Saturday, November 17, 2012

Veterans Day at Battery Park

This year's Veterans Day fell on a Sunday and I was at Battery Park for that day.  Battery Park is a 25-acre public park located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island and faces the New York Harbor. It is named for artillery batteries that were positioned there in the city's early years to protect the settlement behind them. The park also houses several war memorials.

This is a great aerial view of the park and lower Manhattan from the park's website.

Photo credit:

To get to the park, I took the 6 train and got off at the Bowling Green stop. Last year I became fascinated with and took pics of clocks I see on my walks around the city, and the Bowling Green subway station was one of them.

You can also take the R and the 1 train to get to the park, getting off near the Staten Island ferry terminal. 

Directions and the park map are also available from the Battery Park website.

Near the Bowling Green entrance is the Netherlands Monument, here's what's inscribed on one of it sides.

The NYC Parks and Recreation website provides a translation of the inscription ..
I took the above pic when I was at the park last September 11.  Last Sunday, much of the park was enclosed in a wire fence, probably clean up for the damages caused by hurricane Sandy is still being undertaken. You can see The Sphere behind the fence.

Castle Clinton was closed when I passed by. It is both a museum and a ticket area for those who want to take the ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands. The NPS security tent at the back of the castle, which is the gateway to the ferries servicing the islands, was damaged during hurricane Sandy. Liberty and Ellis Islands both suffered damages from hurricane Sandy and are currently closed.

Still, seeing Lady Liberty from afar with her torch held high always gives me a sense of comfort and hope.

At the southern end of the park near Pier A is the American Merchant Marines memorial.
The bronze figural group and boat are based on an actual historical event; during World War II, a Nazi U-boat attacked a merchant marine vessel, and while the mariners clung to their sinking vessel, the Germans photographed their victims. The artist, Marisol Escobar, developed a series of studio sketches from this photograph, then fashioned a clay maquette as her winning design proposal for the monument.

The afternoon sun is behind the pic, here's a clearer pic that I took last year of the figures in the Memorial.

In the previous pic above, you can see the clock tower of Pier A behind the Memorial. Pier A has been vacant since 1992 but is currently undergoing restoration. Its clock tower was installed in 1919 as a memorial to the US servicemen who died during World War I.  It is said to be the first World War I memorial erected in the USA. In a previous blog, I posted a picture of the clock tower as seen from the Hudson River.

Standing in front of memorial, I looked northwest and saw One World Trade Center standing tall and proud.

Another memorial nearby is the New York Korean War Veterans Memorial, which
honors military personnel who served in the Korean Conflict.

Mac Adams’ winning design, selected from a group of over 100 entries, features a 15-foot-high black granite stele with the shape of a Korean War soldier cut out of the center.  Also known as “The Universal Soldier,” the figure forms a silhouette that allows viewers to see through the monument to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Adams also designed the piece to function as a sundial.  Every July 27 at 10 a.m., the anniversary of the exact moment in New York when hostilities ceased in Korea, the sun shines through the soldier’s head and illuminates the commemorative plaque installed in the ground at the foot of the statue.

At the base of the monument are mosaic of flags of the countries that participated in the U.N.-sponsored mission. Seeing my home country's flag with all the others gives me much pride and joy.

Also near that area is the Norwegian Veterans Monument. Here's a picture I took during one of my previous walks in the park.

I left the area to walk east towards some of the memorials on that side of the park.  Along the way I saw two famous figures, both native New Yorkers. They must be having some interesting talk. :)

Facing the Statue of Liberty, the East Coast Memorial is located at the southern end of the park. 
The East Coast Memorial honors the 4,601 missing American servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean while engaged in combat during World War II. Designed by the architectural firm of Gehron and Seltzer, the monument consists of a large, paved plaza punctuated by eight massive 19-foot tall gray granite pylons (four each on the southern and northern sides) onto which are inscribed the names, rank, organization and state of each of the deceased.

At the center of the memorial is a bronze eagle set on a pedestal of polished black granite. The eagle grips a laurel wreath over a wave--signifying the act of mourning at the watery grave.

The pedestal of the statue has this inscription.

Another memorial in Battery Park is The Immigrants.
Sculptor Luis Sanguino celebrates the diversity of New York City and the struggle of immigrants in this heroic-sized bronze figural group. The sculpture depicts figures of various ethnic groups and eras, including an Eastern European Jew, a freed African slave, a priest, and a worker. The figures’ expressive poses emphasize the struggle and toil inherent in the experience of the immigrant or dislocated person.

You can see Castle Clinton at the background. Here's another pic of the circular fort. It's very similar to Castle Williams in Governors Island although Castle Clinton is smaller and just a single story high.

Near The Immigrants monument is the Admiral George Dewey Memorial.  It is a plaque to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Manila Bay.

There's a grove of trees at the back of this memorial, the area is called the Bosque.  During summer, kids have the time of their lives playing by the
40–foot–wide granite spiral fountain. The fountain is shut off for the winter season but here's a pic I took last year.

There are still some memorials in Battery Park that I haven't visited but by then it was sunset time and the sky over New York harbor was beckoning.  It was a pretty sight in different hues of sunset colors.

I had to leave by then as I wanted to go see the Buckyball at night. It is the newest public art installed in Madison Square Park.
Villareal’s BUCKYBALL will feature two nested, geodesic sculptural spheres comprised of 180 LED tubes arranged in a series of pentagons and hexagons, known as a “Fullerene,” referring to the form’s discovery by Buckminster Fuller. Individual pixels located every 1.2 inches along the tubes are each capable of displaying 16 million distinct colors and will be specifically tuned by the artist’s own software, creating a subtle and sophisticated palette to enliven the Park.
Here are some colors of the Buckyball and a vid I took.

As I was leaving Madison Square Park, I saw the Empire State Building at a distance, shining in red, white and blue in commemoration of Veterans Day. It made the day more meaningful.

I'm glad I spent Veterans Day at Battery Park. It's a good place to reflect on the sacrifices of our troops and give thanks for their services to the country.

For the rest of my pics on Veterans Day at Battery Park, here's the album on Flickr.

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