Teardrop Park – Nature in the City

During a recent trip to lower Manhattan in NYC, I had the opportunity to visit Teardrop Park. This little urban oasis in the Battery Park City neighborhood is situated between several high-rise residential buildings. It includes natural play areas in its southern half, and lawns and walkways to the north.

Much of the park was designed to represent a northeast forest environment, with rock outcrops, rolling hills, and lush (mostly native) vegetation. One of its prominent features is a vertical wall of stacked bluestone, arranged to resemble natural rock strata. This design includes water seepage through a section of the wall, forming icicles in winter.

In the middle of the children’s play area, a long slide is anchored into a rocky hillside and terminates in a large sand area. Nearby, there is a small sand play area for pre-school children, in addition to a water play zone for kids of all ages. Children and adults alike can also explore a wetland play path, where I observed a number of birds during my visit.

The sloping lawns to the north of the play areas are pleasant spaces for relaxation, and include several seating areas along the perimeter. There are also some more isolated seating/gathering spots along paths throughout the park. Despite the secluded nature of those areas, I felt very safe while there.

I was at the park on a Tuesday morning, so it was not packed with visitors. I would imagine that it attracts a lot more users during weekends and summer evenings, especially residents of the surrounding high-rises. The park provides many opportunities for imaginative play for kids, and serves as a pleasant environment for all.


Hillside slide with rock steps and overlook


Pre-school sand play area


Water play area


Wildlife in the water play area – the robin and the littlest boy are color-coordinated!


A seating area above the water play zone


Rock wall resembling natural strata


Portal through the rock wall


South (back) side of the rock wall portal


People relaxing in one of the lawn areas


The northern-most lawn area slopes toward the south to take advantage of the sun.


A small nook for imaginative play at one end of the wetland path

Photos by Alice Webb

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3 thoughts on “Teardrop Park – Nature in the City

  1. What a really wonderful park. I wonder how much rock ledge was already there, and how many rocks were brought in. I remember my childhood north of the city and how I used to think of the protruding rock ledges as half buried dinosaurs. Your made some great photos, too.

  2. How much did it cost? How much benefit does it bring to the users of the park? How much benefit did it bring to the architect, the suppliers and the construction workers?

    1. I wasn’t involved with the design or construction of this park, so I really don’t have answers to those questions. That being said, it would be hard to quantify the benefits to park users, but having a beautiful park that re-creates nature in the middle of a dense urban setting would have a lot of psychological value for visitors. Being a landscape architect myself, I can tell you that the satisfaction in seeing one’s design brought to fruition and witnessing the enjoyment of users is a huge benefit for the designer.

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