Living in the Financial District: Things to Do and See in the Financial District, New York

The Financial District—The Tip of Manhattan, the Top of the World

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At the confluence of the Hudson and East Rivers, the Financial District, or FiDi, has become one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Manhattan, with the number of residents increasing by almost a third between 2014 and 2018. Its resurgence as a residential hot spot can be attributed in part to spectacular waterfront views, newly renovated condos and outstanding public transportation options. Fast-paced and bustling with financial workers and tourists during daytime hours, the evening gives way to the after-work crowd and residents. There is no shortage of things to do with dining options and cocktail bars around the World Trade Center, South Street Seaport and the curvy, cobbled Stone Street serving well into the night.

Where is the Financial District Located in NYC?

The Financial District is in Lower Manhattan, spanning from the East River to the Westside Highway and south of Tribeca and the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • East to West Boundaries: East River to West Street
  • North to South Boundaries: Frankfurt Street to State Street
  • Subway: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, C, J, M, Z, R, W Trains
  • Ticket out of the City: “The Oculus” WTC PATH Station, Wall St./ Pier 11 ferry terminal

What to Do in the Financial District?

The Financial District, once known solely for Wall Street, is fast becoming one of the most sought-after residential neighborhoods in Manhattan. Offering a unique mix of classic New York City institutions and contemporary residences, FiDi has also become the city’s hottest dining scene with some of the most exciting new restaurant openings in Manhattan happening here. World-famous chefs Tom Colicchio, Jose Garces, Joel Robuchon, Nobu Matsuhisa and Keith McNally have all made the Financial District a dining destination.

Lower Manhattan has undergone a renaissance in the years since 9/11. Once quiet after Wall Street's closing bell rang, the area now draws locals and tourists in equal measure, whether they're seeking designer clothing at the Oculus or epicurean treats from Eataly. With the completion of the World Trade Center complex, new and newly renovated buildings have sprung up, offering residents and visitors extensive dining options, award-winning cocktail bars, and stellar shopping outlets. Elegant patisseries and coffee shops; upscale gyms, yoga, Pilates, and barre studios; and extensive green spaces, parks, and greenways continue to entice new residents to the area. The revitalized South Street Seaport offers free summer concerts, bi-weekly outdoor film screenings, free outdoor workout classes, and pop-up stores and restaurants, such as the Seaport Food Lab, which features eight chefs in one-week residencies. The nearby reclaimed Pier 17 opened in July 2018, offering dynamic food, drink, art, architecture, retail, and entertainment to residents and visitors alike.

Lower Manhattan may not spring to mind when your think of art installations, however, the area directly below Chambers Street forms a giant open-air art museum spanning one square mile of the Financial District. There are dozens of temporary and permanent sculptures from world-famous artists throughout. Pay a visit to Isamu Naguchi’s Red Cube (140 Broadway) and Sunken Garden (28 Liberty Street). Tourists flock to Arturo di Modica’s Charging Bull, an iconic symbol of Wall Street. Originally sited in front of the New York Stock Exchange, it’s installed on Broadway just below Mark Di Suvero’s Joie de Vivre and John Seward Johnson II’s Double Check. Jeff Koons’s polished red stainless-steel Balloon Flower, an homage to the survivors of the September 11 attacks, is at 7 World Trade Center. Local brick and mortar art galleries include the World Trade Gallery, which represents many contemporary New York City artists.

What to See in the Financial District?

The Financial District boasts an illustrious history. It’s the location of Manhattan’s oldest parish (Trinity Church, established in 1697), and the former site of the New York Cotton and Cocoa Exchanges. Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States in 1789, is located at 26 Wall Street. More recently, the site of the 9/11 attacks, the somber National September 11 Memorial and Museum, in the footprint of the Twin Towers, is also here. Today, rising above it all is the observatory atop the Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center, soaring a symbolic 1,776 feet over the memorial.

The retail market in the area has been booming lately, with new luxury shops at Brookfield Place and the World Trade Center. Hermès, Burberry, Tiffany & Co., and Saks Downtown are just a few of the luxury brands that have opened stores in the area. The “Oculus,” the centerpiece of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, incorporates 78,000 square feet of multi-level space, luxury retail and dining. The demand for residential property continues to grow with former office buildings being converted into high-end condos. A 1,436-foot-high luxury residential and commercial tower at South Street is in the works. The city has renovated the East River Waterfront Esplanade, a two-mile-long public space that encompasses the Pier 15 bi-level park with its large lawn, concessions, continuous bike trail, and stunning waterfront views.

Where to Eat in the Financial District?

The Financial District is Manhattan’s newest dining hot spot. Award-winning chefs continue to flock to Lower Manhattan and notable openings include Tom Colicchio’s Fowler and Wells and Keith McNally’s French Bistro Augustine, both at the Beekman Hotel. Chef Jose Garces’ Spanish Tapas restaurant Amada is at the Brookfield Place, also the home to Le District, a French marketplace, and its Michelin-starred hideaway, L’Appart. Chef Daniel Boulud has opened his third outpost of Epicerie Boulud in the Oculus at the World Trade Center. For a taste of Italy, head over to Eataly Downtown’s Osteria della Pace, to enjoy southern Italian fare and breathtaking views in an intimate setting.

Stone Street, New York City’s first paved street, dates back to 1658 and offers some of the best dining options in Lower Manhattan today. Summertime sees this charming cobblestone pathway decked out with picnic tables, umbrellas, and locals. Restaurants and bars such as Stone Street Tavern, Ulysses Public House, Route 66 Smokehouse, and the historic Fraunces Tavern line the street offering a European vibe coupled with delicious food and drink.

What Schools are in the Financial District?

As families are increasingly drawn to the Financial District, enticed by relatively lower prices, as compared to Tribeca and other downtown neighborhoods, the need for schools in the area has increased. A New York Times article dubbed the neighborhood “Diaper District,” highlighting its changing demographics. Two new public elementary schools have opened on Spruce Street and Peck Slip in recent years. More are on the way. A 476-place elementary school, scheduled to open in 2019, will occupy the first eight floors of a 500-foot tower at 42 Trinity Place. Private school options include the coeducational Leman Manhattan Preparatory School. It is also New York City’s only boarding school and caters to students from early childhood through 12th grade.

How Many People Live in the Financial District?

Population: 57,627

What Languages Are Spoken in the Financial District?

Language: English

What is the Currency in the Financial District?

Currency: USD

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