Thursday, June 18, 2015

Teardrop Park in Battery Park City

I came across Teardrop Park a couple weeks ago while  walking along the beautiful  Esplanade , that runs  the entire length of Battery Park City.  The trees all along the   Esplanade make you forget you're in the city that never sleeps.  It is impossible to imagine but 50 years ago there was no Battery Park City at all. This 92-acre plot of land wasn't even imagined until the 1960s. Battery Park City is a neighborhood created from scratch.

The area now known as Battery Park City was once filled with busy piers as part of the Port of New York. When the rise of air travel made the port obsolete, the piers were abandoned and began to deteriorate.




In 1966 Governor Nelson Rockefeller announced a plan he created with private firms for a landfill to restore the area . The rundown piers left by the Port of New York were demolished and land was created using clean fill from excavation of the World Trade Center site, among other places.


Teardrop Park is a public park that sits between four residential buildings, each ranging from 210 feet to 235 feet in height,  close to Nelson Rockefeller Park and five minutes by foot from World Financial Center. 
When you walk into Battery Park City, you see rows of tall apartment buildings. But if you walk behind the building 22 River Terrace, there’s a cluster of big trees- this is the park.  Park was designed by landscape architect group Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates   and completed 2006 at a 17 million dollar budget.



Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates principal Matthew Ubanski stated, “We needed a strategy that allowed for some sense of exploration or unfolding in this very small space. Otherwise people would just come in, see everything, and leave".


It feel like you are  in the middle of a forest, and the 14-foot-tall slide feels surprisingly steep. There is also a huge sandbox ,   splashy fountains  and  a water playground in the park.




The park is very eco-friendly. Treated and recycled  water from the adjacent LEED Gold-rated Solaire Building and storm water runoff from the site are captured in an underground storage pipe, supplying all of the park’s irrigation needs. The environmental aspects of the park’s design include fully organic soils and maintenance regimes that don’t rely on pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. The southern part of the park  was lighted by three huge   8-foot-diameter solar  mirrors installed  on the top   of a residential apartment building.