NFT New York Financial District

Financial District

This is where it all began. Site of the original Dutch settlement on Manhattan Island, the Financial District contains more historical markers than any other part of the city. If you're looking for a place to start, check out St. Paul's Chapel and Cemetery, which dates back to 1766, Trinity Church, whose spire was once the tallest point in Manhattan, and Federal Hall, site of the first capitol of the United States. You can also head to Battery Park to take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, and, far more interestingly, to Ellis Island where you can explore the history of immigration in the United States.

That's just the beginning. The importance of New York as a financial and commercial center is evident on practically every street. To take it in, check out, in no particular order, the See more.

>New York Stock Exchange, the NYSE Amex Equities (formerly known as the American Stock Exchange), the Federal Reserve Bank, the first JP Morgan Bank (still visibly scarred from a bombing in 1920), John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Building, and the Alexander Hamilton US Custom House (now the National Museum of the American Indian). The architecture of the chocolate brown federal-style India House and stunning maritime-themed interior of the Cunard Building both represent distinct eras of New York's commercial past. Rivaling Grand Central and Brooklyn Bridge as Manhattan's most gorgeous gateway, the Battery Maritime Building is the departure point for the summer ferry to Governor's Island, where you can stroll around fortifications built during the Revolutionary War. Last but not least, the Charging Bull statue at Bowling Green, initially installed as a piece of guerrilla art, has become the ultimate symbol for New York's financial strength, and beloved by photo-snapping tourists from all over the world.

Financial growth led to the creation of the modern skyscraper, and many famous examples soar above these streets. Notable buildings include 40 Wall Street (now known as the "Trump Building"), art-deco gems 20 Exchange Place and the American International Building, the massive Equitable Building, and the Bankers Trust Company Building. Of course, the most famous structure is the one that's missing--the World Trade Center Towers, which were destroyed by a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. That said, the World Trade Center has been reborn in an inspiring if slightly schizophrenic monument to both its tragic past and hopeful future. Two mammoth pools mark the footprint of the original towers and the gut-wrenching National September 11 Memorial & Museum literally digs deep to tell the definitive story of that day and commemorate those lives lost. Looking up, One World Trade Center, the city's (and Western Hemisphere's) tallest skyscraper, towers over the site. As soon as its ceremonial spire was put in place, the 1,776-foot-high landmark restored Lower Manhattan's visual and psychic balance; now all that's left is to rent out all that vacant space.

When you're ready for a break from all that history and architecture, take in some people watching at Zuccotti Park (onetime hub for the Occupy Wall Street protest) or reflect in the relative peace and quiet of the Vietnam Veterans Plaza. The best way to chill out might be by simply grabbing a beer on board the free Staten Island Ferry and checking out the awesome views of New York Harbor commuters get to enjoy every day. The tourists will all be at South Street Seaport, which might be best avoided unless you like crowded cobblestoned shopping malls. As far as kicking back in quaint downtown is concerned, Stone Street and Front Street are perfect spots to grab a bite and a drink after a day of wandering around. We'll see you there!

It ain't the village by any stretch, but Front Street has some good options like wine bar Bin 220 and Fresh Salt. Old stalwarts like the The Paris Cafe and the Bridge Cafe capture the history of the area. The semi-secret Blue Bar at India House is a NFT favorite--you can thank us later.

Our Stone Street favorite is Adrienne's Pizza Bar, and on Front Street it's the New Zealand goodness of Nelson Blue. You can eat cheaply at Sophie's, Financier Patisserie, Zaitzeff, and greasy spoon Pearl Street Diner while you wait for financial success and a table at Mark Joseph.

Gourmet markets Jubilee and Zeytuna keep Financial District dwellers fed. Pick up some wine from Downtown Cellars or Pasanella, then grab a coffee at Fika.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
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Come on an epic journey across the five boroughs with NFT Managing Editor Craig Nelson and his drinking buddy Gabriel. From pure beer garden bliss to a late-night visit to the Bellevue ER, they experience the best and worst of New York City in a few short hours. The following is a true story...

Guide to Entertaining Tourists

By Jane Pirone
Someone's gotta do it.

Free NYC

By Krista Apple
When Krista Apple moved to NYC, a friend shoved her into a corner and hissed, "They charge you to breathe here." But Krista could not be deterred. She vowed to seek out the cheapest eats, drinks and arts this side of the Appalachians. Now, let her show you the way.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

PATH Greenmarket
In just two weeks, the bustling village of discontent called Occupy Wall Street has become a genuine tourist attraction in Zuccotti Park. After speaking with several protesters and perusing the paraphernalia, I saw that both locals and out-of-staters were thrilled to be making (or witnessing) history and participating in something urgently American. Unfortunately they weren't chanting "U-S-A!" at the Olympics, but were expressing their collective anger about many problems from 2008 (and earlier) that just won't die already: chronic unemployment, worthless degrees, crippling student loan debt, unaffordable health care, corporate tax breaks, the perpetual war on terror, you name it. On one hand, the range of complaints was so wide-reaching it almost drained the hope out of me, because to solve even one of those problems would be a gargantuan undertaking. On top of that, some protesters were vague about their reasons for being there, citing the excitement of it all more than a concrete, attainable goal. However, it was energizing to see people research these issues and get involved, and for those of us who found ourselves job hunting in the recession, it was cathartic. I say go see it while you can and keep the dialog going. After all, if young Americans are getting off their mobile devices and hitting the streets like it was the 60s, they must be incredibly pissed off.

Posted By:  Scott Sendrow
Photo:  Scott Sendrow

World Trade Center
Incredible to finally see the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. One, it's awe-inspiring to see the inside of the site after so many years. Even if you have few personal memories of the towers, the two mammoth pools, said to be the largest in North America, help visitors visualize what once stood there. As you stand on the edge where the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died on 9/11 are inscribed (the memorial also honors those who were killed on United 93 and at the Pentagon), your eyes drop to the visual focus: the dark, foreboding square pits at the bottom of both pools. Aerial views don't show how the sightline obscures the bottom of the pits; the effect is dramatic, maybe even a little bit bleak, but also rather poignant. If you know of someone who perished, computer kiosks are available to help locate a name along with a map printout showing where to go. Tickets are hard to come by right now (we've heard that there's a waiting list of over a month) but put your name in as soon as you can to see it for yourself.

Posted By:  Lara Kavanagh
Photo:  Courtesy of Sea-Horse

Cowgirl Sea-Horse
Lurking just shy of the girders of the Brooklyn Bridge (Manhattan side) is Sea-Horse, a relaxed bar-restaurant, touting "beach baskets" on the menu. Now, I'm not from around these American parts, but even an urbanite like me, who can barely tell a cow from a horse, can see that Front Street is no beach. But once inside on a fairly hot day, with the windows flung open to let the breeze in, I really did feel like I was in a kind of vibey seaside surf shack, decorated as it is with seahorses on the walls and vintage paraphernalia, including an intriguing suspended string of retro-print aprons. The service was super-friendly and quick, and as for the beach baskets themselves: we feasted on large portions of crispy country-fried chicken, grilled white fish with sauerkraut and melted Swiss, fries, coleslaw and pickles, all in the promised baskets. It's simple stuff, but good value and designed for the heartier appetite. In short, it's a wonderfully low-key place, with a clientele of lunching fashionistas, locals, and magpies like myself, attracted by the clothesline bunting and the smell of tasty, unpretentious food.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Bin 220
Part of the emergence of Front Street as a major hang-out destination, Bin 220 delivers on its promise as a cool after-work wine bar. Even on a Friday night, when almost every decent downtown bar is packed with way too many jackass brokers in suits, Bin 220 has the elegance to still be a place you'd want to go (though it IS still crowded, just not overly so). Afterwards, you've got several dining options simply steps away, including the New Zealand goodness at Nelson Blue, the red and orange dragon rolls at Suteishi, killer steak at Marc Joseph, and fresh seafood at Stella. You can't go wrong, as long as you've got working plastic.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

New Amsterdam Market
Every great city has a great public market. From Borough Market in London to La Boqueria in Barcelona to Pike Place Market in Seattle, public markets are key community and cultural hubs where locals can shop, eat, and and hang out. The big exception to this rule: New York City. Sure New York has the wonderful Essex Street Market and a few other smaller neighborhood markets around town, but New Yorkers deserve a world class public space dedicated to food. The folks behind the New Amsterdam Market are on a mission to make this a reality. Their dream is to find a permanent home for the finest local food purveyors in the New York area. In the meantime they've been bringing top-notch farmers, vintners, cheese makers, and fish mongers to the old Fulton Fish Market location to sell their wares directly to the public. The final market of the year takes place on December 20th. Make a visit, taste some glorious foods, and soak in the convivial atmosphere--this is truly foodie heaven. Now just imagine if this could happen everyday.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Downtown Parking
Yes, cars are evil. And therefore the space in NYC that is dedicated to the parking of said evil objects should be used instead for low-income housing, parks, farmers markets, CSAs, magnet schools, free health-care clinics, publicly-funded art galleries and performance spaces, community gardens, playgrounds, antique markets, water fountains, miniature forests, wind turbines, solar panels, needle exchanges, spontaneous Happenings, band practice spaces, public toilets, independent presses, secret meeting places, anarchist infoshops, Quaker Friend Houses, Rosicrucian temples, pet shelters, and, of course, even more fucking Starbucks. Nonetheless, the open-elevator parking garage at 56 Fulton in downtown Manhattan looks cool. It's the Pompidou of Parking Garages, the Bilbao of Car Parks, the…okay, I guess that's enough.

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Staten Island Ferry
I'm sure there are at least five reasons to disembark the Staten Island Ferry and venture into that mysterious suburban borough, but I only know one: because they make you if you want to get back to Manhattan. The best free activity for entertaining visiting relatives, the Ferry allows you, savvy New Yorker, to be the tour guide. With great views of lower Manhattan, Lady Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Jersey shipyards, you can point out all the watery landmarks without having to pay for any of them, and no one will be the wiser when you start making up New York factoids! Just don't bash the destination borough too loudly as there are people in this city who actually commute (and I think in some cases, live) on the hulking orange vessels. Everyone gets off at Staten Island, and a surprising number circle the concourse to get right back on. There are secrets of Staten we've yet to uncover, but that of the Ferry is enough for now.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Yeah, it's a little pricey. And yeah, they don't know how to make a crab cake for fuck-all (I'd never thought I'd say this, but just because something is panko-crusted and deep-fried, doesn't mean it's good), but the orange and red dragon rolls (pictured) are good. Damned good. And, like many other NYC restaurants that are desperate for customers, they kissed our NFT ass pretty damned well. As for the crab cakes? Simple solution: go across the street to Nelson Blue.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Ah, to be Italian--amazing cuisine, historic cities, unlimited wine, weeks of vacation--"la dolce vita" indeed. Since an EU passport isn't falling into my lap anytime soon, I must get creative to satisfy my inner Europhile. With the recent opening of Zibetto in the Financial District, my mission just got a whole lot easier. Zibetto is a handsome coffee bar with expertly pulled espresso. The first cue that this place is 100% Italian is that there are no seats. Order a couple of caffe ("Signore, due caffe per favore!') and a bottle of sparkling water. (The Italians always take a small glass of water with their coffee.) It will set you back 6 bucks, but I like to think of it as 3 EUR with a 2 buck surcharge to help those Europeans pay for their free health care. Not bad for the real deal. You just stand and sip just like they do in Italy. The whole ritual takes a couple of minutes if you do it right. Within walking distance of my wife's office, it's a perfect place to meet up for an afternoon coffee quickie. Until NFT opens up its European headquarters, Zibetto will have to do.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Unguarded Tanks
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as Martha lies unconscious in a ditch while hordes of locusts descend upon unprotected livestock and we spend more and more billions of dollars to send Young Americans overseas to fight oil wars, there are, right in the heart of Manhattan, near the epicenter of past terrorist attacks, random tanks filled with who-knows-what-gas ready to be exploded, abducted, or otherwise messed with by the many, many terrorists on those famous "watch lists" that everyone and their mother is publishing, and yes, those tanks are just sitting in the open with no one guarding them. Don't we all feel so safe now as we pay taxes to fund the alphabet soup of CIA, FBI, ATF, NSA, DHS, DEA, NYPD, (ETA, IRA, J/K) Border Patrol, Customs Service, Postal Inspectors, Army-Navy-Air Force-Marines that are everywhere else except where they are supposed to be, actually DEFENDING our nation, and what better place to start than John Street in Lower Manhattan, outside 24-hour Jubilee Marketplace, where my wife shops for groceries a few afternoons each week. Your tax dollars at work, my friends.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Nelson Blue
Any time I start going to the same restaurant more than once every month, I know that it's been put in my personal pantheon of New York restaurants that don't suck. Such is the case with Nelson Blue on Peck Slip. Even though it's a block away from the teeming crowds of South Street Seaport, and is filled with Wall Street douchebags many early weekday evenings, Nelson Blue's excellent New Zealand cuisine (yes! There is one!) transcends all of that--not an easy task. Their lamb "lollipop chops" are brilliant; they serve one of the best crab cakes in NYC; the curry mussels are perfect. Added bonuses: outside seating, communal tables inside, good beer selection, close to NFT headquarters. Anyone want to meet me there for a lunch meeting? Perfect.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Adrienne's Pizzabar
Pizza. It’s my favorite word with two “z’s” in it, although “mezzanine” is a close second. I’m sure you already know that, as with everything else in this world, all pizza places are not created equal. Of the thousand or more in NYC, there’s probably only 100 or so that serve decent pizza, and only about 15-20 that make a perfect pie. And Adrienne’s, with its rectangular-shaped, pan-cooked, medium-thickness-crust pizza, is fortunately in that last category. Outdoor seating and a great location on crowded Stone Street should ensure its success for many years to come, and thank god, because getting decent grub in the Financial District, while not as hard as it used to be, can still be a challenge (and yes, you can thank the no-taste B & T crowd for that).

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Aaron Schielke

South Street Seaport
The brand new 2008 NFTs have arrived. And on Friday September 28 we’re throwing a gigantic party at the fabulous Spiegelworld to celebrate. This will be NFT’s biggest bash ever, so you don’t want to miss it. We have cases of New York books to give away and gallons of free beer from Heartland Brewery for you to drink (while supplies last). We’ll also have a DJ spinning cool tunes under the stars to start your weekend off right. Email all your friends, because this amazing event is open to anyone and everyone. Grab a book, drink a beer, and enjoy an amazing view of the city we love. It all goes down from 6 to 9 pm on Friday September 28 at Spiegelworld (Pier 17, South Street Seaport).

Posted By:  Becky Dalzell
Photo:  Becky Dalzell

Battery Maritime Building
Governor’s Island and folk music are both somewhat alien to the New York psyche, so it’s fitting to pair them. A quiet grassy knoll with a sea breeze? A banjo strumming about Appalachian sunsets? Light years from Bowery. But Folks on the Island, a free concert series that concludes this Saturday, is just a short boat ride away. This week is a tribute to Woody Guthrie, but come even if you’re not a fan of the music. With concerts under a leafy canopy on a college-like green, there’s no more quick and relaxing escape from the city. Be warned, however: with the island’s military history, there’s a surprising lack of order to the ferry service. Wise to queue early to ensure your place, since they leave only once an hour.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Zuccotti Park
Looking for a decidedly unofficial center of downtown? You could do worse than the small square called Liberty Plaza—one block from the WTC site, a few blocks north of the still-wonderfully-seedy Lower Greenwich Street (go and you’ll see what we mean), right on Broadway, just south of City Hall and (more usefully, since you can’t fight the former) J & R Music World, and just west of the mucho-crapitudinous Nassau Street Shopping District. Cool lighting, actual benches (!), and a killer Mark di Suvero sculpture help the plaza in its quest to become something other in the midst of the madness. Now if the bastards hadn’t ruined the view…

Posted By:  Joshua Cochran
Photo:  Joshua Cochran

Wall Street Bath & Spa
Close to the Seaport and just blocks from the A line, Spa 88 is something every New Yorker should treat themselves to, if just once. A good sweat is like nothing else in the world—it gets out all the toxins we take in from auto exhaust, nut-sellers, and expelled tourist breath. I used to go to a different spa, which shall remain unnamed, down in the village. Until I got ringworm. So that's why I can confidently recommend Spa 88 to my close friends and yes, even you. It is very, very clean. For admission to the spa, standard price runs $32, and includes access to a Turkish steam room, a dry sauna, a Russian dry room (so hot!), a cold plunge pool, a jacuzzi, standard swimming pool, and multiple lounge areas. Additional services include a full restaurant, a juice bar, and excellent massage, facial, and body treatments—all at decent prices. When you go to Spa 88, try to make an adventure out of it. Stay a while and treat yourself right. I'd suggest taking a bathing suit with you; they have clean loaners but, well, you know… You are provided with a robe, slippers, and all the fresh towels you can use to sop up all those toxins. Come on, you deserve the minor extravagance.

Posted By:  Joshua Cochran
Photo:  Joshua Cochran

South Street Seaport
Pier 17 is a tourist's haven; a gaggle of shops and gawking sights to be had in a tight location, with lots of seating and very little walking involved. However, Pier 17 can be an excellent destination for even the grumpiest and most crowd-hating local. Why? The same reasons that the tourists go. In addition to the shops and stuff, the sunset views are some of the best in the city. There is also free WiFi that provides a decent signal throughout the lounge area and even out on the upper decks. The large windows provide awesome views of Brooklyn, the financial district, the Brooklyn Bridge, and even a large part of Manhattan proper northward past Chinatown. But while the shops are plentiful, they're pretty standard. Likewise in the food court. But you can get cheap beer in a plastic cup, free WiFi, and a spectacular view. Pier 17 is definitely a place to check out on a day when you want to blend in and be anonymous.

Posted By:  Krista Apple
Photo:  Pam Chmiel

One of Manhattan’s quaintest coffee houses is nestled in the unlikeliest of places, on Maiden Lane, in the heart of the Financial District. Century 21 and Ground Zero are two blocks to the west; the New York Stock Exchange is three blocks south. Once you’re inside Klatch, though, it’s difficult to remember you’re in the city at all. The café’s décor and chic, home-spun feel is more reminiscent of a Berkshire mountain café than a hub in the Wall Street wheel. Along with traditional espresso and beverages, Klatch features decadent homemade pastries along with tea, wine, and beer. It also doubles as an art gallery, featuring a rotating array of mixed-media and visual art. Owner Pam Chmiel (who opened Klatch in 2003, and lives nearby) has certainly created a bohemian oasis in the downtown corporate sea.

Posted By:  Michael Massmann
Photo:  Michael Massmann

It is often said that the Native Americans were the first victims of one of New YorkÕs legendary real estate deals. It is then per-haps a bit ironic that a museum dedicated to their legacy now occupies such prime real estate. Right next to Battery Park, in one of New YorkÕs most mag-nificent Beaux Art buildings, the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Cus-tom House houses the National Museum of the American Indian. The museum is currently offer-ing three extraordinary exhibits. George Gatlin and His Indian Gallery showcases the work of Mr. Gatlin, who spent decades painting portraits of Native Americans, as well as arguing their cause, in the mid-1800s. New York-based Native artists who often blend their cultural heritage with contemporary forms of ex-pression are on display in New Tribe: New York. But perhaps the most impressive is First American Art, a collection of artifacts ar-ranged according to an interpretive analysis of aesthetic styles. In eschewing the traditional arrangement, wherein artifacts are displayed next to others from the same time and culture, the curators have offered us a window to a deeper understanding of this rich culture as well as art in general. The museum also holds workshops on traditional arts and storytelling as well as their Native Sounds Downtown series that presents an occasional concert on the museum esplanade. For a schedule of events, visit the museumÕs website.

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