Amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City, it can be tough to find a place to sit and relax. As it turns out, Manhattan’s financial district has the perfect oasis: a secret park lifted 40 feet above the city’s surface streets.
The park, which is known as the Elevated Acre, features a sprawling meadow with elegantly designed gardens, a lawn for picnics, an amphitheater, a summer beer garden, tables and chairs spread out along winding paths of Brazilian hardwood, and stunning views of the Manhattan Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the East River.
Tucked between two office buildings at 55 Water Street, Emery Roth and Sons constructed the Elevated Acre in the early 1970s after new zoning regulations stipulated that skyscrapers could add additional stories if they had a public plaza on site. The space sat as a concrete plaza until 2005 when Ken Smith and Rogers Marvel Architects overhauled the Elevated Acre, transforming it into the serene park space it is today.
The park plays host to outdoor movies, live music, dance performances, and even the occasional wedding. But most often, it serves as a quiet space for commuters looking to eat their lunch.
The entrance to the Elevated Acre can be tricky to find. There’s an escalator at 55 Water Street set back from the sidewalk that leads to the park. From May to September, the Elevated Acre is usually open to the public from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and then 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. October through April. But these hours can change based on events happening at the park.