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Battery Park

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East Coast Memorial (distant), Chester Burger
East Coast Memorial (distant), Chester Burger
Battery Conservancy
Battery Conservancy
Battery Conservancy
Battery Conservancy
Castle Clinton National Monument, Chester Burger
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The Commemorative Landscape of The Battery
by Chris Neville

Most people come down to the Battery to catch a ferry or take in the view. Either way, the harbor beckons. But as you start along the pathway that leads from Broadway to the shoreline, the first thing you will see is Fritz Koenig's 1971 sculpture, The Sphere. Salvaged from the rubble at Ground Zero, and still bearing the scars of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, it was re-erected here in 2002. This grim but resilient presence is the most recent memorial in Battery Park, but it is also hardly the first. In fact, the Battery marks the center of the densest concentration of public memorials in New York City. This commemorative landscape extends beyond the park itself to include nearby sections of Lower Manhattan, not to mention Liberty and Ellis Islands. But it all starts with the Battery: the southern tip of Manhattan is New York's oldest civic space, in continuous use since 1626, and marks the city's historical epicenter.
 

In the years since the Dutch built the first fort here as the seat of their colonial power, this site and the city around it have been transformed beyond recognition. But despite the Battery's gradual evolution from administrative center and military installation into a public promenade, it has endured as a legible reminder of the city's origins as a seaport and trading outpost. Today's New York may be a world unto itself, but the city was born at the Battery, and the Battery will always remain the furthest downtown a New Yorker can go.