Exploring New York City's Financial District

New York City's Financial District (FiDi), also known as Downtown Manhattan or Lower Manhattan, may not sound the most exciting of areas - unless you really like banking, you could argue - but it's an area that represents so much more than mere money.

To start exploring, you need to head to Wall Street - another name the area is referred to as - by taking the subway to Wall Street Station (lines 2, 3, 4 or 5) or Cortlandt Street Station (R or W). There's also the option of the ferry (Battery Park, pictured at the front of the photo above, is where you need to be to visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, or take a cruise along the Hudson, but I'll tell you more about those places another time).

At 26 Wall Street you'll find the Federal Hall National Memorial, which is where George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America - that's his statue standing outside the front of it. You can visit this building for free, though it's not the original building - that was demolished in 1812; the version above was completed in 1842.

Turn around from here and you'll see the New York Stock Exchange, complete with a splendid Christmas tree if you're there in December. Founded in 1792, sadly you can no longer take a public tour of the building because of 9/11, but do take the time to stand with the Fearless Girl Statue and face down the Stock Exchange.

The other famous sculpture in FiDi is the Charging Bull (pictured below). Whilst the Fearless Girl was commissioned for International Women's Day, Arturo Di Modica's Charging Bull represents the 1987 Black Monday stock market crash and aggressive financial optimism and prosperity. You'll see the crowd are queuing at the back of the bull... I'll leave you to work out why!

If you're in this area, you must also visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. I can't stress this enough. If you're of a certain age, you'll probably always remember where you were on that day. For me, it was my second day of sixth form and I was in double Psychology when the news filtered around my college. I spent that evening watching that awful loop of the planes hitting the Twin Towers, seeing the looks of disbelief and anguish on the faces of New Yorkers.

Even if you don't make it inside, take the time to visit the Memorial where you'll find two reflecting pools which sit where the original Twin Towers were. The two pools have inscribed the names of all those who died that day, including at the Pentagon and those in Pennsylvania, plus the six people killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Spot a yellow rose on a name? That means it's that person's birthday. Heartbreaking.

If you are heading inside, tickets cost $26 for adults for basic admission (we used our New York Pass which has a separate line). We didn't take many photos whilst we were there - and there are areas where you, rightly, can't take photos - and I would emphasise that you spend your time there taking everything in.

The Museum is a powerful statement - one that is tastefully done - and, at times, it's obviously horrifically sad, but it's an important part of New York's Financial District and one that, rightly, deserves to be seen and remembered. We left with tears in our eyes and heavier hearts - I'm sure we're not the only ones to leave that way.

 Have you explored New York's Financial District? x

No comments