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Battery Park City - Manhattan

Call it Oz. Battery Park City is a planned community built in 1979 in the heart of the Financial District. It's situated on 23 acres of land and the neighborhood can either be described as quiet and peaceful or boring and dead, depending on how you look at it.

Because this area is so new, if you live here you'll probably live in a tall, shiny new building, most of which come with balconies and on-site laundry and gym facilities. Some even come with video rental and convenience stores, great for those who don't want to venture too far from home (or leave at all). Everything here is well maintained and perfectly manicured, with tons of sweeping views of the Hudson, which borders Battery Park City on the west; great for keeping cool in the summer, although you may regret that luxury come winter when sharp winds whip up from the river.

The largest development ever constructed in New York City, Battery Park City was actually built on a landfill from the construction of the World Trade Center in the late 1970s and is located just blocks away from the World Trade Center tragedy. There is tons of land and park area to walk your dog, stroll with your kids or go for a job along the Esplanade, while taking in the views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Although there were plans to continue to build more high-rise condos, the destruction of the World Trade Center may have tampered those plans, at least temporarily. Only time will tell the direct effects. But then again, the area is so desperate to entice new residents, just as those who have been traumatized by the 9/11 attacks are fleeing, that you might find an incredible deal on one of those condos.

This is an excellent landing spot for New Yorkers who are tired of the city's constant stimulation and activity. There's not a lot going on here, but it's a great area to feel like when you go home you've really gotten away from it all. In fact, it's quite easy to forget you're even in Manhattan—a good or bad thing, depending on what you're looking for.

Despite all the conveniences offered here, there isn't much of a community feel—neighbors don't tend to look after each as they do in, say, Greenwich Village. Most people go to work, come home and keep to themselves. Also, the newness of the slightly uncreative condos gives Battery Park City a bit of a tract home feel in Anywhere, U.S.A.—individualism isn't exactly encouraged. There also isn't much dining right around here, and even less shopping since the best and most upscale shops were in the World Trade Center and are now sadly gone. But don't let these things discourage you—this is an excellent place to raise a family, as a few have already figured that out.

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