2. An Anti-Nuclear Rally Took Place Atop the Battery Park City Landfill

Battery Park City view

Around the 1950s, downtown Manhattan had lost much of its shipping industry to Port Elizabeth, which freed up waterfront land for other developments. In 1968, the Battery Park City Authority was created to revitalize the area. The Authority settled on a proposal to construct a new neighborhood on top of landfill. This material was taken from the World Trade Center‘s construction nearby. After the area’s many abandoned piers were removed, the space was filled with sand and then covered with landfill.

The landfill was completed by 1976, with construction efforts paused amid the city’s 1977 financial crisis. Before construction began on the neighborhood’s first residential building in 1980, an anti-nuclear power rally was held at the site. This rally in September 1979 drew a crowd of nearly 200,000 and was the largest anti-nuke rally in the city at that point in time. That record was broken by a rally in Central Park in 1982 that drew an estimated 1 million protesters. The 6-hour Battery Park rally occurred after four nights of benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden featuring acts like Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, and Grahm Nash – founding members of Musicians United For Safe Energy (MUSE), an organization that formed after the Three Mile Island disaster. Construction on the World Financial Center, as well as hundreds of residential units, began in 1981.