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Warrie Price, the 1994 founder and president of The Battery Conservancy, spoke to Downtown residents about the past, present and future of The Battery at the TriBeCa home of Mark and Debbie Kopinski on October 2.
Price shared photos of the formerly dilapidated Battery, covered in cement and asphalt and suffering from decades of neglect, and spoke about the vision she had for the future of the historic park. Through design, horticulture and even agricultural initiatives, Price has created extraordinary change in the exemplary park for not only the millions of global visitors who visit annually but also a welcoming oasis for the Downtown community.
Among the attendees were neighbors, parents of children who participated in Battery Urban Farm’s City Seedlings summer program and civically engaged New Yorkers.
The Battery Conservancy, a privately funded nonprofit organization, has made great design a priority in the park. Price invited Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf to New York to design a horticultural master plan for The Battery in 2002. Oudolf’s commission at The Battery paved the way for his work with the High Line. The Battery Conservancy is also working with Show Canada—famous for its set designs for Cirque du Soleil and this past summer’s London Olympics opening ceremonies—to fabricate SeaGlass, the ride to “the bottom of the sea,” which is set to open to the public in Battery Park in 2013. And Frank Gehry’s first playground design, Playspace at The Battery will begin construction in 2014.
Price also outlined the success and popularity of Battery Urban Farm, which stems from a request by Millennium High School students who expressed a desire to grow vegetables in the park. The result is the one-acre farm at the southern tip of Manhattan that provides 1,500 local school children with learning opportunities and access to fresh vegetables and herbs grown by their own hands.
Lauren Kaplan, coordinator of Battery Urban Farm and Volunteer Services, and Henry Sweets, assistant farm manager, highlighted the myriad educational opportunities and shared stories of children lining up to eat turnips and holding worms in their hands for the first time.
Interactive food demos, potato sack races, farm tours and live music will all be part of The Battery Conservancy’s next event, the Battery Urban Farm Harvest Festival, on Saturday, October 13.
Check out this excerpt from Who Wouldn’t Want to Occupy It? The Emergence of a More Livable Lower Manhattan
New York Magazine, December 11, 2011
Photo by Iwan Baan. Graphic from New York Magazine.
Everywhere you look, a new park has popped up.
The year’s most obvious lower-Manhattan news is the reconstruction of the World Trade Center (1) site and the inauguration of Memorial Plaza, which will eventually be joined by 1 World Trade Center, four additional towers, and the Santiago Calatrava–designed World Trade Center Transportation Hub.
For the locals, however, the action is in Battery Park, where an entire acre has been set aside for the Urban Farm (2), composed of 80 plots of farmers’-market-bound organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers, tended by kids from local public schools. Frank Gehry has settled in here, as well, but not to design another blockbuster building. His Battery Playspace (3) (Battery Park, State St.), is set to replace the current, outdated playground in early 2013….Just north of the South Ferry terminal is the revamped and relandscaped Peter Minuit Plaza (9 Battery Park, nr. White Hall Terminal) (7), home to a picnic-ready pavilion designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel….
Please read the entire article to see all of the other exciting things that are happening Downtown these days. We are thrilled to be part of it!