55 Water Street - The Elevated Acre

New York City, New York (NY)

55 Water Street is an officious-looking financial district towerblock with a delightful secret - the elevated acre, an NYC garden hidden high above the bustling city streets.

- © Allison Meier

55 Water Street New York NYC 10041 - A Secret Garden

Keep your eyes peeled as you walk past the concrete bulk of downtown Manhattan's 55 Water Street and you'll notice a discrete elevator tucked beneath a thick glass skywalk. Head on up, you'll be amazed what you might find!

This is the entrance to the Elevated Acre, one of NYC's most surprising gardens. Way above street level is a pristine lawn, an outdoor amphitheater, Brazilian hardwood paths, a beer garden and panoramic views straight over the busy FDR Drive and across the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and New York Harbor. An urban oasis.

On top of this, arrive on the right day and you might be treated to a film or a dance performance, the acre being one of the hosts of New York City's River to River Festival. It is also the site of an ice rink in the winter and many wedding receptions in the summer months. Even on the most ordinary days however the garden offers a welcome escape from the madness of the city below. It's the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or a good book without having to travel uptown or to the often jam-packed Battery Park.

- © The Machine Stops

A Brief History of 55 Water Street

Where did this New York City hidden gem come from? Its story, perhaps surpisingly, is one of zoning regulations. In 1961 a new policy was introduced allowing developers to add extra storeys onto buildings on one condition: some of the space created be devoted for a public plaza. 55 Water Street was extended and a public plaza was made, the Elevated Acre.

Or, at least, its predecessor. The charming finacial district garden as we now know it wasn't actually created until 2005. Before this it was a barren landscape of red brick tiles. In the early 2000s, however, landscape architects Rogers Marvel and Ken Smith won a contract to redesign the area and the elevated plaza as we know it today was born.

- © Manuel Ortiz

Visiting The Elevated Acre

55 Water Street is a 5 minute walk from South Ferry Underground Station in Battery Park, and Wall Street / William St Station in the heart of Manhattan's financial district. It can also be reached by the M15, SIM5, SIM15 and SIM35 bus services, getting off at the Water Street / Hanover Square stop.

The building is on the riverside side of the road. The Elevated Acre, at the top of its escalators, can be identified by the shimmering LEDs of the plaza's beacon tower above. It is accessible to all via the elevators in the building's lobby.

There is also a restaurant and bar that opens onto the plaza, Sky55. It is open between 11.30-15.00 and 16.00-21.00 on week days and all day on weekends. On weekdays it has a happy hour between 16.00-19.00.

Elevated Acre Opening Hours:

7am-10pm daily from May 1st - September 30th

8am-8pm daily from October 1st -April 30th

Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our NYC Scavenger Hunts - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of NYC.


What you need to know

55 Water Street - The Elevated Acre
55 Water St, Manhattan, NY, USA
Tips before you visit