10 Things To Do Downtown
Mon Jun 7 2010
Symbolic of the revitalization of Lower Manhattan is the new World Center Hotel, located directly across from both the World Financial Center and the rising World Trade Center. A boutique hotel for business and leisure travelers, the World Center Hotel offers affordable rates and many complimentary amenities. It is conveniently located to all downtown businesses, historic sites and distinct neighborhoods from prestigious Wall Street and Financial District firms to the shops, restaurants and nightlife of Tribeca, SoHo and vibrant Battery Park. Ranging from single rooms to two-room suites with kitchenettes, most of the 169 stylish and modern guest rooms in this one-of-a-kind hotel offer rare views of downtown New York City. Guests of the World Center Hotel can enjoy the hotel’s private “View of the World Terrace Club,” which offers year-round indoor/outdoor dining with memorable views of the Hudson River, rising World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan.
For more information on the World Center Hotel please visit www.worldcenterhotel.com.
Battery Park City
Located along West Street near the Financial District, family-friendly BPC is graced with old-fashioned streetlamps and dazzling water views at every turn. At Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, children can ride the pedal-powered merry-go-round and scope out tiny bronze creatures in the sculpture garden. South Meadow is a prime picnic spot; after lunch, toss a ball in the grass, or visit the Skyscraper Museum (39 Battery Pl at West St, 212-968-1961) where kids can learn about the history of tall buildings. The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy (bpcparks.org) also hosts child-tailored programs throughout the summer. Access at various points along the Hudson between 1st Pl and Chambers St.
You can save up to 75 percent at this bargain-hunters mecca, where Pucci dresses, Marc Jacobs sweaters and Gucci suits sell for a relative song. Go early in the morning to avoid teeming crowds and focus on the oft-overlooked sections (mens, lingerie). Dressing rooms are few and far between (perhaps to deter you from pulling a Winona-esque shoplifting maneuver), so save time by schlepping your goods home to check the fit. 22 Cortlandt St between Broadway and Church St (212-227-9092, c21stores.com).
Federal Reserve Bank
Here’s your chance to descend 80 feet below street level and commune with the planet’s most precious metal. Roughly a quarter of the world’s gold (more than $200 billion dollars) is stored here in a gigantic vault that rests on the bedrock of Manhattan Island. Free 1-hour tours are given six times each day (last tour at 3:30pm). Space is limited, so it’s wise to reserve at least a month in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. 33 Liberty St between Nassau & William Sts (212-720-6130, www.newyorkfed.org) Free.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Opened in 1997 and expanded in 2003, this museum offers one of the most moving cultural experiences in the city. Detailing the horrific attacks on (and inherent joys of) Jewish life during the past century, the collection consists of 24 documentary films, 2,000 photographs and 800 cultural artifacts, many of which have been donated by Holocaust survivors and their families. Robert F Wagner Jr Park, 36 Battery Pl at First Pl (646-437-4200, www.mjhnyc.org). $10; $7 seniors; $5 students; free under-12s.
National Museum of the American Indian
This branch of the Smithsonian Institution displays its collection around the grand rotunda of the 1907 Custom House, at the bottom of Broadway (which, many moons ago, began as an Indian trail). The life and culture of Native Americans is presented in rotating exhibitions—from intricately woven fiber Pomo baskets to beaded buckskin shirts—along with contemporary artwork. George Gustav Heye Center, Alexander Hamilton Custom House, 1 Bowling Green between State and Whitehall Sts (212-514-3700, nmai.si.edu). Free.
River to River Festival
Contrary to popular belief, the best things in life are not actually free; but thanks to the River to River Festival, some of the summer’s best art and music is. From June 20 through August 31, this performing arts fest brings gratis concerts, performances, exhibits and installations to venues throughout lower Manhattan. Every day is packed with family-friendly events ranging from lunchtime concerts at South Street Seaport (every Wednesday in June, noon) to an exhibition showcasing work by talented teen artists (World Financial Center Courtyard Gallery; Jun 22-25, noon-4pm) to a blow-out July 4 concert in Battery Park (3:30pm). Whether you plan around these events or simply stumble upon them, you’ll be happy you did. (Various venues and dates; check rivertorivernyc.com for details)
South Street Seaport Museum
Spanning 11 blocks along the East River, this museum is an amalgam of galleries, historic ships, 19th-century buildings and a visitors’ center. Wander around the rebuilt streets and pop in to see an exhibition on marine life and history before climbing aboard the four-masted 1911 Peking—always a hit among families with small children. Don’t miss Bowne & Co. Stationers (211 Water St at Fulton St), a working recreation of an 1870s-style letterpress print shop. Visitors’ Center, 12 Fulton Street at South Street (212-748-8600, www.southstseaport.org). $10; $8 seniors, students; $5 5-12s; free under-5s.
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Trust us, even if your blood doesn’t run red, white and blue (and if it does, you might want to have that checked out), you won’t be disappointed by either of these two major New York landmarks. Contrary to some mistaken notions, the mother of all American statues is not actually on Ellis Island, although both sights can be reached by the same ferry. Statue of Liberty (212-363-3200, www.nps.gov/stli). $12; $10 seniors; $5 4-12s; free under-4s. The Statue of Liberty ferry (866-782-8834) departs every 25 mins from gangway 4 or 5 in southernmost Battery Park.
Trinity Church & Cemetery
This Episcopalian church was the island’s tallest structure when it was completed in 1846 (the original burned down in 1776; a second was demolished in 1839). But the real attraction here is the adjacent cemetery, a tranquil tract where cracked and faded tombstones mark the final resting place of dozens of past city dwellers (including signatories of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution). Tread lightly—that’s Alexander Hamilton and William Bradford you’re walking on. 89 Broadway at Wall Street (212-602-0872, www.trinitywallstreet.org). Free.
Winter Garden at the World Financial Center
Completed in 1988, Cesar Pelli’s four glass and granite postmodern office towers, each crowned with a different geometric form, surround an upscale retail area and a series of restaurant-lined plazas that ring the marina. The Winter Garden hosts numerous film screenings, concerts and public art displays, as well as unique events such as the annual Bang on a Can Marathon. Check the website for a calendar of free upcoming events. 220 Vesey St at West St (212-945-0505, worldfinancialcenter.com).
Brought to you by the World Center Hotel