3. The Failed Battery Tower

Battery Park City view of One World Trade

Just to the east of present-day Battery Park City, developers in the 1920s proposed a residential development called Battery Tower. The tower would have been the first completed hotel-apartment in the area and one of the tallest buildings in New York City. At the time, the Battery Park area was predominantly wealthy, with many colonial buildings and some tenements. The tower would have been an architectural feat for the neighborhood, offering 428 suites and 255 bachelor rooms. It would have stood 435 feet high, built entirely of brick and steel, and would have featured six floors for offices and shops. The building also would have had terraces facing the Hudson River and would have featured all sorts of luxury amenities.

A company called Downtown Homes, Inc. began construction on the building with a budget of $10 million in 1929. Over the course of a month, a number of four-story apartments were demolished to make way for the Battery Tower, with foundations installed a year earlier. However, the construction process was very difficult, given the many remnants of sunken docks and ships in the bedrock. Ultimately, the project was left unfinished, and about five decades later, construction on Battery Park City began where the tower would have stood.