan ended at Castle Clinton. Throughout the next four centuries, rocks, rubble, and garbage were dumped into the water surrounding the island. Now, the part of Battery Park that extends beyond the Castle Clinton National Monument and the next-door Battery Park City (a luxury residential area) is situated on land that was manmade from subway excavation rubble, dumped garbage from residents, and more.
Formerly a hub for arriving immigrants, military ships and visitors, the piers at the end of Battery Park are now used for ferries. You'll find Statue Cruises gathering guests at the Castle Clinton National Monument and Staten Island Residents arriving en masse before the workday on the Staten Island ferry. Ferry passengers walk through the park on their way to nearby subways or offices in the Financial District.
Nestled in the nooks and crannies of Battery Park are over a dozen monuments and memorials. Castle Clinton is an obvious stop as it sits in the center of the park and is the meeting place for travel groups. Did you know that you can find a cannon once used at the Castle near the perimeter of the park on State Street? Another interesting memorial is the Korean War Veteran's Memorial, which doubles as a working sundial. Every year at 10 am on July 27th, the sundial aligns to light the plaque below the statue, commemorating the exact time and date of the ceasefire declared in 1953.
In honor of the New York Aquarium that once occupied the Castle Clinton building, a sea-themed carousel was recently constructed and operates every day 10 am-8 pm every day.
Cover photo credit: @helen.s.reis via Instagram