As a new transplant to the tri-state area, New York City is quite frightening to me. There are so many buildings, people, restaurants, and stores all crammed into busy streets. In an effort to learn these streets and explore a city that countless people love, I have decided to take the time to learn and explore each area.
On Monday, I took a free walking tour of Lower Manhattan (because if you’ve read my Europe posts, you know that I love a good free walking tour!). I was eager to learn about the area that is right across the river from where I live, where so much history has occurred and where so much of the nation’s finances are managed.
Lower Manhattan is busy. Business people and tourists alike flock through its streets. Arguably the most popular site in this area (and one of the most photographed pieces in all of NYC) is the Charging Bull near Bowling Green Park. Tourists crowd around waiting to take a picture next to the bull’s testicles (there is a myth that it will bring good luck financially… yea I don’t get it either). I enjoyed watching the happenings around the bull; it was hilarious to watch otherwise respectable people giggling as they bent down to take a photo with the testicles! We also visited Battery Park and walked towards the water where we saw the Statue of Liberty. I learned that there is a free Staten Island Ferry every day that takes you passed the Statue of Liberty.
We entered Wall Street, passing the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. Federal Hall is a symbol of history in an area bustling with modernism and its architectural design juxtaposes against the tall high rises that crowd around it. It served as the first capitol building of the United States and was where George Washington was inaugurated. Inside, there are exhibits that are open and free to the public.
The most memorable visit of the day was to the World Trade Center. We spoke about the terrible atrocities that happened there in 2001, and about how the city is working to build it up again in a powerful effort to show resilience. We visited the memorial gardens, which is a beautiful and moving tribute to those who lost their lives on that tragic day. The memorial gardens are free to anyone who wants to visit. There is a museum on site that costs a $24 to enter, unless you come on Tuesdays between 5-7pm, then it is free.
Overall, Lower Manhattan is an exciting, bustling area of the city and you can definitely sense that there are important things going on in the high rises that you walk past on the streets below.