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What is the Hidden Elevated Acre in New York City?

When you visit New York City, you may want to see a Broadway show, take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, and enjoy stunning views from the Empire State Building. Perhaps you’ll visit one of the many museums or art galleries.

Many tourists enjoy the shopping and dining experiences of this metropolis. But have you heard of the Elevated Acre? 

What you may not expect amid Times Square, the Flatiron District, and Lexington Avenue is a quiet green space that refuels your soul. Can New York City have such a hidden oasis?

We’ll learn more about the Elevated Acre on Water Street in Manhattan’s Financial District. Let’s get started!

What is the Hidden Elevated Acre in New York City?

The Elevated Acre is a one-acre garden and green space 30 feet above the city streets of bustling Manhattan. An oasis in “The City That Never Sleeps,” few people know the Elevated Acre exists. It features a lawn, a seven-tiered amphitheater, a summer beer garden, a winding Brazilian hardwood boardwalk, and views of the East River, Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Bridge. This one-acre park is a place of solitude and relaxation.

Ken Smith and Rogers Marvel Architects completed the design in 2005. Now Marvel Architects and Rogers Partners also designed Bronx’s Mill Pond Park, Washington DC’s Constitution Gardens, and rehabilitated McCarren Park Pool in Greenpoint.

They transformed the barren deck between two skyscrapers into a beautiful, lush public park. People sit on benches to read, people watch, or enjoy the panoramic views.

For those New Yorkers who know about its existence, the Elevated Acre is a popular place for a lunch break to get away from the honking taxis and crowded sidewalks of the Financial District. There is also a restaurant on the property.

Busy city street in NYC
Escape the hustle and bustle of NYC in exchange for the tranquil space of the Elevated Acre.

How Do You Get Into Elevated Acres? 

An escalator at 55 Water Street will take you to the hidden meadow. It’s above a parking garage in the Financial District, between two office buildings. Water Street is on the park’s northwest side, and FDR Drive is on the southwest side.

It’s easy to pass the plaza with the escalator without realizing it’s the entrance to this hidden oasis. However, a small plaque is on a concrete planter in the middle of a set of stairs between two escalators. It reads “The Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street.” Take the stairs or the escalator to escape the overcrowded streets and annoying noise of Manhattan.

Pro Tip: Want to see all of the sites in NYC? Before you start your tour, check out these 5 Reasons to Avoid Times Square in New York City.

Can You Rent the Elevated Acre? 

The public can visit the Elevated Acre daily from 7 am to 10 pm May 1 to September 30 and 8 am to 8 pm October 1 to April 30.

However, depending on events happening in the green space, these hours can change. Occasionally, outdoor movies show at the Elevated Acre. Weddings also occur here. If you’d like to rent the area, it’s around $5,000.

What Companies Are at 55 Water Street NYC?

The 55 Water Street building is the largest office building in New York City at nearly four million square feet. Companies like S&P Global, Legg Mason, Gfi Securities, Citi Corp Securities, and Justworks have office space here.

Amenities for companies who lease or own office space at 55 Water include an on-site cafe, a shoe shine, bike parking, car parking, Martin’s News Shop, and easy access to the Elevated Acre.

View of NYC skyline from the top of a skyscraper
See the city from the sky in the Elevated Acre.

Are There Other Elevated Parks in NYC?

Another elevated park in New York City is the High Line, a public park on a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure. The park runs from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street on Manhattan’s West Side. The rail track was due for demolishment, so the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and neighborhood residents stepped in to create a public space full of nature, art, and design. The first section opened in June 2009, and additional sections opened in 2011, 2014, and 2019.

This elevated park features balconies, sitting areas, water features, dense shrubbery, foliage, and more. The High Line also has an amphitheater for performances and provides access to an open-air food court from April to October.

Its hours vary by season. From October 1 to November 30 and from April 1 to May 31, the park is open from 7 am to 10 pm. During the winter months of December 1 to March 31, it’s open from 7 am to 7 pm. From June 1 to September 30, visitors can enjoy the High Line from 7 am to 11 pm.

If you’d like a tour of the High Line, private tours are available by request with at least three weeks’ reservation. Free docent-led public tours are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from May to October and Wednesdays and Saturdays from November to April.

Green walking space in NYC
Ditch the concrete city and enjoy some time in greenery while walking through the Elevated Acre.

What Is NYC Known for?

When you think of New York City, the last thing that comes to mind is tranquility and solitude. Instead, images of bumper-to-bumper automobile traffic, shoulder-to-shoulder foot traffic, business people walking briskly while talking on their cell phones, and towering skyscrapers are probably the first things you consider. New York City has earned the nickname “The City That Never Sleeps” for a reason.

Pro Tip: Before you pitch your tent in Central Park, find out Is Camping in Central Park Okay?

Is the Elevated Acre Worth Seeking Out?

For folks who work in New York City near the Financial District, it’s worth grabbing lunch from a street vendor and heading up the stairs at 55 Water Street to enjoy the solitude of the Elevated Acre. A visit will clear your mind and breathe new life into your being. Endless phone calls, emails, and meetings can burden employees. Take a break and enjoy the tranquility of this unique green space.

If you’re visiting New York, the Elevated Acre is an excellent place to escape the noise of Manhattan. Plan on eating lunch at Sky55, or pack a picnic and enjoy the panoramic views of the skyline and East River. It will do good to rest your soul.

Have you ever heard of the Elevated Acre? Tell us if you would visit it in the comments!

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