A Dutch fort, a British settlement, an old fire boat station, a vista point for Liberty Island, an old castle, a memorial to September 11 – well of course New York has had a storied history but did you know you can see it all for free at Battery Park?
Next to the waterfront are war memorials, from the Second World War until now. Closer to the street sides are historical markers from the Dutch and British settlements that marked the birth of New York City. Scattered in the middle of the park are hot dog stands, human statues, kids playing in the fountains and playgrounds, tourists, vendors hocking anything from matryoshka dolls to caricature portraits of celebrities.
There’s also ferry service to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty from there, but be sure to get tickets ahead of time and get ready for three lines of security checkpoints. (Good thing film under 1600 ISO is A-OK for x-ray machines!) Around the corner is the Old US Customs House, now used as the Museum of the American Indian, and water taxis to other piers in Manhattan. For a truly free experience, check out the Governor’s Island Ferry or the Staten Island Ferry, making your cruise around the rivers accessible and truly affordable.