The Battery is a 25-acre public park on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. One of New York City’s most historic sites, the city’s foundation began on the shores of the Battery. It served various purposes for its Dutch and British inhabitants before the American Revolution. Named after its artillery batteries to protect the settlement, the Battery later hosted theatre shows, circus performances, and operas.

The Battery’s Castle Garden, now called Castle Clinton, functioned as the immigration depot for 35 years before the operation transitioned to Ellis Island. The Battery continued its role as a cultural hub in New York City by transforming Castle Garden into the New York Aquarium for half a century. Today, the Battery continues to bask in its glory of the location where New York began. The park features various attractions, cherished monuments, beautiful waterfront vistas, and scenic ferry rides just offshore.

The Battery in New York - one of the highlights of 10 Best Family Things to Do in New York and 10 Best Parks in New York (Read all about New York here)

What are the highlights and features of The Battery?

The Battery resembles a maze of historic monuments that trace the groundwork of this booming metropolis. Wandering this green patch of Lower Manhattan follows the footsteps of millions of immigrants who made the harrowing journey to the New World. No history buff should miss the Castle Clinton National Monument that commemorates America’s first immigration station. If you gaze just offshore, you’ll spot the famous Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty holding her torch.

Other memorials inside the park include the Giovanni da Verrazano Monument and Netherland Memorial to see the first European arrivals to New York. Visitors with a connection to the United States Armed Forces will find monuments dedicated to veterans of WWII and the Korean War. For a heartfelt portrayal of the struggles newcomers faced entering the United States, The Immigrants sculpture draws on the varied emotions created by the frightful journey. To rest your feet, enjoy a magical ride on the SeaGlass Carousel to marvel at colourful fish ‘swimming’ on the fibreglass.

A brief history of The Battery

The earliest traces of human settlements at the Battery were the Lenape and Munsee Native Americans. They used the waterfront location for trade and food gathering. Florentine explorer, Giovanni da Verrazano, traversed the area around the New York Harbour, while Dutch settlers formed the New Amsterdam settlement in the early 17th century. In 1664, the British took the colony. They renamed it New York and later set up an artillery battery.

American troops led by George Washington captured the fortification at the Battery and strategic moments of the American Revolution unfolded here. At the war’s conclusion, the Battery held the Evacuation Day celebrations following the departure of British troops from America. In the early 19th century, the city built Castle Clinton and other nearby fortifications to guard New York Harbour against a British invasion. Today, Castle Clinton symbolises New York City’s birth as a melting pot that welcomed over 8 million immigrants to the US in the 19th century.

Good to know about The Battery

Next to the Battery, the Whitehall Terminal is where the Staten Island Ferry docks in Manhattan. The Staten Island Ferry is a free transport service between Manhattan and Staten Island that offers spectacular views of Lower Manhattan. Ferries make the one-way trip in 25 minutes, but avoid hopping onboard during rush hour. When you return to Whitehall Terminal, consider visiting the National Museum of the American Indian or Museum of Jewish Heritage beside the Battery. You could also walk around 10 minutes to the nearby New York Stock Exchange or Wall Street.

The closest New York City Subway stations to the Battery are the Bowling Green and South Ferry stations. You can take the 4 or 5 Train to Bowling Green or the 1 Train to South Ferry. Alternatively, you can ride the M15, M20, or M55 bus to South Ferry right beside the Battery.

The Battery in New York

Location: New York, NY 10004, USA

Open: Daily from 6 am to midnight

Phone: +1 212-344-3491

Daniel Grenier | Contributing Writer