Winter at The Battery

By steve lagerstrom
January 17, 2018

Winter has dug its heels in and the sidewalks of Manhattan are catwalks for modeling knee-length puffer jackets, red noses and scarves wrapped one too many times. When you’re charging forth into a wind tunnel, it can be difficult to remember why you even live here. For a reminder, let a blustery wind blow you down to The Battery, where you can relax on 25 acres of public space buffeted from the wind by trees and a shelter of skyscrapers.

Our 195,000 square feet of perennial gardens aren’t blooming this time of year, but they hold a secret beauty for those who stop to wander through them. When the renowned Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf designed our park, he didn’t forget about our lovely friend Winter. The plants, which our gardeners won’t cut back until spring, display a delicate, graceful beauty through their muted tones and arching branches.

Walk towards the glowing blue nautilus on the east side of the park and you’ll hear music wafting over the snowy ground, beckoning you closer. SeaGlass Carousel operates all winter long, delighting visitors of all ages with its dancing lights and submarine atmosphere. If you’re beginning to get a bit too chilly, step inside to twirl, rise and dip inside one of our glittering fish.

We have laid Battery Urban Farm to bed for the winter, but peek over the gate and you’ll see a few last rows of hardy greens and herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme. Our season has come to a close and we’re proud to say that this year, our little third of an acre welcomed over 4,500 students and produced 2,000 pounds of gorgeous fresh produce. Check back in April to see the students of New York City planting our first round of crops!

For a moment of contemplation and grounding, enter the Labyrinth. Since antiquity, people have been walking labyrinths – which have only one path – to calm the mind and reconnect with the body. Pacing slowly along the spiraling turns is the perfect way to reset your day and find serenity in the middle of the city. Gardening aficionados can walk through the native and medicinal plants garden in this area to see which of the hundreds of plants they can identify in their hibernating state. Perennials, which come back every year without needing to be replanted, will start to show their cheery fronds and flower buds sometime in mid-March.

With the tourism season for the Statue of Liberty slowing down, winter is a wonderful time to visit The Battery. Come admire the stark beauty of nature under the snow, get some fresh air, or take in an elegant late afternoon sunset with a friend and a warm drink. It’s always tempting to huddle up indoors for these blustery months, but we all need a little taste of nature and Vitamin D here and there to get us through.

With this invitation to explore The Battery: Winter Edition, we welcome you to our blog. Here, we’ll keep you posted about upcoming events, workshops, tours, educational programs and new developments. We’ll share stories from the Farm, gardening tips from our expert horticulturalists, gripping historical anecdotes from our park’s storied past, plans for future park additions, and much more.

Thank you for your continued support for the mission of The Battery Conservancy. See you in the snow!

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