A Day Out in New York's Lower Manhattan & The Financial District

by Stephanie Ogozalek
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Although the southernmost tip of Manhattan is home to the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street, the financial district is so much more than just banks and money. Three centuries ago this area was the birthplace of New York City, and today it is a fascinating mix of old and new. Important historic structures are found hidden among sky scraping towers of glass, and cobblestones pave the ancient streets. Families from around the block and around the world flock to this storied neighborhood to take advantage of the many cultural intuitions, fine eateries and the beautiful open space that is Battery Park and the New York Harbor.


Stephanie and her 5-year-old son, Sebastian

Why families love it:

A visit to Battery Park alone is worth the trip downtown. We can spend the whole day exploring the historic fort, monuments, street art, playgrounds, gardens and the sweeping views of the harbor. And that is just the park! Radiating out from this anchor are museums, dining and entertainment options and tons of New York and American history to discover, just footsteps away.

How to get there:

The best way to get around Manhattan is the subway, and this area is served by many lines. Since this area has two major outbound arteries there is always a lot of traffic. Street parking is scarce and garages are expensive. Take the 4 or 5 train downtown to the Bowling Green Station. The exit is across the street from the Staten Island Ferry and Battery Park. If you must drive take the FDR or Broadway south and then look for a parking lot that fits your budget.

Stephanie's Lower Manhattan/Financial District picks:

1. 85 Broad Street: Archeology Exhibit

85 Broad Street 
New York, NY 10004

This is totally cool — an archeology exhibit right out in the open and under your feet. A must see in lower Manhattan, the exhibit is outside on the plaza of 85 Broad Street, which sits smack dab in the middle of the original route of Stone Street. The building was built for Goldman Sachs and, during construction, the ancient walls of the circa 1667 Love Lace Tavern were unearthed. 

2. Battery Park/The Battery

Battery Place and State and Whitehall streets
New York, NY 10004

As New York City's front lawn, the 25-acre park is packed with things to see and do — plus, the many paths make it the perfect place for kids to run their energy out. This park was once much smaller, twice in the 19th century it was expanded with landfill to create this magnificent space. The views here are extraordinary, unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey. 

3. Adrienne's Pizza Bar

54 Stone Street
New York, NY 10004

The past meets the present on Stone Street, which has been restored to its 19th century appearance. Thanks to restaurants like Adrienne's Pizza Bar, and the many others who have opened in its historic buildings, modern day Stone Street is a foodies destination. 

4. The New York City Police Museum

100 Old Slip
New York, NY 10004

A great little museum dedicated to the history of NYC Finest: The Police Department. The museum is housed in the original 1st precinct police station — one of the city's first and in operation until 1973. Inside, you can still see how the police station may have looked thanks to the period architecture, old globe lights and enormous front doors. 

5. Staten Island Ferry

Whitehall Terminal 
New York, NY 10004

Since 1905 the orange and blue boats of the Staten Island Ferry fleet have been transporting New Yorkers across the 5 mile expanse of the harbor between Manhattan and Staten Island. The views of Manhattan are spectacular, plus there is the bustling harbor full of action not normally seen by land-lubbing New Yorkers.. 

Stephanie Ogozalek is a freelance writer who enjoys exploring the nooks and crannies of New York City with her husband and 5-year-old son.

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