By Julie Shapiro
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The white, pinwheel-shaped kiosk that appeared in front of the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in 2009 is finally opening this spring.
The New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion, a gift from the Dutch government in honor of the 400-year anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival to New York Harbor, will start serving food within the next few months, the Battery Conservancy said last week.
Merchants Hospitality, the popular downtown restaurant group that also runs Merchants NY, Steamers Landing and Pound & Pence, will offer a healthy, eco-friendly menu for the millions of people who pass through Battery Park each year, the conservancy said.
"We’re very excited," said Pat Kirshner, director of operations and planning for the Battery Conservancy.
Called Battery Bistro, the restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. Planned menu items include butternut squash soup, a chicken fajita wrap with Cajun seasoning and a seared-tuna salad with toasted almonds and mandarin oranges. Most dishes will cost $10 or less.
The bistro also plans to serve a range of craft beers and organic wines. Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee unanimously supported the liquor license application last week.
The stone-paved plaza outside the pavilion, called a "plein" in Dutch, will have 200 seats. Inside, the Downtown Alliance will provide visitor information.
Designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel, of UNStudio, the $2.3 million, 5,000-square-foot pavilion anchors downtown’s new Peter Minuit Plaza, which includes new subway entrances, a bus stop and landscaping. As a reference to Dutch merchant Minuit’s name, which means “midnight,” the exterior of the pavilion will be imbued with a different color of light each evening.
New York and Dutch officials dedicated the pavilion in September 2009 and it was supposed to open the following spring, but the construction was delayed.
Emily Jaffe, who does legal work for Merchants Hospitality, said it is too soon to pinpoint exactly when the pavilion will open, but it will definitely be this spring.
"We want to get it up and running as soon as possible," she said.