The Gardens of Remembrance in New York

#battery gardens #landscape architecture #New York #perennials #piet oudolf #remembrance park

The Battery Promenades had suffered from years of neglect. The gangways and staircases were not aligned, making access to the waterborne transportation difficult. Corroded iron fencing served as a barrier to the waterfront, restricting harbor views and pedestrian access.

Reconstruction Plan and Funding

The Conservancy created a plan with the following objectives:

  • Line up The Battery’s 6 gangways with staircases to the Upper Promenade
  • Remove barriers to the waterfront
  • Replace outdated benches with a stunning granite bench that reflects the history of the site
  • Reconnect the section of the promenade that had been bisected by the East Coast War Memorial

The Conservancy raised $400,000 in private funds, which leveraged $6.2 million in NYC capital funds. The Saratoga Associates were selected as the landscape architects for the project.

Description of Project

The rebuilt Upper Promenade opened in 2001. The defining element of the reconstructed Upper Promenade is the serpentine Stony Creek granite bench that runs the length of the promenade for 1,500 feet and gracefully outlines the prow of Manhattan Island. Each face of the bench’s 23 piers is decorated with a beautifully carved spiral.

Named The Battery Wave, the spiral is based on the golden mean. Its shape is echoed in the kerbed piers and the arched cast iron supports of the slatted bench. The Battery Wave, alone and as a repeated design element, reinforces the vital tie between the Battery’s landscape and New York’s Harbor.

The granite of the bench was quarried in Stony Creek, Connecticut, which also produced the stone for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1886.

The 10,000 square feet of the Gardens of Remembrance that lie along the elevated portion of the promenade are the first phase of Oudolf’s horticultural master plan. The plan combines 114 varieties of hybrid perennials and native plants, offering stunning beauty through all four seasons, while contributing to the sustainability of the park’s landscape and greatly increasing the efficiency of the Conservancy’s maintenance operations.

These vast perennial gardens pay tribute to:

  • Those who perished on September 11, 2001
  • The survivors of that day
  • All who will visit in the years to come seeking renewed optimism and hope

The yearly installation of new plant material has been replaced by the nurturing of plants that return stronger with each succeeding year. These plants, with their yearly renewal, echo the resilience of The Battery and of all New Yorkers.

Renowned Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf, has designed these gardens, planted on May 8th, 2003, with native grasses and flowering perennials. They embrace the waterfront, are in rhythm with the sea breeze, and delight the eye, while greeting millions of annual visitors to the Battery.