The area around South Street Seaport and the Civic Center hosts some of the most beautiful architectures around the city, some of the oldest commercial or mercantile buildings that were renovated. The area developed in the 1600s when the Dutch West India Company began settling here as a port for their commerce.
What used to be the center of New York city’s mercantile life is now made up by a modern shopping area, making Pier 17 a touristic attraction and giving it new life. The pier suffered from great damages after 2012’s hurricane, making many businesses close. So in 2013 they decided to completely replace the damaged building. Unfortunately during my last visit in January 2016 the area still hadn’t been opened, but I really hope they bring back that port-like atmosphere and the Haagen Daaz store with its amazing ice-cream!
I’m sure the new opening will exceed expectations, as they’ll probably improve the shopping area. On Fulton Street you can also find some small nice shops, and I recommend visiting Abercrombie and Fitch here if you want to avoid the crowds of the store on Fifth Avenue. Fulton Street has also been the inspiration for in naming my blog since it is named after Robert Fulton, the engineer and inventor of the steam boat Clermont, which travelled with passengers from New York to Albany and round.
On 279 Water Street you can also find one of New York’s Top Historic Bars the Bridge Café, open since 1794.
Not far from here is the Brooklyn Bridge, another of the city’s symbols. It was completed in 1883 to connect Manhattan with Brooklyn, and spans across the East River. The bridge used to carry horses and rail traffic with a separate walkway for pedestrians. Still today the central, upper pathway is open to pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge appears in many movies, such as ‘Annie Hall’, ‘Once Upon a Time in America’, ‘Godzilla’, and so on.
Not far from here you can walk to the southern point of the island of Manhattan. Here New York city was founded and from Battery Park you can get a ferry boat to travel to the Statue of Liberty and to Ellis Island. Visiting the Statue of Liberty is certainly something to do, even though the view from the top isn’t great, so personally I’d recommend the trip to the island and to the lower level of the statue.
The Ellis Island Immigration Museum is very fascinating to see and learn about, it was the gateway to New York for all the immigrants that came to the United States. Here they were visited and registered, but unfortunately the conditions in which they arrived and were kept were incredibly unhygienic and precarious. About 12 million immigrants arrived to the United States and were processed on Ellis Island in order to decide if they could be let in the country or if they had to be deported.
Right above Battery Park you can walk to Wall Street, the heart of the financial district, where you can see the New York Stock Exchange building. Also the beautiful Trinity Church can be visited, it is one of US’s oldest churches. The symbol of the financial district is the Charging Bull statue, created by the sculptor Arturo di Modica and left on the street. Since it has been moved to Broadway it has become a must for tourist photos.
I want to close off this article talking about the World Trade Center. When I was a child I had the chance to visit the Twin Towers, and have vivid picture of that day. I also have a terrible memory of 9/11 and how, even if far away and seven years old, that attack really shook me and made me understand how much evil exists in the world. Every time I get to visit the city I pass through the site and take a few minutes to think about all the lives that were destroyed on that day, and the families of the victims. I think that they’ve done a really good job with the September 11 Memorial, and the newly built Freedom Tower really does bring hope in a place that is filled with so much sorrow.