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We covered a lot of ground walking downtown Manhattan in one day! Our morning at One World Observatory and the September 11 Memorial and Museum has already been covered. After eating lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking the narrow streets of the Financial District and Downtown Manhattan, exploring the historical locations and remnants in the city on a gorgeous fall day with perfect temperatures in the high 60s.
From Zuccotti Park, we walked a block south on Broadway to Trinity Church, one of the city’s most famous historic churches which predates the Revolutionary War. The interior was half filled with scaffolding for maintenance, but still beautiful. Outside, we walked the cemetery grounds, noting the monument of Alexander Hamilton with its glowing memory of his personality and character. Nearby, his wife Eliza, sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church, and son Phillip are buried. Hamilton Broadway fans will also note Hercules Mulligan and steamboat engineer Robert Fulton is also buried here.
A couple short blocks east on Wall Street led us to Federal Hall. Here, George Washington took his oath of office as President of the United States in 1789 and Congress amended the Constitution with the Bill of Rights. At the time of our visit, artist Mel Ziegler’s A Living Thing Flat exhibit was on display. Ziegler had traveled through all 50 states to replace tattered flags and brought those worn flags to Federal Hall. As a National Parks Service site, a Junior Ranger program is offered at Federal Hall but the boys weren’t in the mood for structured exploration so we skipped the badge-earning activities and explored the space and exhibits on our own.
From Federal Hall, we walked south towards Battery Park on the old, narrow, winding streets, past charming Stone Street and historic Fraunces Tavern (built in 1719) where George Washington gathered his generals following the last battle of the Revolutionary War.
Remnants of the old Lovelace Tavern from New York’s early Dutch days as New Amsterdam are visible at 85 Broad Street. Located in the existing building’s breezeway across Pearl Street from Fraunces Tavern, the outlines of the 400-year-old tavern are the result of a 1975 archeological excavation of the entire block. An excavated cistern is also visible nearby.
Walking on, we entered Battery Park near the ferry terminal. Being quite obsessed with maps, Mommy easily found the three-dimensional bronze map of the Castello Plan which depicts New Amsterdam as it appeared in 1660. The boys were understandably ready to move on within minutes although Mommy could’ve stayed the rest of the day! We all took a ride on the Seaglass Carousel, a beautiful and unique carousel with fiberglass fish that are lit from within with many colors. Despite being relatively new, the carousel was not busy at all and we were the only ones riding on this particular Thursday afternoon.
After walking through the park, we exited on the west side and continued up the Hudson River Greenway beside West Street. There, we came across a playground so we stopped for a while. These types of New York days are my favorite – just walking around, soaking in the sights and atmosphere. Numerous playgrounds keep the kids happy!
Back at the World Trade Center site, we crossed through Liberty Park and admired The Sphere, the bronze sculpture that stood at the base of the twin towers and survived the towers’ collapse, though heavily damaged.
The sun was setting and our day of exploring was complete. Rather than find a place to eat, we entered the Westfield World Trade Center to browse the choices at Eataly. With a stovetop and food preparation items in our hotel room, we chose to bring fresh pasta, sauce, and cannoli back to the room for dinner. Groceries in hand, we boarded a PATH train back to Jersey and enjoyed a lovely, quiet meal in our room.