The “water-gazers” strolling Battery Park

“With its fine promenade and magnificent vista of the harbor, the Battery became a popular place for New Yorkers to visit in the early 18th century,” states the NYC Parks Department.


Battery Park was so popular, in fact, New York native Herman Melville put it in the opening chapter of Moby Dick.

“There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf,” wrote Melville.

“Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme down-town is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.”

By the time this turn of the century postcard was produced, the Battery was still a popular promenade for “water-gazers” seeking cool breezes, as it is today.

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4 Responses to “The “water-gazers” strolling Battery Park”

  1. r185 Says:

    Coral reefs?!

  2. Austin Starr Says:

    early 18th century? that surprises me. I’m wondering if they meant early 1800’s. in any event . . . I like the picture and always enjoy your blog as a native New Yorker and recovering Yankees fan.

  3. Ursula Sommer Says:

    What are the two tall buildings in the background of the postcard?


  4. Wolf N. Shepherd Says:

    I imagine the NYC parks department is somewhat more serious than Pawnee’s.

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