If you're heading to the Statue of Liberty from Manhattan, you'll need to head to The Battery. The Battery, also known as "Battery Park", was used as a defensive stronghold in the late 1600s. Artillery batteries were placed here at the southern tip of Manhattan to protect the settlement on the island. The location was also used as a landing point for immigrants (Castle Garden) arriving at New York until Ellis Island was designated as the place for processing immigrant arrivals around 1890. Surely many of our immigrant ancestors' first steps in America were taken in Battery Park.
Today Battery Park is a 25-acre public park on the southern tip of Manhattan, between Pier A and the South Ferry Terminal. It features several monuments commemorating the people of New York's past. My family and I toured the park last week and because I can't stand the cold, I mapped out which monuments and memorials I wanted to see on my brisk January walk-through beforehand.
First, we saw the (1) Seaglass Carousel (shown above), which was closed. Then we saw the (2) Statue of Liberty Viewpoint (shown above). Since we visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island last year, it was interesting to see it from this perspective. Next, we came to the (3) East Coast Memorial, a tribute to the soldiers who died in the Atlantic during World War II. Continuing north from there, we came across the dramatic sculpture depicting suffering immigrants, called (4) "The Immigrants 1973". Next on the trail we saw (5) Castle Clinton. Continuing on, we stopped at the (6) Korean War Veterans Memorial. From there, we saw the (7) American Merchant Mariner's Memorial (shown above). Continuing north, toward Battery Place, we found the (8) Walloon Settler's Monument, and finally, on our way back to the parking garage, we stopped at the (9) Netherland Monument. Check out my other blogs to see my photos of these memorials, South Street Seaport, and pictures from the top of the One World Observatory!
Note: The grey roads shown on the above map are actually underground tunnels. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Battery Park Underpass run below Battery Park. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel goes under the ground and water, connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan, while the Battery Park Underpass connects West Street to FDR Drive.
New York is such an amazing city, packed full of interesting things to see and do. If you're planning a visit, be sure to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to see and experience as much of it as you can.
On this trip, we focused on Lower Manhattan, where my great-grandfather, Percy Daniels, lived as early as 1907. Next time we will venture up to the Upper West Side and Central Park to see the lands his wife's ancestors once owned there since the 16th and 17th century.
This is part of my new Ancestor Trails series, visiting the places my ancestors lived. Subscribe for free updates to be notified about my new blogs!