Battery Parking Garage Made History When Built

Battery Park Garage circa 1950
Battery Park Garage circa 1950

The Battery Parking Garage is a distinctive building with its name emblazoned in large letters on the side, looming over Greenwich Street.  When it opened in 1950 it made history as the first parking garage in the city to be built by a public agency.  Robert Moses, always a supporter of infrastructure for automobiles and parking, wrote that such facilities “can help immensely in serving local needs and in keeping the clutter of traffic off the busy City streets.”

Impressive as the rounded concrete structure was, its 1,050 spaces were almost immediately filled by monthly leaseholders, commuters using the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, and tourists looking for a convenient place to leave their cars while sightseeing.   In the words of one local tour boat operator, ”Over the years I have personally seen thousands of cars with four to six children arriving at the Battery to visit the Statue of Liberty National Monument but could not make the visit because there was no place to park.”  Clearly the existing Battery Parking Garage was not meeting demands.

The idea to add additional space to the Parking Garage was floated in 1964 and quickly gained momentum.  Ground was broken for an annex on December 17, 1965, and the garage continued to operate through construction.  When the new portion of the facility opened on February 1, 1968, the change was dramatic.  The building had a startling new arm jutting out over the air space of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.  The garage’s capacity more than doubled, to 2,126 spaces. The cost to park a car for the day in 1965 was capped at $1.75.

Today both portions of the garage continue to operate as a unit. It is managed for MTA Bridges and Tunnels by Laz Parking.

The parking garage is also a popular location for film shoots, including the current CBS television show “Person of Interest,” which has shot two different episodes there.