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The Battery

The Daily Plant : Thursday, June 7, 2007

Frank Gehry To Design His First Playground At The Battery

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On Tuesday night, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Benepe announced that world-renowned architect Frank Gehry will design the very first playground of his long career for the Battery, the historic public park on the southernmost tip of Manhattan.

At the Battery Conservancy’s 12th Annual WaterGazer Gala benefit, attended by almost 600 leaders of New York City’s cultural and business communities, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Benepe said that Gehry’s design for the playspace is expected to be unveiled later this year. $4 million has been earmarked for construction and the Battery Conservancy will raise the balance of the funds.

An original Gehry design will complement the uniqueness of the Battery, where land and sea, history and modernity combine in a refuge for pleasure, relaxation, learning and play for people of all ages. The architect’s work – internationally acclaimed for its daring exploration of form, singular combination of urbanity and whimsy, and sensitivity to culture in our built environment – lends itself to this project: an original environment for children to explore and have fun. The one-acre playground will also feature a “green” comfort station with a green roof and vegetal walls.

The new Gehry-designed playspace will be part of the larger renaissance of the Battery, including the flourishing Battery Bosque Gardens; two new gourmet “green” and organic food kiosks; a Battery Bikeway connecting Manhattan’s East and West sides; a new Town Green; renovations to Peter Minuet Plaza; and the planned restoration and expansion of historic Castle Clinton.

The Battery Conservancy was created in 1994 as a not-for-profit educational corporation to rebuild and revitalize the Battery and Castle Clinton National Monument, the park's major landmark. The Battery’s 25 acres of gardens, mature shade trees and historic monuments also serve as the disembarkation point for ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and still greets more than five million people a year. The Conservancy spearheads the improvement efforts in partnership on City, State and Federal Levels, and with its private donors.

Frank Gehry is founder and principal of the Los Angeles-based firm Gehry Partners.


“The right to be heard does not automatically include
the right to be taken seriously.”

Hubert Humphrey
(1911 – 1978)

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Portions of the Battery are closed for various improvements, including a connection between the Greenways along the Hudson River and the East River. The 12-acre site will feature a meandering bikeway and walkway through lushly planted perennial gardens; a reconstructed Battery Green, the large oval lawn that serves as a public assembly and performance area; restoration and relocation of 10 monuments to the perimeter for better placement and increased visibility; a protected and replanted woodland area; new paths, trees and seating surrounding the park, and upgraded paving, edging, furnishings and lighting.
Anticipated Completion: Summer 2015

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