Some of the stops you’ll make on your next flight to New York City are pretty much decided for you. You’ll hit Times Square, Central Park and Rockefeller Center. Bloomingdales will make the list for shoppers, as will a stroll down Fifth Avenue. If you can break away from midtown and find your way all the way down the island, however, you’ll find some of the most recognizable sites New York City has to offer. It won’t even take a full day, and you’ll be glad you did it.
Here are five stops in lower Manhattan you should definitely add to your list. And, they’re close enough to SoHo, the Village and the Brooklyn Bridge that you won’t feel like you’re spending too much time on the subway!
1. Battery Park: start at the bottom and work your way up. Battery Park is where you can hop the Staten Island Ferry, catch a view of the Statue of Liberty and check out the public art and monuments that are always on display. Because it’s out of the way, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds that tend to converge on other parks, such as Madison Square Park and Bryant Park.
2. The Bull: it’s big. It’s iconic. And it’s right on Broadway, a few blocks down from Trinity Church. You’ve seen the bull on television, and here’s your chance to get up close! Because of the Occupy Wall Street protests that have been going on for the past several months, there are gates up around the bull, but you can still get a decent picture of yourself with it.
3. Broad Street: visit Broad Street to catch a view of the action outside the New York Stock Exchange. You can’t get inside for a tour, but the building remains beautiful, and it has a definite place in New York City history. Try to visit after 4 p.m., when Broad and Wall become a sea of multi-colored jackets as the traders leave the exchange to grab a smoke and discuss the day. Some of the stuff you’ll overhear will become stories when you get back home! My favorite is a phone call I overheard back in 2005: “You’re my brother-in-law, and I love you. So, when I tell you to put $10,000 into a company, you gotta do it!”
4. Zuccotti Park: this is where the “Occupy” movement began! The park is nearly empty now, with the exception of the occasional Occupy Wall Street straggler, but it has definitely earned a place in the story of New York City. While you’re there, turn around and check out the World Trade Center progress.
5. World Financial Center: Monday through Friday (and for some, on the weekends), World Financial Center is a place of business. Yet, the weekends give the buildings a new purpose: free entertainment. Visit “World Fi,” as the locals call it, for free concerts, movies and dance performances.
When the urge to eat hits, head over to Stone Street, just southeast of Broad Street, for a number of options. There are plenty of bars and restaurants from which to choose. Burger Burger is sure to impress, and Vintry is a great spot for wine and whiskey – there are more than 80 wines and 230 whiskeys by the glass!
Photo: Paul Lowry