Battery Park City Authority launches public dialogue for expanded recreation space

Across the street from Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park lies a hardscaped, 24,000 square foot (approximately .55 acres) public space running from Battery Place to 3rd Place along the Hudson River Greenway. The group that oversees the neighborhood’s development says it’s time to make it more useful for local residents.

On Sept. 29, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) announced efforts to engage the consideration of the public in development concepts for the space, as part of the two years of construction for the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project.

“Resiliency projects like the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project are vitally important as we prepare our waterfront communities for rising sea levels and storms, but they don’t come without short-term cost, including the loss of open space for our neighbors during construction. We must find alternative open space for the community while the project is underway,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “I applaud the Battery Park City Authority for exploring space between Battery Place and 3rd Place, and look forward to their public engagement process. Solicitation of ideas from local residents will be key to successfully activating this space.”

According to the the authority, the underutilized area offers potential for resident and visitor use in fitness and active recreation or simply as a space developed for socialization, in agreement with the New York City Department of Transportation’s NYC Plaza program. With the future of this space in question, BPCA will collaborate with groups in the community, including those focused on children and senior recreation programs, to find answers surrounding the programming, furniture, fixtures and equipment that will transform the area in keeping with the community’s vision. 

The Sept. 29 announcement was preceded by last month’s announcement of nearly 13,000 additional square feet of open lawn space as part of the SBPCR’s final designs. In response, local elected officials and community stakeholders have been publicly in support of the BPCA’s efforts. 

“We are glad to see that efforts are being put into finding feasible alternatives for BPC residents and I am hopeful that the community process will lead to a space well-suited to community needs,” said Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “The importance of greenspace cannot be overstated, and we must prioritize the maintenance and creation of these spaces in all neighborhoods as the city continues to grow. I urge the BPCA to continue addressing community concerns and engaging with residents.”

Sensitive to the coming closure of Wagner Park, the BPCA is working to begin early conversations to find development opportunities and has compiled conceptual options like ground treatments for safety and placemaking, layouts for modular and temporarily pop-up play, exercise and passive recreation spaces.

“Over the past 30 years and in consultation with a broad base of local stakeholders, the Battery Park City Authority has developed some of the best 36 acres of public space in New York City. We’re excited to continue that legacy when activating this new location, again in close partnership with our local community,” said BPCA President and Chief Executive Officer B.J. Jones. “We invite you to share your vision for how you’d like to use this space by completing the online survey and attending Community Board meetings in the months ahead.”

To share your input, visit the Community Input to Drive Concepts for Temporary Transformation of Half-Acre Hardscape Adjacent to South Battery Park City Resiliency Project.