Yesterday we spent the day exploring an art exhibit, feeding ducks, spinning around in a playground, strolling through a sculpture park and climbing a jungle gym as tall as a skyscraper all within a one mile radius in the Battery Park City neighborhood of NYC. It happened to be a brisk, sunny, fall day – perfect weather for adventuring.
Our day began by checking out the Canstruction® exhibit. Canstruction® is an international charity competition where architects, engineers, contractors and students compete to design and build giant structures made from full cans of food. At the end of the competition all of the food from the NYC competition is donated to City Harvest. We figured it was a the perfect blend of art and charity, ideal for sharing with our 4 year old daughter. We met up with a few friends at Brookfield Place, a mall within the World Financial Center. The can sculptures were displayed throughout the mall and I’m pretty sure Brooklyn enjoyed this version of ‘hide and seek’, as much as taking in the impressiveness of the creations. Many of the sculptures are arranged around the Winter Garden Atrium which was also really beautiful to see. There was one sculpture being constructed as we watched, and our group 3-4 year olds sat for about 10 minutes! That’s a rare thing for my kid, so it must have really struck a nerve. (She’ll be getting lots of cans for Christmas). We all enjoyed ourselves and the vibe of Battery Park City is very different than the part of the city we live in.
Exhibit Location: Street and Lobby Levels of 250 Vesey Street at Brookfield Place, New York, NY 10281 Times: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., except November 16, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
From there we ventured outside to the promenade, North Cove Yacht Harbor, overlooking the Hudson River. We took in the views of Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, yachts and sailboats. We headed North to Nelson A. Rockefeller Park. Where the kids fed ducks in a pond and got silly in the playground, spinning themselves into oblivion.
At this point our friends who joined us peeled off, but our daughter, like the Energizer bunny, never tires. We continued on and walked further north to a sculpture garden I’ve been visiting for over a decade. I have always called it Penny Park, but it’s really called ‘The Real World.’ The artist, Tom Otterness, has a nice size collection of bronze sculptures here and it’s become one of New York’s most popular public art spots. The magic of these bronze sculptures is the varying messages it sends. For kids it’s mix of human and animal characters has a fairy-tale feel. Also the sculptures are made for climbing and interacting (unlike Storm King, click to read our experience there). For adults you may see the artists view of the financial world. Regardless they are cherishable sculptures and one of my favorites slices of public art in the city.
We continued walking north a few more blocks along the water until we hit Pier 25, which is technically the neighborhood of Tribeca. Pier 25 is the longest pier in Hudson River Park and pretty much offers it all. It has a skate park, mini golf, sand volleyball, an awesome children’s playground with tons of climbing structures, docks with boat access and a large artificial lawn. We enjoyed the playground’s rock climbing wall, boulders and jungle gym. Before leaving the park we visited their very clean public restrooms, then crossed the West Side Highway and found our train – just a few blocks away. At this point Brooklyn was sufficiently exhausted, as were we.
We enjoyed our park hopping down in Battery Park City so much we plan to make another day of it very soon, next time venturing further South.