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September 23, 2015 |  544 Views
Neighborhood Roundup: The Financial District/Battery Park
By Evan Kanarakis
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Situated at the most southern tip of Manhattan, the Financial District and Battery Park roughly encompass the area from Chambers Street in the northwest to the vicinity of Worth and Catherine Streets in the northeast, just south of Manhattan Bridge. To the west is the Hudson River, the East River to the east, and New York Harbor to the south. Traditionally the most important business district in the city, it is now also witness to considerable residential expansion, most notably with the planned community of Battery Park City in the most southwestern corner of the neighborhood.

 

For the visitor, there are a great many sites of cultural and historic importance to be found in the area, and from an architectural perspective alone, it’s worth exploring the jigsaw streets of the neighborhood on foot (the Woolworth Building, One World Trade Center and City Hall are notable highlights). In the blocks around Wall and Broad Streets, the roads are actually pedestrian-only, and it’s here that you’ll find such landmarks as the New York Stock Exchange (11 Wall Street) and Federal Hall (26 Wall Street). A short stroll northwest takes you to Trinity Church (75 Broadway), the Episcopal Parish Church founded in 1697, and to the recently opened National September 11 Memorial & Museum (180 Greenwich Street), a stirring testament to the tragic events of 9/11. For those seeking out a little green space, Battery Park (Battery Pl. at State St.) offers welcome respite- and stunning views. Of course no trip to Manhattan would be complete without a visit to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, and a short ferry ride from Battery Park can take you to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Back in the northeastern reaches of the neighborhood, those seeking out even more world-famous scenery can walk across the famous Brooklyn Bridge, opened in 1870.

 

 

 

Harrys Cafe and Steak

 

As might be expected in a part of the city so busy with bankers and politicians, there are a great many restaurants here that cater to the ‘power lunch’ crowds -and their expense accounts. Popular options for the steak and whiskey crowd include Harry’s Café and Steak (1 Hanover Sq. at Stone St.), Mark Joseph Steakhouse (261 Water St. at Peck Slip) and, open since 1837, historic Delmonico’s (56 Beaver St, nr. William St.). Among several ‘firsts’ that took place at the latter, it was the first dining establishment in America to be called by its French name, ‘restaurant’, and, along with the noted ‘Delmonico’ preparation of steak also lays claim to having invented such dishes as Lobster Newberg, Baked Alaska and Eggs Benedict. Not too shabby.

 

 

 

Barbalu Restaurant

 

On weekends, the aforementioned Harry’s is a worthy destination for brunch, serving up unlimited ½ liter carafes of champagne and your juice of choice with the order of any entrée, and the brunch and friendly service over at the French-inspired North End Grill (104 N End Ave at Vesey St.) is another favorite with locals. Francophiles are appropriately excited about the newly opened Le District (225 Liberty St.), a gargantuan foodie market comprised of four separate ‘districts’: market, garden, café and restaurant. Other dining highlights in the neighborhood include the upscale El Vez (259 Vesey St. at North End Way) for Mexican, while for Italian cuisine that perhaps isn’t all that innovative -but certainly dependable and consistent in quality- head to Barbalu (227 Front St. nr. Beekman St.). Don’t make the mistake of only stopping in for dinner, though, as they until 4pm every day they feature a tasty sandwich menu (we keep coming back for the imported tuna, arugula and homemade caper mayonnaise sandwich).

 

 

 

Shake Shacks Battery Park

 

Over in the South Street Seaport, seafood and traditional American cuisine features heavily at Trading Post (170 John St. nr. FDR Drive), and their cellar bar stocks a vast array of whiskey. Last of all, those looking for more affordable fare can look to grab a burger at Shake Shack’s Battery Park City location (215 Murray St.), a taco at Toloache Taqueria (83 Maiden Ln. nr. Gold St.) or a sandwich at Dave’s Hoagies (26 Cedar St. nr. William St.). As banker friends will attest, plenty of no-frills options for Chinese and Japanese abound in the Financial District, but the quality of food doesn’t always hit the mark. Explore at your own peril.

 

When it comes to the afterhours, whiskey enthusiasts will appreciate the Fraunces Tavern (54 Pearl St. at Broad St.), but the tourist crowds can make it a little stifling at times. If so, you may prefer the more sedate environs of Cedar Local (25 Cedar St nr. William St.) or Vintry Wine and Whiskey (57 Stone St. nr. William St.). Both mix great cocktails, and at Vintry a truly impressive whiskey and wine menu awaits. Sun-seekers enjoy the outdoor seating at Ulysses (95 Pearl St. nr. William St.), or the rooftop bar at Loopy Doopy (the Conrad Hotel, 102 North End Ave. at Vesey St.), while Stout NYC FiDi is a popular sports bar destination (90 John St. nr. Gold St.).

 

 

 

The Dead Rabbit

 

Since opening in 2013, The Dead Rabbit (30 Water St. nr. Broad St.) has received countless awards and extensive good press for their inventive cocktails (co-founder Jack McGarry was the youngest-ever recipient of the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail International Bartender of the Year award in 2013). Downstairs is an Anglo-Hibernian pub, while the upstairs Lounge focuses, in the Dead Rabbit’s own words, on “communal punch and 72 historically-accurate cocktails dreamed up by the nineteenth century’s most celebrated bartenders.” Despite the concentration of wealthy powerbrokers in the neighborhood, you still need not go too far afield for quality dive bars. Two favorites are Jeremy’s Ale House in the South Street Seaport (228 Front St. nr. Peck Slip), and the Patriot Saloon (110 Chambers St. nr. Church St.). At the former, 32-ounce cups of cheap beer await, while at the Patriot, country and honky-tonk tunes dominate the jukebox.

 

 

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Evan Kanarakis is an Australian writer whose fiction and non-fiction work has been published around the world. He is also founder of the skateboard design company Devil Street Decks.

 

Evan Kanarakis

evan kanarakis

 

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