Financial District History & Culture
Long before its trendy acronym, the Financial District was known as New Amsterdam, the birthplace of what we now call New York City. While remnants of those earliest days can be hard to find, the most visible link to the past is the area’s near-labyrinthine street plan, designed and laid out well before planners created the (more or less) symmetrical grid dividing up Manhattan above Houston Street. Broadway, Wall, Bridge, and others follow the same routes they have for centuries. St. Paul’s Chapel, constructed in 1766 on Broadway near Fulton Street, exemplifies Late Georgian church architecture and is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan. And though they were built in more recent centuries, don’t discount impressive skyscrapers such as the Woolworth Building or One World Trade Center. Of course, you can also find any dose of history among the neighborhood’s collection of museums and memorials.