When Angela Kostelecky and her husband were moving out of the District 20 years ago, they had a simple rule for their new community: nothing that felt like suburbia.
Then they found Battery Park, just northwest of downtown Bethesda, and they knew they’d succeeded.
“We wanted a place that felt very urban, and we joked that Battery Park actually felt more urban than Glover Park, where we’d just moved from in D.C.,” said Kostelecky, 54, an architect.
Battery Park offered the ability to walk to restaurants, shops, Metro, the Capital Crescent Trail and a slew of other amenities. The Kosteleckys moved in January 1997.
Smaller homes remain: Retired Maj. Henry Maddux and Gen. Richard Marshall developed the triangular neighborhood shortly after World War I. They advertised their subdivision, named Battery Park, in military journals to attract service members and veterans, according to William Offutt, author of “Bethesda: A Social History.”
The neighborhood, composed of roughly 200 Colonials, Cape Cods and bungalows, among other housing styles, was the childhood home of Nancy Reagan, said Jenny Chung, a real estate agent with Real Living At Home who has lived in Battery Park for 10 years.
Chung said the neighborhood has retained a sense of its original character thanks to the fact that tear-downs aren’t as rampant as they are in other neighborhoods nearby.
“While there are tear-downs happening, we are not inundated with McMansions,” says Chung, 44. “All the renovations you see here seem to be in keeping with the other homes in the neighborhood. For the most part, the integrity of homes has remained.”
That could be because the neighborhood’s lots are often smaller than those in nearby communities, Kostelecky said, meaning that if residents did tear down their current homes, zoning codes might allow only smaller homes to be built in their place.
Andy Hasselwander, who moved to Battery Park in 2008, said its smaller houses on quarter-acre lots create a down-to-earth feel in the neighborhood when compared with others nearby, such as adjacent Edgemoor.
“We joke that Battery Park is similar to Edgemoor but with smaller houses and not as fancy,” said Hasselwander, 41, who works in market research and is the president of the Battery Park Citizens’ Association.
Walkable: Battery Park’s proximity to downtown Bethesda serves as a major selling feature, Chung said.
“Being able to walk to downtown Bethesda and the Metro is a huge draw for people,” Chung said.
Kids can walk to nearby Bethesda Elementary School, where there’s a farmers market every weekend. Other amenities within walking distance include movie theaters, grocery stores, a hardware store and other basic goods.
“My husband and I got up on Sunday and returned a tuxedo, went to breakfast and picked up some wine, all walking,” Kostelecky said. “How many places let you do that from your front door? Not too many.”
Hasselwander said the fact that most residents walk where they need to go lends to the sense of community.
“Pretty much everyone I know walks to Metro or to work in the morning,” Hasselwander said. “And pretty much every night on my way home from work, I end up stopping to talk to someone else I see walking. It’s not a hermetically sealed place where you never see anybody.”
Community events: Residents also gather at a variety of events sponsored by the Citizens’ Association.
The association’s budget comes from a small surtax — a few pennies on every $100 — on residents’ property taxes, Hasselwander said. That pays for upkeep of a clubhouse and tennis courts available to all residents, and for community social events.
Planned events include a chicken and rib festival every June, parades for kids on the Fourth of July and Halloween, and adult-only parties throughout the year.
Kostelecky said the clubhouse is an asset for residents, who can book it to host private events.
“I’ve known people to do holiday dinners or birthday parties at the clubhouse if their house is too small,” Kostelecky said.
Noise and traffic: Being close to a thriving and growing business district has its downsides, such as the potential for commercial encroachment, Kostelecky said.
“We’re impacted by a lot of construction noise and traffic,” Kostelecky said. “It’s good, because we need and value the commercial part of downtown, but it’s bad when we feel like it’s coming up to the borders of our properties.”
Being close to downtown Bethesda also means traffic and parking woes, Hasselwander said.
“Like many neighborhoods nearby, there are a lot of people who illegally cut through our neighborhood, and there’s a lot of traffic in general,” Hasselwander said. “If you’re going to live as close as we do to downtown Bethesda, it kind of comes with the territory.”
Living there: Battery Park is bordered by Old Georgetown Road on the northeast, Wilson Lane on the south and Maple Ridge Road on the west.
In the past 12 months, nine houses have sold in Battery Park, from a 1,925-square-foot, three-bedroom rambler for $955,000 to a newly constructed five-bedroom Colonial for $1.695 million, Chung said. Two houses are on the market: a five-bedroom, six-bathroom Colonial for $1.2 million and a six-bedroom, seven-bathroom Arts and Crafts home for $2.45 million.
Schools: Most neighborhood children are zoned to attend Bethesda or Bradley Hills Elementary; Thomas W. Pyle or Westland Middle; and Whitman or Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
Transit: The Bethesda Metro station (Red Line) is close by. There are multiple bus lines, including 29 and 32.
Crime: In the past 12 months, there were eight assaults and no homicides or robberies in Battery Park, according to Montgomery County police.
To see more photos of Battery Park, go to washingtonpost.com/realestate