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March 24, 2020

History Lesson: A Closer Look at Elevated Acre

bird's eye view of a rooftop garden

One of the city’s most secluded garden oases: Elevated Acre, is located just a ten-minute walk from The Wagner, one of the top five star hotels in New York. This small, peaceful green space is among New York’s best-kept secrets. Though it covers just one acre of land, its downtown and elevated positioning awards it with stunning views of the New York Harbor and Brooklyn Bridge.

Nestled between two office buildings at 55 Water Street, one would expect this tranquil space to be crowded with tourists and downtown office workers alike. Surprisingly, the tiny park’s unconventional location has managed to keep its existence well under wraps. Whether you visit during a weekday or weekend, this lush public space is sure to feel refreshingly quiet and peaceful.

To find this verdant hideaway, visitors can use a well-hidden escalator to reach the top of the park’s entrance. But be warned—if you lose your way, workers from the neighboring office building aren’t likely to know how to reach the garden—it’s that secret. Once you arrive, you’ll find wooden pathways surrounded by greenery, benches for relaxing or chatting with friends, unbeatable views of the harbor, and a manicured lawn with amphitheater-style seating that sometimes plays host to events and concerts.worm's eye view of the World trade center

The park was re-designed in 2005 by Roger Marvel Architects, the designers behind other beloved public spaces such as Mill Pond Park in the Bronx and Constitution Gardens in Washington DC. However, the small park’s history goes back even further. In fact, the space was originally completed in the early 1970s after construction next-door was finished to increase the overall building height. According to city zoning regulations for skyscrapers that passed in 1961, developers could add an additional six and a half stories to a building’s height if they included a public plaza as part of the development on the property. This commitment to public spaces paved the way for this small but beautiful green park to be an integral part of the downtown landscape for years to come.