At the southern tip of the great Isle of Manhattan is the oft overlooked and misunderstood Financial District. Easily associated with the hustle and bustle of the Wall Street worker, FiDi has many more restaurants, bars, and attractions for those willing to make the trip down south. As they say, things are hotter down by the water. Here is a list of the top 10 things to do and see while down in the district.
First on the list is something that every local New Yorker or visiting tourist should see: The World Trade memorials and the Freedom Tower. To start, both are marvels of architecture and design. The memorials, two fountains, are built in the former locations of the Twin Towers. Watching the water quietly fall down in to the depths of the earth can be a very powerful moment of reflection. And, to stare up at the seemingly endless skyscraper nearby is to honor the resilience of a nation. The experience is incredibly worthwhile. For those willing to wait in line, an interactive elevator can be taken to the very top. The screen walls display a 500-year journey of the development of New York City.
The Dead Rabbit, located down on Water Street, recently won the honor of the Tales of the Cocktail’s 8th annual Spirited Awards ‘Best Bar in the World.’ That’s high praise, and surely worth seeing on an evening out or date night downtown. What makes it so special are its the speakeasy vibes, the delightful cocktails, the sawdust on the first floor, or the extensive drink menu. The staff will help you navigate all the options and pick out the perfect concoction, usually served in tea mugs to replicate the Prohibition style.
The East Coast: Luchador, Industry Kitchen, and Pier 15
The east coast of FiDi is a great spot for a romantic evening. If Mexican food is in the mix, Luchador is a terrific spot. It’s funky and delicious. Where else can you eat a burrito in an old trailer hitch? Or for drinks, pick the Industry Kitchen. Located just off the east side running path, its perfect for a glass of wine al fresco. From there it’s a short walk to Pier 15, which stretches out over the east river and faces the lights of Brooklyn.
For a summer time sunset the best spot is the Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar. Alcoholic infused popsicles float in sparkling wine. Loopy’s is an intimate bar located on top of the Conrad hotel with plenty of comfy couch seating and a view of the Hudson River.
In direct contrast to the swanky Loopy’s, there is the brazen and brash Iron Horse. It describes itself as a ‘no frills pub with outgoing bartenders.’ With cheap PBRs, juke-box music, a pool table, and good hard-working patrons, outgoing means the bartenders will give out free shots and get on the swing that hangs above the bar. In short, this is a place where you leave work conversations at the door and just cut loose a bit.
For your tourist moment, a must-see is the Charging Bull Statue. Perhaps nothing is more emblematic of the can-do capitalistic spirit of New York than this iconic sculpture. The pure bronze animal is awesome to behold. Plus, it puts you in the heart of the Financial District, and right by the Stock Exchange. It’s a great way to briefly be immersed in the fast paced culture that is working in finance.
For some lush greenery and inspiring views, Battery Park is the spot. The southernmost tip of Manhattan features jogging paths, benches for people watching, street performances, and a great vista of Lady Liberty herself. It’s a charming seaside locale that feels like the edge of the world. For a waterside cocktail, head over to Pier A Harbor House. It’s terrific spot for some oysters and a riverside evening.
If you’re looking for a chic, trendy New York hot spot, this is not it. But it is a hearty, affordable slice of middle Americana. For those New Yorkers sick of the $45 brunch tab on Saturday’s, Denny’s is the spot to switch it up. This location on Nassau Street isn’t just the nicest Denny’s in Manhattan, it’s quite possibly the nicest Denny’s in the United States. It features lush leather interiors, a tremendous playlist of classic rock, and all the Grand Slam favorites. Coffee refills are free and the atmosphere is always sunny side up. And, if money is no object, there is the ‘Grand Cru Slam’ – $300 dollars for eggs, pancakes, sausage, and Dom Perignon.
For lunch and an afternoon shop, Brookfield Place is the pace to be. This modern mini mall features some terrific high fashion clothing stores: DVF, Ferragamo, Hermes, J Crew, Lulu Lemon, Michael Kors, and Burberry. Also in the mall is Hudson Eats, a food court featuring all of the fast-casual favorites: Chop’t, Mighty Quinns, Num Pang, Skinny Pizza, and more. For a more European vibe check out Le District, a French style food market. Also in the area, PJ Clarke’s new location – one of the best spots to have a beer and a burger on the outdoor plaza.
Stone Street is the Olympic Village of New York. A charming old cobblestone walkway, this street is filled with tables and chairs during the summer months. Each restaurant or bar represents a different country and cuisine. It’s the perfect place for a happy hour pint or a hot meal. For pizza, there is Adrienne’s; for a Scandinavian brunch, there is Smörgås; and for a good German beer, there is the Bavaria Bier Haus.
By Tucker Johnson
Native Bostonian, Philosophy major at Colgate University, and back-up vocalist/rhythm guitar player in an emerging Hootie and the Blowfish cover band, Tucker currently resides in Manhattan and is enjoying writing about his new city. He also enjoys light amounts of exercise, most appetizers, and Sunday night premium cable