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Get to know the Financial District

The southern tip of Manhattan, below Chambers Street on the west side and the Brooklyn Bridge onramps on the east, holds a dense and historic neighborhood. The Financial District, or FiDi, is home to many iconic sites, including Wall Street, the World Trade Center, and Battery Park. Wandering its blocks is a journey through the layers of New York’s past: Beaver, Pearl, and Nassau — and their irregular routes — evoke the days when New York was a small Colonial trading post, despite the glass-and-steel towers that today soar above their narrow lanes. Old and new coexist differently at South Street Seaport, where the tall ships and low-rise storefronts might seem completely frozen in time if not for the array of modern-day restaurants mingling alongside. A dozen subway lines and multiple ferry routes converge in the area, offering short rides to the rest of Manhattan and across the East River to DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, and beyond.

Nearby Neighborhoods:

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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.

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Financial District Dining & Shopping

Given that it is primarily known for its numerous financial institutions, you could be forgiven for thinking that FiDi becomes a veritable ghost town at the end of a business day. But, an eruption of amenities has allowed the neighborhood to balance its “work hard” attitude with a “play harder” lifestyle. The South Street Seaport’s rebirth as a shopping and nightlife destination in 1982 was ahead of its time. It continues to draw diners and shoppers from points farther north, especially on sunny summer evenings. Stone Street’s eastern section is stacked with restaurants and bars, offering quaint outdoor dining along a cobblestone path. Retail space has grown exponentially along with real estate. If you’re looking for luxury shopping, the Financial District should more than have you covered.