Zigzagging in New York City: Financial District


The following day started in the Southern apex of Manhattan, called the Financial District. It has a lot to offer to the city’s inhabitants and tourists alike. You can spend a day exploring South Street Seaport (Fulton Street & South Street), which is a vibrant but very touristic place for shopping, dining, and people watching; or you can walk around Wall Street and visit the New York Stock Exchange (Wall Street & Nassau Street); find rest and peace at Trinity Church (Broadway & Wall Street) and admire the historical skyscraper, the Woolworth Building, at Park Place and Barclay Street.I caught a glimpse of the protesters who started the Wall street movement now active worldwide, most of them still asleep. Well, after all, it was Saturday. I also saw the new buildings under construction where the old World Trade Center Twin Towers had been. It made me wonder if those deep wounds were starting to heal. Probably not. 

The weather was gorgeous on this sunny October Saturday. It was an ideal day for a refreshing walk in the Battery Park Esplanade. The skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the brilliantly glistening water framed the animated sight of families with children, joggers, couples of all ages, and visitors of all nationalities.

From Battery Park my walk continued on to South Street Seaport, but only to see the splendid Brooklyn Bridge. The seaport is way too busy with tourists. I much preferred the old Fulton fish market, which had such an authentic flavor to it. The freshly caught fish was quite a sight – in the old days – and the experience at the waterfront was intensified by the odor and noise that surrounded the fish stands. The nostalgic cry over old times died down at the sight of the splendid bridge crossing over to Brooklyn.

The East River shipping history still resonates in some of the street names called ‘slips’. One of the most curious buildings in the area is the First Precinct police station still standing by the river. It was modelled after the fifteenth-century Florentine Palazzo Medici Riccardi. It looks a little like it, without the ancient flavor.

The walk continued through Little Italy, or what little is left of it. The signs on the evocative buildings still give a hint of the Italian neighborhood that used to be here but practically no longer exists. At least you can no longer find it here. The Italian population settled down in other parts of the city, many of them all the way in Brooklyn.

Many of the old tenement houses where immigrants lived are located in this neighborhood, on streets like the Orchard Street.

After admiring some Chinatown fruits, enjoying coffee at Think Coffee in Bowery, the day was nearly over.  Maybe there would have been enough time to have a bite to eat at the historical Katz’s Delicatessen  at 205 Houston Street. There is still something left of the old Jewish neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. The delicatessen is still where it was years ago, where it survived through three depressions, recessions, and two World Wars. When you step into the homey dining room filled with sizzling kitchen smells, the atmosphere takes you back in time. Katz’s serves such delicacies as knishes, latkes, blintzes, pickles, corned beef, pastrami, salami, cheesecake and babka. They also have soups, salads, bagels, hamburgers, and frankfurters. 

The buildings in this area of Bowery and Lower East Side tend to be older, lower buildings. Very attractive, I’d say picturesque.

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