Tucked between two office buildings at 55 Water Street is a hard-to-find escalator which whisks you up to The Elevated Acre. Don’t be daunted though, this transformed public plaza well worth the hunt.

The Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street was actually completed in the early 1970s. After new zoning regulations for skyscrapers were passed in 1961, developers could add an additional six and a half stories to a building’s height if it included a public plaza on the property. So, while this outdoor space was always there, the current design was just completed in 2005 by Rogers Marvel Architects, designers of other public spaces including Bronx’s Mill Pond Park, Washington DC’s Constitution Gardens, and Jersey City’s Berry Lane Park. The firm won an international competition to transform this one acre from a barren deck to a vibrant public park which hosts numerous programs – outdoor movies, weddings, and dance performances as part of the River to River Festival. For most though, the Elevated Acre remains a favorite lunch spot for weekday commuters.

The Elevated Acre has a seven-tiered amphitheater surrounding the lawn, a Brazilian hardwood boardwalk which stands 30 feet above the East River, views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges as well as the Brooklyn waterfront. A tower, which can be illuminated by programmable LED lights, beacons visitors from the FDR Drive and from the harbor.

It is easy to find a bench or chair among the gardens to quietly read a book, reflect on your day, or people watch. Who would expect to find this little oasis of gardens, panoramic views, leisure and relaxation snug right in the middle of the Financial District?

Next, check out 13 other pocket parks in NYC.

8 thoughts on “NYC Financial District’s Secret Plaza: The Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street

  1. Beautifully written!

    Wow, that is some place. Just what everyone needs ~ a little slice of heaven in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the city.


  2. If I were ever in the city, I would want to visit here. Your description and photos brings it to life and makes it so attractive!

  3. Marianne my friend you are full of surprises! Being avid follower of Golden Finn and Charley’s escapades for quite some time, i eagerly read about them. Your love for them is in every single word you write. Your Park day for all of us highlighted your love enjoying the outdoors.

    Thank you for this wonderful article on lovely outdoor spaces for humans to unwind and refuel! I had no idea about the elevated acres in and around your beautiful city!
    Bravo and keep on writing…I have you bookmarked
    Cecilia and Madi

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