travel

New York - Around Town : Lower Manhattan (part 1)

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Old and new New York meet at the tip of the island. The city was born here under Dutch rule and became the nation’s first capital after the Revolutionary War (1775–83). At the intersection of Broad and Wall streets are the Federal Hall National Memorial, marking the site where George Washington was sworn in as president in 1789, and the New York Stock Exchange, the financial giant founded in 1817, whose influence is felt worldwide. The 20th-century skyscraper era added drama to the skyline. The 2001 leveling of the World Trade Center towers damaged but certainly did not destroy lower Manhattan. Historic buildings, exciting architecture, outdoor sculptures, and waterfront promenades remain unscathed. Numerous museums and galleries add to the area’s appeal.

George Washington in New York

A statue at the Federal Hall National Memorial where George Washington was sworn into office is testament to the time the president spent in New York City. So too is the pew where he worshipped at St. Paul’s Chapel, and the museum at Fraunces Tavern where he said farewell to his officers in 1789.



Sights
  1. New York Stock Exchange

    The present building opened in 1903, and behind its Neo-Classical facade is the financial heart of the U.S. The exchange has grown from a dealing with local businesses to a global enterprise. On the busiest days, billions of shares are traded for more than 8,500 listed issues, although the action is much calmer now that everything is computerized. On its most active days, between five and seven billion shares trade hands on the exchange.

    New York Stock Exchange
  2. Trinity Church

    This much-admired Gothic building is the third church on this site for one of the U.S.’s oldest Anglican parishes, founded in 1697. The church has had notable additions since completion in 1846, including the sacristy, chapel, and Manhattan wing; the bronze doors were donated as a memorial to John Jacob Astor III. Trinity is known for its musical programs, with concerts each Monday and Thursday at 1pm and occasional Sunday concerts by the full choir. Trinity also oversees the programs at St. Paul’s Chapel.

    • Broadway at Wall St

    • Open 7am–6pm daily (church), 7am–4pm (churchyard); tours 2pm daily and after 11:15am Sun service

    • Free

    Trinity Church
  3. Federal Hall National Memorial

    Although the bronze statue of George Washington on the steps marks the site where the nation’s first president took his oath of office, the original building was replaced by this handsome, columned Greek Revival structure in 1842. It served as the U.S. Custom House and a branch of the Federal Reserve Bank before becoming a museum in 1955, with exhibits of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Ranger-led tours are offered several times daily.

    Federal Hall interior

    Federal Hall National Memorial
  4. U.S. Custom House

    A renovation in 1994 installed gleaming galleries that circle the grand rotunda of this classic building. It is now the George Gustav Haye Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, with changing exhibits of Native American life, including costumes and fine crafts. Ceremonial objects, toys, and musical instruments in the research room can be examined and researched further on the computer installed there.

    • 1 Bowling Green, between State & Whitehall Sts

    • Museum open 10am– 5pm Fri–Wed, 10am–8pm Thu

    • Free

  5. Battery Park City

    Several prestigious architects were involved in this extension of Manhattan, a commercial and residential enclave built on a 92-acre landfill created with earth displaced by excavation for the World Trade Center. A 2-mile (3-km) esplanade offers grand Statue of Liberty views. Parts of the area were damaged by the Trade Center collapse but a brighter future is forecast. Enjoy the public works of art or visit the Skyscraper Museum.

    • Off West St, Battery Place to Chambers St, bounded by the Hudson River

    Battery Park City

    Battery Park City esplanade
  6. World Financial Center

    Some of the top U.S. financial companies have headquarters in the World Financial Center, which was damaged in the September 11 attack. The center of the complex is the Winter Garden, with a 120-ft (37-m) atrium, palms and marble steps .

  7. Museum of Jewish Heritage

    A memorable experience for all faiths is this chronicle of the 20th-century Jewish experience before, during, and after the Holocaust, told with over 2,000 photographs, hundreds of artifacts, and original documentary films.

    • 36 Battery Place, Battery Park City

    • Open 10am–5:45pm Sun–Tue, Thu, 10am–8pm Wed, 10am–3pm Fri & Jewish holiday eves

    • Admission charge

    • www.mjhnyc.org

  8. Federal Reserve Bank

    Although gold is no longer transferred in payments between nations, much of the world’s gold reserve remains stored in the five-story vault below this building. All bank notes from this branch have the letter B in the Federal Reserve seal.

    • 33 Liberty St, between William & Nassau Sts

    • Tours 9:30, 10:30, 11:30am, 1:30, 2:30pm, Mon–Fri

    • Free, reserve ahead

    Federal Reserve Bank
  9. Charging Bull

    Sculptor Arturo di Modica unloaded this bronze statue in front of the New York Stock Exchange late at night in December 1989. It was removed, but was later given a “temporary” stomping ground on Broadway. The bull signifies the strength of the American people after the 1987 stockmarket crash.

    • Broadway at Bowling Green Park

  10. Battery Park

    Built largely on 18th- and 19th-century landfill, this park at New York harbor is usually visited for Castle Clinton, the 1811 fort and embarkation point for Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty ferries. This welcome swath of green is of interest for its many monuments and statues.

    • Broadway and Battery Place

    • Open daily

    • Free

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