A Sense of History
The glass and steel skyscrapers of the Financial District, or FiDi, proclaim the might of the nation’s financial markets. Situated on the narrow southernmost tip of Manhattan, it is also where settlers first disembarked in the 17th century and built low solid brick buildings along cobblestone streets; all beautifully maintained over the years. It’s this juxtaposition that charges the energy of this neighborhood; each is more spectacular next to the other. By day, the area is bustling with activity. At night and on the weekends, it’s a quieter, peaceful seaside oasis.
One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the U.S., proudly anchors this neighborhood. Its thoughtfully designed observatory offers stunning views and an incredible ride up in the elevator. Powerful and moving, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum occupies the exact location of the towers that fell. Designed by Santiago Calatrava to resemble a bird being released from a child’s hand, the award winning Oculus is an impressive modern transportation hub. The new WTC also boasts a performing arts center and plenty of retail space. The imposing 1903 neoclassical façade of the New York Stock Exchange is just a few blocks away.
At the South Street Seaport on the East River, historic sailing vessels are docked in the harbor, the merchants at the indoor Fulton Stall Market hawk their farm fresh produce, and the shops on Schermerhorn Row, built in the early 1800s, give the feel of having stepped back in time. The pier that juts out from here offers the perfect view of the famous Brooklyn Bridge. Plans underway to transform Pier 17 include a public open space with outdoor summer concerts and films as well as a glass enclosed retail space. Stone Street, a charming old brick-and-mortar block in the heart of the neighborhood, explodes with life from happy hour into the wee hours with bars and restaurants of every variety and a hidden picnic table-lined cobblestone back alley that links them all.
Parks and Rec
At the confluence of the East and Hudson Rivers, this neighborhood is awash in waterfront parks, with vistas of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and much more. Bike paths continue all the way up the entire west side of Manhattan to the George Washington Bridge. During the summer, a ferry transports New Yorkers to Governor’s Island, a walking and biking only park of artistic landscaping right in New York Harbor. The island also hosts concerts and other events.
As with Battery Park City right next door, because FiDi is a bit removed, new and converted high-rise buildings with all the amenities offer a more affordable option compared with other neighborhoods in the city. Walk-ups in older buildings offer even more attractive pricing. FiDi appeals not only to people who work in finance, but also to families looking for more space for their money.
The Financial District is the most convenient neighborhood for getting anywhere else in the city. Almost every subway line goes here, including most express trains. In addition, the neighborhood is served by the NY Waterway Ferry, Staten Island Ferry, and the PATH. The architecturally lauded Fulton Center and Oculus transportation hub are a pleasure to walk through, and a destination in their own right.