November 18, 2011
Who would have thought that a small urban oasis named Zuccotti Park would become a vortex of activism and step into the national spotlight? Located in New York City’s financial district, Occupy Wall Street (at the formerly named Liberty Park) has become a downtown tourist destination as well. If you don’t mind the crowds (and at times there are just as many people observing as occupying) stay for the day, ‘cause there’s more to see in this area where the city’s Dutch beginnings were established.
When actonsteve visited he toured many of downtown Manhattan’s most popular sites. He writes, in his review from that trip, “The angular tip of Manhattan is its oldest and most interesting part and stretches back 400 years. This was where the metropolis started and contains the most historic sights on the island.”
Photo courtesy of Amanda DeSimone
South of Zuccotti Park, this historic churchyard contains the graves of Alexander Hamilton and other dignitaries of Old New York. From actonsteve: "Surrounded by skyscrapers it is in its own little green lawned oasis which is also a colonial graveyard. There has been a church here since 1694 and it is not baroque or medieval but Victorian gothic and the current version dates from 1836. Inside is gorgeous - it has colourful stained-glass windows, a carved altar and a fan-vaulted ceiling."
Since 1989, sculptor Arturo Di Modica’s “Charging Bull” has stood in Bowling Green and is a most popular downtown photo-op.
Federal Hall National Memorial
This is where George Washington officially became the first U.S. President and the site of the first Supreme Court and Congress.
RLB2: “You do indeed steam straight past the Statue of Liberty and across New York Harbor from Lower Manhattan all the way to Staten Island. It is a 5 mile trip and it takes 25 minutes each way... The best thing about this ferry is that it is free.”
actonsteve: "This redbrick townhouse was built in 1764 and its old architecture really stood out against the glass and chrome around it. Nowadays, it is a museum and a restaurant, and although the structure dates from the 18th Century most of the building is a Victorian renovation. Once through the doors, it is up creaky wooden stairs to the museum which consisted of three rooms left as they were in 1783. This was where they hosted George Washington’s farewell retirement dinner. The main dining room consisted of a bar, oil portraits of the great man and rows of dining tables."
Gemma_C: "I highly recommend the Brooklyn Bridge as a must whilst in New York. Make a nice evening of it, get something to eat in Brooklyn and go down to Fulton Landing before walking back across to Manhattan and enjoy those views and of course, the bridge itself."
City Hall and City Hall Park
Actonsteve: "A few steps on Broadway opens up into a magnificent Square - City Hall Park. Looking gorgeous on a sunny spring day the Greek Revival City Hall towers into the air. The park itself was a gem with a gushing fountain, Victorian lamposts and pink cherry blossoms giving the place colour. This is one of the oldest parts of New York and was completed in 1812 and has more of an air of being in a city centre... Office workers sit on park benches and tuck into bagels and cokes, people walk dogs, and everyone had a smile on their face for the first day of spring."
Actonsteve: "How this 18th-century Palladian gem survived the collapse of the WTC is a miracle. And if it is familiar to Londoners then it is based on our very own St-Martins-in-the Fields in Trafalgar Square. What shocked me was the proximity of the disaster to the church. A photo showed glowing red embers only inches away from its ancient graveyard and looking like a vast lava flow. The interior provided rest, food and peace for the emergency services.
Photo of the Marina at World Financial Center by Sandy Goes
This office and shopping complex across the street from the World Trade Center Site is so big, it has its own zip code. Muchmor enjoyed “the waterfront area where you can sit and eat or keep an eye on the very large, very expensive boats sitting in the harbour.”
The battle of the oldest bar seems to have been won by the Bridge Café on Water Street, now considered to be “the oldest surviving tavern in New York” with a building that dates back to 1794.
Posted by Nik’sMom (Terre Grilli)