The instantly recognizable skyline of New York City’s Financial District might only be rivaled by Midtown, its uptown neighbor. The heart of commerce in the city, the Financial District is so famous that its geographic influence has rubbed off on other cities across the country; now, when you’re going to a city’s financial center, you say you’re “going downtown!”
It’s hard to pick just one main attraction of the Financial District. The neighborhood is naturally a huge draw for business travelers, particularly those traveling for a conference or who work for a global company. Besides just its gleaming skyscrapers full of offices, the neighborhood has grown to accommodate the 9-5 crowd with its numerous bars, restaurants, and nightlife spots that attract young professionals looking to unwind during happy hour. However, even those not traveling for work will enjoy the district’s famous attractions including the New York Stock Exchange, Battery Park, and One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.
Whatever brings you to the Financial District, New York Habitat is happy to welcome you to the neighborhood! With our innovative approach to the apartment search and new types of accommodations available including apartments in New Jersey and corporate rentals for business travelers, visiting the Financial District for business or leisure is easier than ever. Keep reading to discover how to experience the Financial District from a unique perspective!
The transformation of the Financial District
No area of the city better understands the appeal of a new perspective than the Financial District. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, New Yorkers, from citizens to celebrities to the government, understood the need to rebuild and revitalize this area of Lower Manhattan. Construction began on the new One World Trade Center, which would serve not only as the new headquarters for international trade in the United States, but also a symbol of the city and country’s resilience in the face of adversity.
The new building, opened in 2014, is impossible to miss in the New York skyline, as it’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. For these reasons, the One World Trade Center is a great place to begin your tour of the Financial District!
First and foremost, visitors to One World Trade Center can see the city from a new perspective at the One World Observatory, an observation deck on the 100th floor of the building. The deck offers unparalleled views of the district, the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and New Jersey. It attracts millions of visitors per year, so booking tickets ahead of time is recommended!
For a beautiful yet sobering perspective, visit the 9/11 Memorial at the base of the tower. The park is free to enter and features a beautiful grove of oak trees and two large waterfalls and reflecting pools in the footprints of the original World Trade Center towers. A visit to the park is key to understanding New York City history as a whole, but reverence and respect is necessary for your visit. To gain more insight, you can also visit the National September 11 Museum located on the grounds of the park (admission is ticketed).
The Financial District gets down to business
The Financial District is well-named as the core of New York City’s business and commerce and one of the most important business districts in the entire world. Businesspeople from around the globe visit, live, and above all, work in the district, cementing NYC’s status as a global city and establishing the need for plenty of short-term accommodations.
Even if you’re not coming to the Financial District for work, there’s one attraction you can’t miss: The New York Stock Exchange! The building at 11 Wall Street has appeared numerous times on the silver screen, including in the film Wall Street, leading many to refer to the Stock Exchange itself as “Wall Street.” While the building’s interior is not open to the public, the stunning Roman architecture of the NYSE and its neighboring buildings are worth seeing from the outside. The building’s façade is often draped with a large American flag, cementing its status as an integral part of the nation.
Also nearby is the bronze Charging Bull statue at the intersection of Morris Street and Broadway. The statue is a symbol of America’s capitalist spirit and is a popular photo spot for tourists. See the statue and more Financial District hot spots with our video guide!
The Financial District at a slower pace
Despite the thrill of the neighborhood’s constant motion and workaholic spirit, it can be nice to take a minute to slow down. When you move away from major attractions, the Financial District has plenty of unique spirit and appealing things to do for residents and visitors alike to craft their own experience and live like a local! From a physical standpoint, part of the Financial District’s appeal is its waterfront location. There are plenty of ways to experience the NYC waterfront all throughout the neighborhood, including dining by the water, taking a walk, visiting attractions like South Street Seaport, and even boating or taking a trip on the Staten Island Ferry. As a bonus, the neighborhood’s waterfront location makes it an easy trip to the Statue of Liberty.
For a brush with nature, you can spend time in Battery Park, a 25-acre green space at the southwestern tip of Manhattan. The park is an excellent spot to watch the sunset over the water, contains multiple sculptures, art pieces, and memorials, and is a popular and scenic place to walk or jog. During the week, you can also find multiple food trucks to enjoy for a cheap lunch in the area!
Along with the revival of Lower Manhattan, the neighborhood has transformed into a premiere shopping and dining destination. The neighborhood is brimming with everything from luxury steakhouses to trendy gastropubs, and all the way down to cheap dollar pizza joints. The hearty business scene is conducive to plenty of places for professionals to hang out after work, so you’ll find plenty of stylish bars and brewpubs to mingle with locals.
The renovation of Brookfield Place, a business center formerly known as the World Financial Center, completed in 2014. The complex is home to the offices of numerous major companies including Merrill Lynch and American Express, but also the Winter Garden Atrium, a beautiful glass-domed building hosting 10 stories of event and retail space. It’s also full of trees and plants, making it a great place to spend a rainy day!
A new perspective on Financial District living from a New York Habitat apartment
The Financial District may surprise you; it’s an exciting area of the city in which to live and balances hard work with plenty of opportunities to explore. If you dream about making the Financial District your temporary home, a furnished apartment rental might be a wise idea. Living in an apartment offers the personalized experience of being able to explore the city at your own pace and effortlessly blend in with the local way of life. The freedom to cook at home, wake up and depart when you please (without worrying about housekeeping), and work remotely is all possible in a furnished apartment. Many are also equipped with extra storage for longer stays, laundry facilities for keeping clean, and wireless internet for staying connected.
What’s more, working with New York Habitat can be to your advantage. Knowing the massive global appeal of the Financial District, our agency offers specialized corporate rental services for housing employees on extended business trips or relocations. Apartment rentals are often more attractively priced for an extended trip than housing in a hotel. Plus, our agents are trained to liaise with both the employee tenant and their company, as well as the landlord. The personal touch of a human connection is at the heart of what we do!
New York Habitat is also excited to announce our new selection of rentals in New Jersey, an appealing place to stay for those based in the Financial District. Our rentals in Jersey City and Hoboken are easily accessible from Lower Manhattan and even as far uptown as Midtown thanks to the PATH trains, an underground mass transit system that runs alongside the NYC subway in Manhattan.
If you truly want a unique perspective on NYC, try staying in a whole new state! Because of its stateside location away from the high rents of Manhattan, a rental in New Jersey may even save you some money. As always, the assistance of our agents is at your disposal, and we are proud to be licensed in two states.
Transportation in the Financial District
No tribute to the new perspective on the Financial District would be complete without mentioning the neighborhood’s comprehensive subway connections! The Financial District boasts the title of being the most well-connected area of NYC, with an average walking distance of just 0.1 miles from residents’ apartments to a subway stop. The district’s revitalization has also led to some pretty impressive station architecture that’s worth a visit by itself!
First up is Fulton Center, a large subway station complex that is a hub for eight different trains (2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z) and connects to four others (E, N, R, W). The complex opened in 2014 and hosts 30,000 square feet of retail space alongside its transportation hub.
If you’re coming from New Jersey or just want to feast your eyes on a stunning piece of architecture, then the Oculus and Westfield World Trade Center mall are the places for you! The station connects to Fulton Center and is a terminal station on the PATH train. Enter into the lobby of the mall and station complex, the Oculus, and you’ll be treated to the sight of a soaring, sloped white ceiling flooded with light thanks to glass panes at the top. Strolling through the Oculus has become an attraction in itself, and the 365,000 square-foot shopping center opened in 2016, offering an attractive option for some retail therapy.
18 years after the 9/11 attacks, the Financial District has become a thriving area of New York City, a true testament to the city’s ability to rebuild, and visitors and businesspeople alike can appreciate a new perspective on the famous area. If you’re ready for a new perspective, combine your tour with a furnished apartment or vacation rental and completely reimagine your NYC experience!