Shane's Picks: Around the Battery

This summer I spent some time in Battery Park City since I had an exclusive sales listing at The Cove Club, which has sold and closed. As noted by the New York Times, the neighborhood has always been a quiet oasis from the rest of the City, but several new attractions have made it a destination. Below are some of my favorite places around the Battery:

BROOKFIELD PLACE:

Brookfield Place, formerly known as the World Financial Center, has the best shopping and food in Lower Manhattan. The mall features a 30,000-square-foot French food hall called Le District with a creperie, bakery, ice cream counter, fromagerie, and wine bar, among other stations. There are also several upscale restaurants. On the second floor, Hudson Eats food hall has a lot of good fast lunch spots from further uptown, such as Chop't (salads) and Black Seed (bagels).

THE SEAGLASS CAROUSEL:

The Seaglass Carousel is open, weather permitting, 7 days a week, from 10 AM-10 PM. Tickets are $5 a ride. The carousel features 30 luminous moving fiberglass fish and lasts approximately 3.5 minutes. The fish are equipped to play classical music in surround sound. I only wish the rides were longer!

"THE REAL WORLD" INSTALLATION AKA THE TOM OTTERNESS PLAYGROUND

My earliest memories of Battery Park City are of playing at the delightful Tom Otterness playground in Rockefeller Park, which opened when I was a child. In the artist's typical style, the sculptures appear to be whimsical human and animal characters, but upon closer inspection, they are actually commentary on the financial world.

THE IRISH HUNGER MEMORIAL:

The Irish Hunger Memorial commemorates the Great Irish Famine, which caused the deaths of over a million people in Ireland between 1845 and 1852 and lead to mass migration. The memorial was designed by artist Brian Tolle and features stones, soil and native vegetation from Ireland and incorporates an authentic 19th century Irish cottage. Despite the neighboring residential buildings and office towers, the memorial is one of the most peaceful places in NYC and evokes the feeling of being in the Irish countryside. UPDATE: The Irish Hunger Memorial is closed for leak remediation and waterproofing work. It will reopen in late spring 2017.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage is a memorial to the Holocaust and also has exhibits about modern Jewish history, life, and culture. Everyone should visit this museum.

Lastly, my favorite activity remains walking around the beautifully landscaped esplanade and magnificent parks and gardens. The greenery and gorgeous views of the Hudson River give Battery Park City a serene feeling that is truly distinct from the rest of New York City. 

Other notable sites around the Battery:

Poet's House is a national poetry library and literary center that offers readings, workshops, classes and residencies. There are also special events for children and members.

Castle Clinton is circular sandstone fort that was built to defend New York City from British forces. Today it is a National Monument, free and open daily from 7:45 AM - 5 PM.