So you’ve decided to take the mid-morning ferry into Manhattan to tool around and enjoy a spring day in lower New York. But what to do? Where to go? Where to eat? Don’t worry I got you covered, here are some ideas!
The ferry leaves you off at the foot of Wall Street on Pier 11. If you simply walked up Wall Street to Broadway, you would have a successful day! You’ll notice that you are walking uphill and as you do, you probably won’t realize that you are walking on landfill until you get to Pearl Street that was the eastern boarder of NY in the early days. The Tontine House was at the corner and was at the heart of the commercial, political and social things going on in the colonial days. When you get to the corner of Pearl and Wall, if you look right about three doors in, you'll see the Full Shilling Bar, a good place for a final beer on your way back.
At Wall and Williams Street you have a couple of things to look at. First, the old Bank of New York Building, which now houses the Museum of Finance, is worth a visit for its display on Hamilton. Across the street is the old Merchants Exchange built after the fire of 1835 and now a Cipriani’s, it’s a very cool structure and there is a bar on the second floor overlooking Wall Street, and is really nice late in the day. Continue up Wall toward Broad Street and you come to Federal Hall, the first Capital Building of the young republic. Definitely climb the stairs and look out at the New York Stock Exchange across the street, it’s a cool view and a good spot for pictures. Then go inside, the exhibits are worth the time. Come back out the front and walk across the street to the JP Morgan office where he ruled the world. On the side of the building look for the indentations on the sides of the wall. Those were from a bomb that blew up in 1920, supposedly by anarchists, although the crime was never solved, and in honor of those that lost their lives, the wall was intentionally left like that.
Continue to walk up Wall Street to Trinity Church where you can see Hamilton and Fulton (the inventor of the Steam Engine) gravesites in the cemetery on the Rector Street side of the church. Slip inside the church for some quiet reflection, but then go down the sides in back of the altar for some older graves too. If you walk outside around the back, you will not be able to walk across the bridge because Trinity demolished the building on the other side and is rebuilding it. It’s pretty interesting to see a bridge that goes to nowhere!
About now you should be hungry and thirsty, so let’s find a few places. Walk up Church Street to Liberty and go in the new Westfield Shopping Center, the third floor has an Eataly, and you have plenty of choices. Downstairs in the basement you can get to the Oculus too. If you want something more interesting, walk a little further up Church and make a right on Trinity Place to Trinity Place Bar & Restaurant. Note the huge vault, you are actually in an old bank. That’s not the only place that has these huge vaults in a bar or restaurant downtown – Capital Grille on Nassau Street and Bobby Vans on Broad Street both have them too, but you have to go downstairs in both places.
If you prefer a simple burger and beer, the Malt House on Maiden Lane, east of Broadway, is pretty good. And if you prefer more of a party atmosphere, go to Stone Street. You can get there by walking down Broad Street to Fraunces Tavern and making a left. When you get behind 85 Broad Street make another left and Stone Street sits right behind the old Goldman Sachs building at 85 Broad Street.
If it’s time to head back, walk around to Pearl Street and follow the curve past more old time bars ‘til you get to Wall Street. There you can make a right and head back to the pier, or slip across the street for one more before the ride home at the Full Shilling. The ferry at the foot of Wall awaits to sail you home. Not a bad day! Hope you enjoy!