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New York City - Manhattan Downtown

What to see

Liberty Island and Statue of Liberty
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For the millions who first came by ship to America between 1892 and 1954 - either as privileged tourists or needy, hopeful immigrants - Lady Liberty, standing in the Upper Bay, was their first glimpse of America. No monument so embodies the nation's, and the world's, notion of political freedom and economic potential. Even if you don't make it out to Liberty Island, you can get a spine-tingling glimpse from Battery Park, from the New Jersey side of the bay, or during a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry. It's always reassuring to see her torch lighting the way.
Statue of Liberty new york tourism new york tourist board visit ny hotelsFirst unveiled in 1886 and after nearly 100 years of wind, rain, and exposure to the harsh sea air, Lady Liberty received a resoundingly successful $150 million face-lift (including the relandscaping of Liberty Island and the replacement of the torch's flame) in time for its centennial celebration on July 4, 1986. Touring tips: Ferries leave daily every half hour to 45 minutes from 9am to about 3:30pm (their clock), with more frequent ferries in the morning and extended hours in summer. Try to go early on a weekday to avoid the crowds that swarm in the afternoon, on weekends, and on holidays.
A stop at Ellis Island is included in the fare, but if you catch the last ferry, you can only visit the statue or Ellis Island, not both.
Ellis Island: roughly 40% of Americans can trace their heritage back to an ancestor who came through here. For the 62 years when it was America's main entry point for immigrants (1892-1954), Ellis Island processed some 12 million people. The statistics can be overwhelming, but the Immigration Museum skillfully relates the story of Ellis Island and immigration in America by placing the emphasis on personal experience.
It's difficult to leave the museum unmoved. Today you enter the Main Building's baggage room, just as the immigrants did, and then climb the stairs to the Registry Room, with its dramatic vaulted tiled ceiling, where millions waited anxiously for medical and legal processing. A step-by-step account of the immigrants' voyage is detailed in the exhibit, with haunting photos and touching oral histories. What might be the most poignant exhibit is "Treasures from Home", 1,000 objects and photos donated by descendants of immigrants, including family heirlooms, religious articles, and rare clothing and jewelry. Outside, the American Immigrant Wall of Honor commemorates the names of more than 500,000 immigrants and their families, from Myles Standish and George Washington's great-grandfather to the forefathers of John F. Kennedy, Jay Leno, and Barbra Streisand. You can even research your own family's history at the interactive American Family Immigration History Center.

Greenwich Village
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Tree-lined streets crisscross and wind, following ancient streams and cow paths.
Each block reveals yet another row of Greek Revival town houses, a well-preserved Federal-style house, or a peaceful courtyard or square.
This is “the Village,” from Broadway west to the Hudson River, bordered by Houston Street to the south and 14th Street to the north. It was once a large industrial park; later, it was colonized by radicals, bohemians, beatniks, artists, and literary greats squatting in abandoned factories. High rents exclude most of their ilk today but the Village still has its charm.
It defies Manhattan's orderly grid system with streets that predate it, virtually every one chockablock with activity, and unless you live here, it may be impossible to master the lay of the land - so be sure to take a map along as you explore.
The Seventh Avenue line (1, 2, 3, 9) is the area's main subway artery, while the West 4th Street stop (where the A, C, E lines meet the F and V lines) serves as its central hub.
The tolerant anything-goes attitude in the Village has fostered a large gay community, which is still largely in evidence around Christopher Street and Sheridan Square. The streets west of Seventh Avenue, an area known as the West Village, boasts some of the city's most charming and historic brownstones. Streets are often crowded with weekend warriors and teenagers, especially on Bleecker, West 4th, 8th, and surrounding streets. Keep an eye on your wallet when navigating the weekend throngs.

Financial district
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Wall Street: it's an iconic name, and the world's prime hub for bulls and bears everywhere. This narrow 18th-century lane (you'll be surprised at how little it is) is appropriately monumental, lined with neoclassical towers that reach as far skyward as the dreams and greed of investors who built it into the world's most famous financial market.
At the heart of the action is the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the world's largest securities trader, where you can watch the billions change hands and get a fleeting idea of how the money merchants work. NYSE came into being in 1792, when merchants met daily under a nearby buttonwood tree to try and pass off to each other the U.S. bonds that had been sold to fund the Revolutionary War. By 1903, they were trading stocks of publicly held companies in this Corinthian-columned beaux arts “temple” designed by George Post. About 3,000 companies are now listed on the exchange, trading nearly 314 billion shares valued at about $16 trillion.

 
Brooklyn bridge

Its Gothic-inspired stone pylons and intricate steel-cable webs have moved poets like Walt Whitman and Hart Crane to sing the praises of this great span, the first to cross the East River and connect Manhattan to Brooklyn. Completed in 1883, the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge is now the city’s best-known symbol of the age of growth that seized the city during the late 19th century.
Brooklyn bridge new york tourism new york tourist board visit ny hotelsWalking the Bridge: A wide wood-plank pedestrian walkway is elevated above the traffic, making it a relatively peaceful, and popular, walk. It’s a great vantage point from which to contemplate the New York skyline and the East River.
There’s a sidewalk entrance on Park Row, just across from City Hall Park (take the 4, 5, or 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall). But why do this walk away from Manhattan, toward the far less impressive Brooklyn skyline? Instead, for Manhattan skyline views, take an A or C train to High Street, one stop into Brooklyn. From there, you’ll be on the bridge in no time: Come aboveground, then walk through the little park to Cadman Plaza East and head downslope (left) to the stairwell that will take you up to the footpath. (Following Prospect Place under the bridge, turning right onto Cadman Plaza E., will also take you directly to the stairwell.) It’s a 20- to 40-minute stroll over the bridge to Manhattan, depending on your pace, the amount of foot traffic, and the number of stops you make to behold the spectacular views (there are benches along the way). The footpath will deposit you right at City Hall Park.

Chinatown
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New York City’s most famous ethnic enclave is bursting past its traditional boundaries and has seriously encroached on Little Italy. This booming neighborhood is now a conglomeration of Asian populations.
It offers tasty cheap eats in cuisines from Szechuan to Hunan to Cantonese to Vietnamese to Thai. Exotic shops offer unique foods, herbs, and souvenirs; bargains on clothing and leather are plentiful.
The Canal Street (J, M, Z, N, R, 6, Q, W) station will get you to the heart of the action. The streets are crowded during the day and empty out after around 9pm; they remain quite safe, but the neighborhood is more enjoyable during the bustle.

Little Italy

Near Chinatown is Little Italy and traditionally the area east of Broadway between Houston and north of Canal streets, the community is shrinking today.
It’s now limited mainly to Mulberry Street, where you’ll find most restaurants, and just a few offshoots: the surrounding blocks are morphing into fashionable Nolita ("North of Little Italy") or have been annexed by Chinatown.

SoHo

No relation to the London neighborhood of the same name, SoHo got its moniker as an abbreviation of “South of Houston Street.” This superfashionable neighborhood extends down to Canal Street, between Sixth Avenue to the west and Lafayette Street (1 block east of Broadway) to the east. It’s easily accessible by subway: Take the N or R to the Prince Street Station; the C, E, or 6 to Spring Street; or the F or V train to the Broadway-Lafayette stop.
In the early 1960s, cutting-edge artists began occupying the drab and deteriorating buildings, soon turning it into the trendiest neighborhood in the city. SoHo is now a prime example of urban gentrification and a major New York attraction thanks to its impeccably restored buildings, fashionable restaurants, and stylish boutiques.
On weekends, the cobbled streets and narrow sidewalks are packed with shoppers, with the prime action between Broadway and Sullivan Street north of Grand Street.
In recent years, SoHo has been crawling its way east, taking over Mott and Mulberry streets - and white-hot Elizabeth Street in particular - north of Kenmare Street, an area now known as Nolita for its North of Little Italy location. Nolita is becoming increasingly well known for its hot shopping prospects, which include a number of pricey antiques and home design stores.

TriBeCa
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Bordered by the Hudson River to the west, the area north of Chambers Street, west of Broadway, and south of Canal Street is the Triangle Below Canal Street, or TriBeCa. Since the 1980s, as SoHo became saturated with chic, the spillover has been quietly transforming TriBeCa into one of the city’s hippest residential neighborhoods, where celebrities and families quietly coexist in cast-iron warehouses converted into spacious, expensive loft apartments.
TriBeCa manhattan new york tourism new york tourist board visit ny hotelsArtists’ lofts and galleries as well as hip antiques and design shops pepper the area, as do some of the city’s best restaurants.

Trinity church
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The first Trinity Church was built in 1696. The original church was burned down by British General Howe in 1776; the lovely Gothic gem that stands here now was completed in 1846, with huge bronze doors designed by Richard Morris Hunt and a bucolic colonialera cemetery wrapped around it. One of Trinity's chapels, St.Paul's (at Broadway and Vesey St.), survives as the city's oldest public building in continuous use, built in 1766 with Scotsman Thomas McBean as architect.
The heart of the building is a modest Georgian hall, topped 30 years later by a somewhat ostentatious spire. Inside in addition to 9/11 exhibits (the chapel was nearly destroyed by the collapsing towers before becoming an anchor of the community as it grieved), you'll find the pew where George Washington worshipped from 1789 to 1790, when New York served as the nation's capital.