One may not associate Battery Park with art, especially when Chelsea and Soho boast a variety of galleries and exhibition spaces. However, Lower Manhattan can be considered an art lover’s paradise, you just to know where to look. Follow along as we take an art walk through Battery Park along the Hudson River, checking out sights all within a few blocks of our Hudson River hotel. Go ahead, get your culture on.
Your downtown art tour starts near City Hall with the “5-in-1” sculpture by Tony Rosenthal. This red steel mass stands at 35 feet tall and features five interlocking discs that represent the five boroughs coming together as one city. Next, head south until you reach Louise Nevelson Plaza, which features seven black sculptures by Ms. Nevelson, an artist who worked for over 60 years in New York and once said the city was one giant sculpture. Her piece, “Shadows and Flags” references seven pieces grouped together as a singular unit and alludes to the wafting flags, ceremonious spirals, and blooming trees that define the New York City landscape.
Continue on the tour by heading South on Liberty Street until you find four trees titled “Sunken Garden” by Isamu Noguchi. This sunken garden is surrounded by glass windows. In the winter, it is a dry circular expanse, while in warmer months, it becomes a water fountain. “Sunken Garden” is not the only Noguchi in Lower Manhattan. His most well-known work is just a few blocks away in front of 140 Broadway. “Red Cube” is bright, red-painted steel structure that sits, juxtaposed, with the buildings around it. Many critics say the piece is emblematic of Lower Manhattan and of Noguchi as an artist.
Across from Red Cube, Mark di Suvero’s “Joie de Vivre’ juts 70 feet into the air. Originally installed near the Holland Tunnel rotary, “Joie de Vivre” was moved to Zuccotti Park in 2006 and was made famous during the notorious Occupy Wall Street protests. Continuing north along the waterfront, you’ll come across The Real World by Tom Otterness. This group of small bronze works is playful in spirit, as Otterness’ signature cartoon figures portray animals, people, bankers, robbers, pilgrims and various types of prey. A perfect place to end your Battery Park art tour is 7 World Trade Center, home of the famed “Balloon Flower” by Jeff Koons. The polished red stainless steel work is emblematic of Koons’ aesthetic and was placed in the park as an homage to the survivors of the September 11 attacks. “Balloon Flower” encourages reflection, where passerby’s can view the piece and then their own image back at them.