Neighborhood Secrets

Living in Battery Park City means free transit, no lines at Shake Shack and lots of puppies

By Polly Mosendz  | May 14, 2014 - 8:59AM

Battery Park City, a relatively recent addition to the island of Manhattan, is like no other nabe in town. Nestled along the water and dominated by high-rise condo buildings and office towers, the neighborhood sits on 92 acres of soil recovered from the construction of the first World Trade Center. Apartment owners pay to lease the land under their buildings from the state-run Battery Park City Authority, which makes their monthly fees a bit higher than usual.

Though the area was hit hard by the housing crash, more recently it's bounced back. The World Trade Center redevelopment plus high-end stores opening in the Brookfield Place office complex and around Goldman Sachs' headquarters are making over the neighborhood. But what do you really need to know about living here? We spoke with locals to get the skinny.

Neighborhood: From West Street to the Hudson River

Median sale price$1.05 million

Median rent$4,675

1. It's the suburbs of Manhattan: "Think of Battery Park City as New York's closest suburb. Yes, you have access to MTA buses and are geographically bolted onto the island of Manhattan, but there is a moat of West Side Highway traffic separating Battery Park City from the rest of the city. Embrace it! Learn to live in your neighborhood and enjoy the quiet tree-lined streets and waterfront access." -Eric, 38, owns a one-bedroom "When people say it is family oriented they are not lying. Children and puppies are everywhere." -Adam, late 20s, owns a one-bedroom

Above, many of the housing options in Battery Park City are in condo towers like this one, though there are also rental buildings

Above, the Shake Shack in Battery Park City is blissfully free of lines

2. No crowds, for better or worse: "The bar scene leaves a lot lacking, so you'll get in the habit of going into the Financial District and Tribeca for drinks. The Shake Shack here is the only one without a line." -Quinn, 24, rents a studio "They have free shows in the park sometimes, a few summers ago they had a full ballet. It's great, not nearly as crowded as shows in Central Park." -Aalha, 40s, owns a two-bedroom 
3. The future is here: "The neighborhood's proximity to any subway and the World Financial Center [now known as Brookfield Place] and World Trade Center complexes really add to the experience." -Adam "Battery Park City will play a key role in the redeveloped World Trade Center. You can sneak a peek at what the future holds by strolling through the underground arcade linking World Financial Center with the PATH station. I love the white marble and white rib arches that will define the redeveloped area." -Eric
4. There's a secret cab spot: "There is a taxi stand at the end of South End Avenue closest to the World Financial Center. There are almost always cabs waiting for passengers." -Adam "Go to any of the hotels--they always have a taxi queue and the doormen don't know if you're staying there or not, so they'll catch one for you." -Quinn
5. Transit is super (and sometimes free): "Downtown Alliance runs a free shuttle bus service called Downtown Connection seven days a week. The shuttle service provides riders transportation from Battery Park City to other points downtown in the Financial District, Seaport and Tribeca." -Eric "The J train is kind of crappy, so try to avoid taking it. The other lines [1,2,4,4,5,6] work well down here, though weekend service can be shoddy." - Quinn

Above, the Downtown Alliance, a group that serves Lower Manhattan, offers a free shuttle service. 

Above, the World Trade Center memorial is one of several projects contributing to a BPC revival. 
6. You may see a turkey: "There is a wild turkey named Zelda that migrates to Battery Park City every year to nest and lay eggs. The rest of the year she resides in her feeding grounds in Battery Park."  -Eric
7. Parental pressure affects everyone: "When gifted-and-talented exam scores come out, the entirety of BPC is in danger of exploding from parental anger and fear. Best to lay low when any kind of school development is occuring because all residents have something to say about it. You don't want to get cornered in a Starbucks because you said 'Common Core' out loud to your spouse." -Pooja, late 30s, owns a two-bedroom
8. "Gentrification" has helped: "I believe the recent improvements have improved the quality of establishments in Battery Park City. Take for example the redevelopment of the former Embassy Suites hotel. Where once we had such local, family-run, fine-dinning establishments as Applebee's and Chevy's, today we have North End Grill and Shake Shack." - Eric
9. Flooding is something to consider: "During Sandy the floodwaters came up to our front steps. We were saved in large part due to water flooding into the World Trade Center memorial." -Eric "Our building has the [flood] insurance, we just bought it for our stuff inside the actual apartment." -Pooja
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