Lower Manhattan’s inventory of uplifting public spaces will increase by one today at 11:45 am, when the new Liberty Park is dedicated and opened. The elevated, one-acre green space (bordered by Liberty, West, Cedar and Greenwich Streets) will connect Battery Park City with the World Trade Center site and the Financial District, spanning a 300-foot rectangle that begins at the eastern end of the Liberty Street pedestrian bridge and reaches to Greenwich Street. Resting on top of two structures still being constructed at the southern edge of the World Trade Center site (the Vehicular Security Center and Tour Bus Parking Facility), it will afford views of the Memorial Plaza from approximately 25 feet in the air.
The “Living Wall” is a vertical garden of more than 22,000 plants, embedded in the bulwark that separates Liberty Park from the World Trade Center plaza.
On its northern edge, the park is flanked by a “living wall” — a kind of vertical garden that includes more than 800 panels filled more than 22,000 flowering plants, from half a dozen separate species. The elevated deck of the park is punctuated with 19 planters containing trees, shrubs, and perennials. Among the trees is a sapling grown from a horse chestnut tree that grew outside the Netherlands home of Anne Frank. The design is accented by elements such as recycled teak for benches and guard rails.
An architect’s rendering of Liberty Park, looking west,
toward Battery Park City.
The park will also be home to several pieces of distinguished art and architecture. Now taking shape at its eastern end is the new Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas, which is now being constructed nearby. The church, designed by Santiago Calatrava (who also created the nearby Oculus for the World Trade Center transportation hub) is a replacement for a historic structure that was destroyed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It is expected to open in 2018.
A rendering of the eastern end of Liberty Park, with Greenwich Street visible in the foreground, and St. Nicholas Church (now under construction) shown in the upper right.
The Port Authority (which built Liberty Park, at a cost of $50 million) has also decided to ensconce there the “America’s Response Monument,” a 2011 bronze sculpture by artist Douwe Blumberg that depicts a U.S. Special Forces soldier on horseback in Afghanistan.
Fritz Keonig’s “The Sphere”
A second piece, with a more storied pedigree, may also yet find a home in Liberty Park. “The Sphere,” a 1971 metallic orb by sculptor Fritz Koenig that was once located on the plaza between the towers of the original World Trade Center, is being considered for a spot within Liberty Park. Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the damaged 25-foot-tall globe was moved (as a temporary measure) to the Battery, where it has stood ever since. In 2012, it was briefly considered for a spot on the Memorial Plaza of the new World Trade Center complex, but the National September 11 Memorial & Museum vetoed this proposal. The Port Authority is now considering whether space can be found for the piece in Liberty Park.
After today’s dedication ceremony, Liberty Park will be open to the public from 6:00 am through 11:00 pm daily.