NEW YORK CITY – Lower Manhattan: Gateway to America! Starting point of New York City! Home of Lady Liberty! And a darn fine place to spend the day.
1. Wake yourself up with a brisk stroll down Manhattan’s West Side promenade. Wink at Lady Liberty, then head to Zucker’s Bagels for a traditional NYC breakfast with a schmear.
2. Below Bowling Green Park is the Beaux Arts beauty the National Museum of the American Indian, home to a terrific traditional costume collection and a spectacular gallery in the round that is usually empty. If it's a nice, warm day, pop into the Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street, a secret garden nook surrounded by skyscrapers.
3. Lunch! Iron chef Julian Medina’s Toloache Taqueria offers delicious spins on Latin fare (on handmade tortillas) and $2 Taco Tuesday. Cross your fingers for the spring comeback of New Amsterdam Market, a high-quality produce and artisan foodstuffs market at the Seaport. Come summer, it’s all about Luke’s Lobster shack on Williams Street.
4. Cruise down past South Street Seaport to check out the varietals at Pasanella & Sons, which has worked hard to rebuild its wine shop in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. (Other historical spots have not fared so well.) Pack a few bottles of Brooklyn moonshine to take home as souvenirs. Pasanella's neighbor, The Paris Cafe, deserves a nod. One of the oldest tap rooms in NYC, it once hosted Annie Oakley and Thomas Edison, among other notables. (Shout out to Teddy Roosevelt!) Word on the street is that they are working to reopen in the area.
5. Speaking of old school, the historically hip Bowne & Co. Stationers is just up a block. The 19th-century print shop is one of downtown's most charming relics, and the letterpress is still going strong. Pick up notecards and wrapping paper before peeking into to the wood-carving nook.
6. The new Magic Mix Juicery is a sleek white temple to all that is cold-pressed and fresh. A green juice or granola snack will keep you company as you make your way to up the Brooklyn Bridge (a marvel of engineering) for a seat on a bench and a look at the grand isle.
6. Or maybe head to Trinity Church, once the tallest building in Manhattan. Back in 1697. In the last pew on the left, you’ll find a map indicating where Alexander Hamilton, Robert Fulton, and others are buried in the church graveyard. Then swing by 1 Wall Street across the street for incredibly gorgeous Art Deco lobby of the Bank of New York.
7. You can’t visit the neighborhood without passing Ground Zero, which is at once a testament to New Yorkers’ fortitude and our fierce respect for history. Free guess passes to the moving memorial are available online.
8. Show me the money! When you book a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank, you'll descend 50 feet below sea level to get a good look at the bedrock. It's made of gold.
9. Time to dip your cup in the communal punch at The Dead Rabbit Grovery & Grog, a brand new tavern that channels old New York. The upstairs parlor focuses on 19th-century mixed drinks; the Irish taproom downstairs serves oysters, stews, pies, and beers in the Anglo-Hibernian tradition.
10. The evening agenda: Steak and baked Alaska at historic Delmonico’s, the first restaurant in American to offer private dining. So classy. Then drinks at Silver Lining, a cozy jazz club and cocktail bar, followed by a turn on the dance floor at The Wooly, a Victorian-style parlor floor tucked away in the landmark Woolworth Building.
And that's just the tip of the island.
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