Gardens of The Battery

195,000 square feet of gardens, the largest perennial gardens in North America free and open to the public every day.

Since its founding in 1994, The Battery Conservancy has demonstrated that public parkland can become a paradise of plants, achieved through the breathtaking beauty of gardens. Visited by millions of people each year, The Battery was the first New York City public park to introduce a horticultural landscape without fences or an admission fee.

Established to rebuild and revitalize the historic park, The Battery Conservancy began with Philip Winslow’s 1980s master plan as a foundation and recruited Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf to create a horticultural master plan. His four-season garden is one of texture, fragrance, and color, with particular emphasis on seasonal variation, plant life cycle, and transformation over time.

Plant Your Parks

Gardens of Remembrance, 2003

Site Conditions Pre-Renovation

The Battery Promenade had suffered 50 years of neglect. Its gangways and staircases were misaligned, making it difficult to access waterborne transportation. Corroded iron fencing and parked cars were barriers to the waterfront, restricting harbor views and pedestrian access.

Reconstruction Plan

  • Align The Battery’s six gangways with stairways
  • Replace outdated benches with a stunning granite bench that reflects the history of the site, quarried from same stone as that of the base of the Statue of Liberty
  • Establish 10,000 square feet of perennials in the Gardens of Remembrance, dedicated in 2003 to the survivors of September 11th and designed by Battery horticultural master planner Piet Oudolf

Project Description

The Gardens of Remembrance pay tribute to those who died on September 11, 2001, and to the thousands of survivors who fled to safety by boarding ferries departing from The Battery. The restorative beauty of world-class horticulture in The Battery continues to comfort and nurture all who live, work, or visit Downtown New York.

The Gardens of Remembrance were Piet Oudolf’s first collaboration with The Battery. In keeping with Oudolf’s emphasis on sustainable gardens that celebrate both the poignancy and renewal of life, the Gardens of Remembrance created a botanical shift in The Battery’s gardens. Like most city parks at the time, The Battery’s gardens previously emphasized spring-flowering bulbs. Oudolf’s inspired design infused the landscape with 113 species of native grasses and flowering perennials that hold year-round interest at the tip of Manhattan. Composed of drifts and waves of plants selected to match the vast scale of New York Harbor, the Gardens of Remembrance feel natural and sometimes even untamed.

Stony Creek granite benches face the harbor and are framed by the herbaceous perennial gardens. The stone for the benches was extracted from the same quarry as that of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal, providing a sense of closeness to the Lady and the harbor. Each face of the benches’ 23 granite piers is carved with a beautiful spiral known as the “Battery Wave.”

The Gardens of Remembrance are maintained by annual contributions to The Battery Conservancy and through the generosity of a $1 million endowment by the Verizon Foundation.

Project Cost

Design and Construction: $6.8 M

Design Team

Landscape Architects: Saratoga Associates
Garden Design: Piet Oudolf
Contractor: AFC-Rosewood Contracting Company, Inc.

 

The Battery Bosque, 2005

 

Site Conditions Pre-Renovation

This uninspired four-acre space of Belgian block was characterized by cracked asphalt, outdated picnic tables and monotonous rows of worn-out benches.

Reconstruction Plan

  • 65,000 square feet of perennial gardens by Piet Oudolf
  • Arbor care for 140 existing London plane trees
  • Ground-level children’s play fountain
  • Replace dilapidated existing benches
  • Two custom-designed food kiosks

Project Description

The Battery Bosque is a garden oasis at the tip of Manhattan. The Bosque, Spanish for “a grove of trees,” completed the second phase of Piet Oudolf’s horticultural master plan for The Battery. The Bosque features four acres of gardens set among 140 mature London plane trees, the largest span of shade Downtown. The gardens host 34,000 perennial plants and 70,000 bulbs, in addition to 1,500 linear feet of serpentine benches, two distinctively designed food kiosks, and a 60-foot-wide spiral fountain made of Deer Brown granite with 35 water jets.

Designed to trigger an emotional response to beauty, the Bosque is a series of densely planted romantic garden “rooms,” joined by meandering soft-surface paths. With the addition of the Bosque Gardens to the Gardens of Remembrance, The Battery began to transform into a horticultural oasis.

For centuries, New Yorkers have strolled and lingered here, drawn by the magic and excitement of the waterfront. Today, over 7 million visitors enjoy the majestic gardens.

A portion of purchases at the Bosque kiosks, Table Green and Table Green Cafe, supports the care and maintenance of the park.

Project Cost

Design and Construction: $9.2 M

Design Team

Landscape Architects: Saratoga Associates                                   Garden Designer: Piet Oudolf
Architects: weisz + yoes                                                                     Lighting Designer: Linnaea Tillett
Contractor: Metrotech Contracting Corp.

Tiffany & Co. Foundation Woodland Gardens, 2015

Site Conditions Pre-Renovation

Compacted nutrient-deficient soil created a patchy lawn in an underutilized corner of the park. After the SeaGlass Carousel’s arrival, a new horticultural plan for this landscape was needed to welcome visitors entering The Battery and provide a seamless transition into the park’s established perennial gardens.

Reconstruction Plan

Embrace SeaGlass Carousel with fragrant perennial plantings
Provide continuity in the park while creating a balance between the Battery Bikeway Gardens and the Woodland lawn.

Project Description

Generously underwritten by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, the Woodland Gardens are designed by famed Dutch horticulture master planner Piet Oudolf with six organic-shaped gardens in harmony with the Bosque gardens. The ornamental grasses and herbaceous perennials in soft shades of blues and pinks have become closely associated with SeaGlass and as the gateway into The Battery from the State Street entrance.

With their fragrance and beauty, these gardens have become a destination in their own right, a quiet respite from the bustling city just yards away, with a stunning view of both the harbor and the dancing SeaGlass fish. During the week, the benches transform into a lunchtime destination for mothers with babes in arms, out-of-town friends, and school groups. By evening, you can find couples enjoying a unique date night in The Battery and parents treating their children to a pre-bedtime ride.

In addition to funds raised through annual contributions to The Battery Conservancy, proceeds from SeaGlass Carousel support the care and maintenance of the park.

Design Team

Garden Designer: Piet Oudolf
Landscape Architect: Starr Whitehouse
Architect: WXY architecture + urban design

The Battery Bikeway Gardens, 2017

Site Conditions Pre-Renovation

The perimeter of the park was unwelcoming, with nondescript, cracked concrete sidewalk and entrances that were not aligned with city streets and crosswalks.

Reconstruction Plan

Draw passers-by into the park with herbaceous horticultural plantings that blend seamlessly into The Battery’s landscape
Create curved paths with intersecting garden beds to slow bicyclists enjoying a new bikeway along the park’s perimeter and linking the east and west sides of Manhattan

Project Description

The Battery Bikeway connects the Hudson River Park to the East River Esplanade in a serpentine bike path bordered by perennial gardens designed by Piet Oudolf.

The Battery Bikeway Gardens feature woody plants and shrubs along the bike path’s route, completing Oudolf’s horticultural master plan for The Battery. Its curving paths offer glimpses of the harbor and SeaGlass Carousel as bicyclists meander through the park. Stony Creek granite seat walls separate bike riders from pedestrians and encircle the park, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the gardens and bustling city streets.

Design Team

Garden Designer: Piet Oudolf
Landscape Architect: Quennell Rothschild & Partners in association with Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners
Transportation consultant: Sam Schwartz

Success Stories

The Battery Urban Farm

The Battery Conservancy created Battery Urban Farm to engage students, residents, and visitors in sustainable farming techniques, the joys of tasting new foods, and environmental stewardship.

Learn More

The Battery Oval, Bikeway, and Woodland

Together with the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, The Battery Conservancy transformed half the acreage of the park, creating The Battery Oval, Bikeway, and Woodland.

Learn More

Peter Minuit Plaza

Peter Minuit Plaza is New York City’s busiest intermodal transportation hub. Following nearly two decades of effort to transform a forlorn street plaza of broken concrete into a bustling square, the plaza opened to the public in 2011.

Learn More

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