Do you ever have trouble making up your mind about where to eat? If so, let me suggest Battery Gardens as an exceptional and often forgotten location in Lower Manhattan. Nestled within Battery Park, across from 17 State Street, this waterfront facility has amazing views of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, and Ellis Island.
As a 17-year-old High School Student, I don’t normally expect royal treatment when I walk into an upscale eating establishment. But the way they treated my friends and me — like we belonged right beside all of the brokers, consultants and international tourists — made us feel right at home.
The menu leans toward nouveau American with a tendency towards seafood. For an appetizer I had the Spinach and Gnocchi Soup, which had artichokes, lemon and grilled chicken. My entree was a Cheese Steak Pizza, cooked in a wood oven, and covered in peppers, onions, american cheese, shaved steak, and ketchup. Sounds a bit strange, but it was AMAZING.
There’s nothing quite like being in the middle of such a lively downtown community, full of “hustle and bustle” but finding in the middle of it an oasis like Battery Gardens. As I sat, talking and joking with my friends, I caught sight of the Statue of Liberty across the harbor. It was a moving moment. I began thinking about all those people, fighting for their freedom. I imagined the hordes of crowded immigrants suddenly seeing the statue appear in the distance, and the hope it inspired as they came to these shores in search of a better opportunity. Lower Manhattan was a different place then, but it certainly still inspires the imaginations of people across the globe.
We paid our check and re-wrapped ourselves in coats, scarves and other winter sundries. Soon we were going our separate ways, throwing ourselves back into the chaos of the Manhattan sidewalks. But as we each broke off to our separate internships, classes and part-time jobs I couldn’t help thinking that we’d all be back soon, seeking the Battery Gardens, our little port in the storm.