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Battery Park City

Battery Park City is a 90-acre (36.5 hectare) planned community at the southwestern tip of Manhattan in New York City. The land upon which it stands was reclaimed from the Hudson river using 1.2 million cubic yards (917,000 cubic meters) of dirt and rocks excavated during the construction of the World Trade Center. The neighborhood, which is the site of the World Financial Center[?] along with numerous housing, commercial and retail buildings, is named for adjacent Battery Park.

Battery Park City is owned and managed by the Battery Park City Authority[?], a public entity that is not controlled by New York City. Excess revenues from the area are contributed to other housing efforts, typically low-income projects in the Bronx and Harlem.

Geography

Battery Park City is bounded on the east by West Street, which insulates the area from the Financial District of downtown Manhattan. To the east, north and south, the area is surrounded by the tidal estuary of the Hudson River.

The development consists of roughly five major sections. Travelling north to south, the first neighborhood, aptly referred to by the BPCA as the "North Residential Neighorhood", consists largely of park, a few residential buildings, and a large hotel.

Immediately to the south lies the World Financial Center area, a complex of several commercial buildings occupied by tenants including American Express[?] and Dow Jones & Company. The area of the Financial Center also includes a steel-and-glass greenhouse known as the Winter Garden[?] and a large yacht harbor.

South of the World Financial Center lies the majority of Battery Park City's residential areas, in three sections: "Gateway Plaza", the "Rector Place Residential Neighborhood" and the "Battery Place Residential Neighborhood". These neighborhoods contain most of the area's residential buildings, along with park space and various types of supporting businesses (supermarkets, restaurants, movie theatres[?].)

History

By the late 1950s, the once prosperous port area of downtown Manhattan was occupied by a number of dilapidated shipping piers, casualties of the rise of air transport. The initial proposal to reclaim this area through landfill was offered in the early 1960s by private firms and supported by the Mayor. This plan became complicated when Governor Nelson Rockefeller announced his desire to redevelop a part of the area as a separate project. The various groups reached a compromise, and in 1966 the governor unveiled the proposal for what would become Battery Park City. The creation of architect Wallace K. Harrison[?], the proposal called for a 'comprehensive community' consisting of housing, social infrastructure and light industry. In 1968, the New York State Legislature[?] created the Battery Park City Authority[?] (BPCA) to oversee development.

For the next several years, the BPCA made slow progress. In 1969, it unveiled a master plan for the area, and in 1972 issued $200 million in bonds to fund construction efforts. By 1976 the landfill was completed; in many cases, the pre-existing piers were simply buried.

Construction efforts ground to a halt for nearly two years beginning in 1977, as a result of city-wide financial hardships. In 1979, the title to the landfill was transferred from the city to the BPCA, which financially restructured itself and created a new, more limited master plan.

Construction began on the first residential building in 1980, followed in 1981 with the start of construction on the World Financial Center, which saw its first tenants in 1985. Throughout the 1980s, the BPCA oversaw a great deal of construction, including the entire Rector Place[?] neighborhood and the the river Esplanade. In the early 1990s, Battery Park City became the new home of the Stuyvesant High School.[?] By the turn of the century, Battery Park City was mostly completed, with the exception of some ongoing construction on West Street.

The 2001 World Trade Center Attack had a major impact on Battery Park City. More than two thirds of the area's residents fled after the adjacent Trade Center towers collapsed. Gateway Plaza, the largest of the residential buildings, was punctured by airplane parts, and the Winter Garden was severely damaged. Environmental concerns regarding dust from the Trade Center have also been a continuing source of worry. Since the attacks, much of the damage has been repaired; reduced rents and government subsidies have gone a long way to restoring residential occupancy. Despite this, the area still has a long way to go before it will be fully restored to pre-attack levels.

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