Manhattan, immortalized in many songs is the most populace and diverse city in the state of New York. The rents are high as is the cost of condos and co-ops. Visiting the big apple can be quite expensive too. However, as you will see, one of the most affluent areas, known as the financial district in the heart of Lower Manhattan can offer those with a limited funds, much to see for free or at very low cost.
First stop the Brooklyn Bridge- and for a true New York experience, as well as a reasonable way to navigate the city, take the subway. Exiting the subway here you will find City Hall and City Hall Park. The park is wide open and in the middle there is a lovely fountain with gaslight lamps around it. Heading south to the end of the park at Broadway is an information booth where you can pick up additional information about the area.
Head to the corner of Vesey and Fulton Streets to St. Paul’s Chapel where Docents give free presentations of the Chapel’s history and its Ground Zero ministry. From here, head west on Vesey Street to an overpass from where you can observe the World Trade Center construction site. Then continue west and down the stairs to the World Financial Center to the tasteful and peaceful, American Express 9/11 memorial for the employees who perished, called Eleven Tears. Up one floor is a series of beautiful murals of different cities, a Winter Garden with benches and palm trees and another good view of the construction.
Next, head outside to the marina on the Hudson River and take in views of the New Jersey shoreline. Along the water is a promenade, Battery Park City, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust which is free on Wednesday from 4-8pm. Just south is Battery Park where you will find sightseeing boats and Castle Clinton; a fort that was built in anticipation of the War of 1812 and now the site of the ticket office for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferries.
A little further on you come to the Staten Island Ferry which offers free round trip rides and a great view of the Statue of Liberty. After the ferry ride walk to the always free National Museum of the American Indian at One Bowling Green; housing changing exhibits of Indian crafts such as woven blankets, ornately decorated clothing, artifacts and pottery indigenous to the various tribes.
Next, continue up Broadway where you will pass the Bull of Wall Street sculpture as you head north on Broadway to Trinity Church where Alexander Hamilton is buried in the graveyard. Then, head east along Wall Street where the New York Stock Exchange is located. Unfortunately, since 9/11 there are no longer any tours inside. However, across the street is Federal Hall, the location where George Washington took the oath of office as our first President. Today, it is a museum and memorial to our first President and the establishment of the United States of America.
By now you should have worked up an appetite, so make your way to Pier 17. Head to the 3rd floor to the food court where a variety of inexpensive food choices including Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Greek and seafood await you. While you dine, enjoy the view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Brooklyn skyline.
In addition to the South Street Seaport food court there are plenty of reasonably priced places to eat along the way. At the seaport there is a Pizzeria Uno. Portions are large and depending on your appetite some can be shared to bring down the cost. The same is true of Chipotle located near the Museum of the American Indian. On the north side is St. Margaret’s (run by Trinity Church) a low income senior residence which offers a cafeteria with low cost meals and is open to the public Monday through Friday from 11:15 – 5:45pm, weekends and holidays 11-3pm.
The Lower Manhattan area is one of the oldest sections and therefore the most historic.
And, in case you missed anything, head to the southeast corner of Fulton Street to a free bus called CoNNection which goes down to the Battery and around to the World Financial Center.
Getting There from Manhattan: one of the best and cheapest ways to get to the area is by subway. Either the (BMT) N or R train to City Hall, or the IRT (Lexington) #4, 5 or 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge will get you there.
What & Where:
St. Paul’s Chapel (209 Broadway; 212-233-4164)
World Trade Center (Found between Vesey Street, West Street, Washington Street and Fulton Street)
World Financial Center (200 Vesey Street, 11th Floor; 212.417.7000)
Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (36 Battery Pl; 646.437.4200)
Castle Clinton (located in Battery Park; 212-344-7220)
Staten Island Ferry (1 Whitehall St)
National Museum of the American Indian (1 Bowling Green; 212-514-3700)
Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall St; 212-602-0800)
Federal Hall (26 Wall St; 212-825-6888)
South Street Seaport food court at Pier 17 (Fulton & South Streets, Pier 17; 212-SEA-PORT)
Pizzeria Uno (89 South St; 212-791-7999)
Chipotle (2 Broadway; 2 Broadway; 212-344-0941)
St. Margaret’s (run by Trinity Church) (49 Fulton St ; 212-766-8122)
Dorothy Wilson has lived the financial district for more than 25 years. In her spare time she takes out-of-town guests on a walking tour of the area. She writes articles on many subjects and has been published in various media outlets