Hubby had a company celebration to attend this past Friday: a three hour scenic cruise on the Hudson River with nonstop food, open bar and gift card giveaways! Sounds like fun, right? Unfortunately, I couldn’t go since non-employees were not invited. No guests, spouses or significant others…bummer.
But hubby had one of his sporadic great ideas! He suggested we book a room for the night and I come into the city with him, spend a few hours on my own and after his cruise we’d meet up, see some sights, have dinner and just enjoy a little getaway. Yay! The last few times we’d been to the City it was as a family and our visits took us into Midtown for Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Intrepid Sea, Air, Space Museum, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. For this getaway we could do whatever I wanted. I considered booking a room near the South St. Seaport. I thought it would be meaningful since it’s where hubby and I had our first date twenty-five years ago, but we were there just a couple of years ago. I’m not drawn to the theater and Broadway shows, so I was leaning to go into lower Manhattan.
Ultimately I thought of the Financial District. I’ve only seen the Freedom Tower from far off and I hadn’t yet visited the 911 Memorial. I also had never been to see some of the other landmarks in the area like historic Trinity Church or Battery Park at the very tip of Manhattan, with its views to the Hudson River and Lady Liberty. So that’s where we went and I hit all of those sights, along with one I hadn’t heard of and just learned about: Saint Paul’s Chapel. It is part of Trinity Church Parish, and since the original Trinity Church was destroyed in a fire in 1776, St. Paul’s became the only Episcopalian house of worship for a time until the present Trinity Church was built. Saint Paul’s is where George Washington went to pray after his inauguration as our nation’s first president in 1789. Washington, DC was not yet our nation’s capital. At that point in time, New York City actually served as our capital. Such fascinating history! I was thrilled to visit both houses of worship, though Saint Paul’s is currently under renovation and I couldn’t go inside. Both have a churchyard with historic gravestones dating back to the 1700’s.
Hubby joined me to see the 911 Memorial and for a walk down to Battery Park on the Hudson River. We enjoyed the Hudson river waterfront, the gardens, panoramic views of the skyline behind us, and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island out on the river (which we’re visiting later this Fall!). We walked through the round Castle Clinton, and admired the pretty Church of Our Lady of the Rosary which is also the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Heading back toward our hotel, we passed the beautiful Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House, which now houses the Museum of the American Indian. A bit further up the street is the famous Charging Bull, a bronze behemoth of a statue that symbolizes the financial industry of the area. It was positively swamped by dozens of people waiting their turn to snap a picture. We had dinner reservations and wanted to freshen up in the hotel beforehand so we hurried along.
And by the way, Trinity Place Bar & Restaurant was a fabulous find for dinner in the Financial District. It’s in a former bank vault with the original 35-ton round vault door from the early 1900’s serving as the entrance. Cocktails and dinner were fabulous, super-friendly service, cool location, fair prices and we thoroughly enjoyed it!
This trip I focused more than I had in the past on how intricate and beautiful some of the architecture is on the older buildings. The newer skyscrapers get so much attention for being sleek and modern and really, really tall but there’s so much to admire in their shorter, older predecessors. Of course I snapped a few pictures…
It was a fabulous day and night in New York City’s Financial District!