Battery Park City used to have a sandy beach

In 1976, the 92 acres of landfill that would one day become Battery Park City was in place and ready.

Unfortunately New York City—which hoped this new development would help revitalize the lower West Side of Manhattan—was too broke to get construction started until 1980, according to

So until the early 1980s, an actual sandy beach took shape in the shadow of the nearby World Trade Center, an isolated stretch popular with local sunbathers and other beach lovers.

“It was called ‘the beach’ because of the sand dunes on the empty landfill,” Mayor Edward Koch said in 1992, via a 2012 book, Battery Park City: Politics and Planning on the New York Waterfront.

The New York Times ran a wonderful series of photos last year in a story about the beach, which disappeared as construction commenced. But the beach must have been quite lovely while it lasted!

[Top Photo: Marilyn K. Yee/The New York Times; second image: Battery Park City skyline, MCNY, 1990; 2013.3.2.991]

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15 Responses to “Battery Park City used to have a sandy beach”

  1. Ruth Wilson Says:

    You are going to get inundated with comments chastising your oversight of the very famous No Nukes Concert September of 1979.

  2. Mykola Mick Dementiuk Says:

    I was there on July 4, 1976, 200th birthday of America. City had blocked off the sand with a large fence but it was easily torn down by the rowdy mobs of people who weren’t going to be stopped from getting to watch the fireworks. I’ve seen many fireworks over the ensuing years but this one stands in my memory. Was a very filling day. A nice memory, thanks ENY.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Thanks Mick! I found the information about the Battery Park Beach a few weeks ago, researching the bicentennial celebration.

  3. Battery Park City used to have a sandy beach | Real Estate Investing Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate Battery Park City used to have a sandy beach […]

  4. NJUrbanForest Says:

    Pretty cool! Didn’t know about this.

  5. countrypaul Says:

    Something poetic, rhapsodic, joyous and yet foreboding needs to be said about this. I don’t know what it is….

    To Mykola, in a related thought, we had the unique pleasure of watching the July 4th, 2000 fireworks from the end of a pier in Red Hook. Similar thrill, I might assume.

    • Mykola Mick Dementiuk Says:

      I suppose fireworks will do it, there’s always a giddy anticipation as I await the explosions. A happy time. Here in Lake George NY it’s been banned this year but that didn’t stop explosions blasting off here and there.

  6. pontifikator Says:

    When I lived in SoHo, I’d go down there to sunbathe. Sweet memory.

  7. S. Says:

    More than once, my honey and I would go down there from SoHo around midnight when it was deserted and make love on the beach.

  8. Ella Biondi Says:

    Funny you asked about this, I was over there today and because of heavy usage the grass is wearing away and there are spots where the “sand” is showing thru. Which it basically is, a giant pile of dredged sand from probably New Jersey. On top of the dumped excavation from under the twin towers and according to legend months of NYC garbage.


  9. Tom B Says:

    Thanks, I never realized the difference between Battery Park City and The Battery. Duh! Understatement, 9/11 had to be especially devastating here.

    • ironrailsironweights Says:

      Battery Park City was evacuated for some weeks after the attacks and some people moved out for good, but it recovered quickly and soon was back to previous occupancy levels.


      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        Yes I used to work nearby, and it’s actually a lovely little enclave, seems very family-oriented and doesn’t feel like the rest of the city.

  10. Shankar Subramanian Says:

    Looks so pristine!

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