Location: Southern tip of Manhattan
Battery Park is the 21 acre park at the junction of the Hudson and East Rivers. The view of New York Bay extends in three directions from Jersey City on the right to Brooklyn. From the promenade you can see Ellis Island, Liberty Island, Governors Island and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
Castle Clinton National Monument is open 9am to 5 pm, closed December 25. The Monument contains an Information center and sales counter where tickets for the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island ferry are sold.
Bus: M1, M6, M9, M15
Subway: R or W to Whitehall Street, 4 or 5 to Bowling Green, 1 to South Ferry.
Castle Clinton was built as a fort in 1811 on a rocky island offshore to defend New York against a possible British attack. Originally called Southwest Battery, in 1815 the fort was named Castle Clinton in honor of De Witt Clinton, a former mayor of New York City, who later became governor of New York State.
In 1824, the city leased Castle Clinton, renamed it Castle Garden, as a place for public entertainment. Following the addition of a roof in 1844 Castle Garden became the largest indoor concert hall in the city and a fashionable theater, where P.T. Barnum introduced Swedish Nightingale Jenny Lind in 1850. The 6,000 seat theater sold out for each of her six performances.
In the 1850’s landfill extended the Battery to the south and Castle Garden became part of the mainland. Samuel Morse, demonstrated his new invention, the telegraph, here. Between 1855 and 1890 it served as the New York State immigration station. More than 8 million immigrants passed through Castle Garden.
From 1896 to 1941, the New York Aquarium, occupied the building. Castle Clinton was designated as a National Monument in 1950. It was restored to its original appearance as a fort and reopened to the public in 1975.
The Sphere in Battery Park once stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. It was conceived by artist Fratz Koenig as a symbol of world peace. It was damaged during the tragic events of 9-11-01 but endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country. The eternal flame was ignited on 9-11-02 in honor of all those who were lost. Their spirit and sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Allow a minimum of an hour to stroll along the waterfront promenade, view the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the eternal flame, Castle Clinton and the East Coast Memorial (dedicated to those who died during World War II). Plan your visit as early as possible to avoid crowds and long waits for the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island ferry (especially during the summer months).
Nearby Places of Interest:
- Staten Island Ferry
- Custom House (now Museum of American Indian)
- Bowling Green
- Bronze Bull
- Trinity Church
- World Trade Center Site/Ground Zero/911 Memorial
- Wall Street
- Federal Hall
- New York Stock Exchange
- Federal Reserve Bank of New York
- More Battery Park