The Battery

Renowned Architect Frank Gehry To Design His First Playground At The Battery, New York City’s Birthplace

Wednesday, June 6, 2007
No. 69

Last night, Mayor Bloomberg and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian 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.

"I’d like to thank Frank Gehry for his extraordinary gift tonight," said Mayor Bloomberg. "It’s something that should make everybody feel even more optimistic about the future of the Battery and Lower Manhattan. We look forward to his brilliant addition to our world-class City."

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 Gehry’s design for the playspace is expected to be unveiled later this year. $4 million has been earmarked for construction. The Battery Conservancy will raise the balance of the funds.

"It is fitting that the Battery, the birthplace of New York, will be home to another first," said Commissioner Benepe. "Frank Gehry’s newest creation will be a truly innovative play experience for New Yorkers and visitors alike, for the young and the young-at-heart."

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.

Battery Conservancy President and Founder Warrie Price said, "It is a tremendous honor and privilege to have Frank Gehry as a partner in our rebirth of one of New York City’s most magical places because Frank is one of our nation’s great magical thinkers – his sense of wonder and belief in unlimited possibilities are as alive as any child’s. We are delighted that he will bring his remarkable spirit to a new playspace at the Battery, a destination for children of all ages."

The Battery Conservancy was created in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) 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.

Directions to The Battery

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