History of the Financial District
Located on the southeastern tip of Manhattan, The Financial District is home to some of the country’s most prestigious financial institutions. Consisting of major landmarks such as the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as well as the World Trade Center Museum and Memorial, the Financial District is one of the most historic sectors of the city.
The Federal Hall National Memorial, located on the corner of Wall and Nassau streets, is the very site where George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States in 1789. So while FiDi may be considered the financial lifeblood of the city, it is also an important landmark in the humble beginnings of the U.S.
Famous Landmarks and Attractions
World Trade Center Memorial and Freedom Tower
First and foremost, a trip to the Financial District wouldn’t be complete without visiting the 9/11 memorial and museum. Pay your respects to the victims and the events of that day by taking a walk around the two fountains, which are located where the Twin Towers once stood. Surrounding the perimeter of the fountains are the names of the thousands of people who lost their lives during the attacks. Inside the museum, you can find various interactive displays that walk visitors through the series of events that unfolded on that day. The experience is very powerful, and it’s something every New Yorker, American and visiting tourist should see, at least once.
One World Observatory
Located at the top of the tallest building in NYC, One World Observatory is a highly-encouraged stop on a tour of FiDi for breathtaking views of the city. Whether you decide to go during daylight hours or once the sun has set and the unmistakable glow of skyscrapers lights up the night, you won’t be disappointed by the seemingly never-ending view of the “Big Apple.” On your impressive elevator ride up 102 floors, you will be taken through the history of New York City’s infrastructure in only 47 seconds!
On a narrow cobblestone stretch in the heart of the Financial District lies Stone Street, and its fascinating history and an array of restaurants and bars make it a must-see. Originally paved in 1658, serving as the first stone-paved street in the city, Stone Street is now home to many historic establishments, including The Dubliner, Stone Street Tavern, and Adrienne’s Pizzabar. Expect to find it busy during the weekday lunch block, but for good reason!
Charging Bull Statue
This iconic sculpture, though a popular spot for photos, is essentially the ideological backbone of the Financial District. Serving as the embodiment of the capitalistic mindset of New York, paying a visit to this historic bronze statue puts you right at the center of the district and close to the New York Stock Exchange. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the can-do, fast-paced culture of the city.
Notable Residential Buildings in the Financial District
1 Wall Street Court
The Cocoa Exchange at 1 Wall Street Court is a pre-war building that dates back to 1904. The 15-floor landmarked building, which once housed space for the New York Cocoa Exchange, is situated on the corner of Pearl and Beaver streets. The building’s convenient amenities include a fitness center, an outdoor entertainment space, and landscaped terraces and balconies that overlook views of the district’s spectacular skyscrapers.
The Beekman Residences consist of 68 condominiums within a 51-story tower at 115 Nassau Street, close to the historic Temple Court, a 10-story building constructed in 1881. The condos within the tower residences include one- to three-bedroom units and penthouses with gorgeous views of downtown Manhattan. Amenities for residents include a private dining room, a media room, a rooftop terrace, and a fitness center.
1 Wall Street
1 Wall Street, located in the heart of the Financial Districts, is one of the finest pre-war condo conversion developments in all of Manhattan. Constructed in 1930, this 52-story building is home to over 560 units. All apartments feature floors made of engineered wood, as well as Miele appliances and washers and dryers. On the 38th and 39th floors, there is a 75-foot indoor pool and fitness center that overlooks Wall Street and the World Trade Center.
20 Exchange, located at 20 Exchange Place, is known as one of New York City’s most iconic towers. Historically referred to as the City Bank-Farmers Trust Building, Twenty Change is 57-stories high with 762 units inside. Amenities include a concierge, an indoor fitness center, a sun deck, and an entertainment lounge. The building is also known for its art deco architecture and has been featured in various movies, including Wall Street, The Amazing Spiderman 2, and Inside Man.
75 Wall Street
75 Wall Street defines world-class luxury with an abundance of amenities. The 42-story tower, located at Wall and Water streets, offers a dramatic 360-degree view of downtown Manhattan from the upper 24 floors. Residents have access to the integrated hotel services, including room service, catering, housekeeping, on-site parking, and valet laundry, as well as a concierge.
Living at 75 Wall means having all you need right at your fingertips. From shopping at Brookfield Place buzzing with prominent brands such as Le District, Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermès, and Burberry, you’ll be at the center of it all. With easy access to nearly every subway line at Fulton Center, to major food markets and restaurants like Dean and Deluca, Eataly, Nobu, El Vez, Blue Smoke, North End Grill, and many more, there’s something for everyone. There’s also the South Street Seaport closeby with its many shops and eateries situated on the East River with stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Financial District Parks
World Trade Center’s Liberty Park
This park, located at the site of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, is rated number four out of 130 parks in New York City according to Tripadvisor — and for good reason. This site, both beautiful and tragic, is an excellent spot for a moment of reflection and a powerful reminder of the resilience of New York City and our nation as a whole.
Bars and Restaurants in the Financial District NYC
Cipriani Club 55, located on Wall Street, is a fantastic spot to plan a business lunch during the week or to enjoy a relaxed dinner with family and friends. This Italian restaurant is a great place to enjoy a cocktail and the scenic city views that overlook its balcony. This New York landmark served as the home of the New York Merchants’ Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, the United States Customs House, and the headquarters of the National City Bank.
Located at 115 Broadway, Trinity Place is a restaurant and bar that offers fine dining and libation at the heart of the financial district. Commissioned by Andrew Carnegie in 1904, Trinity place serves modern American cuisine while allowing patrons to experience old-world splendor. There’s even a bar hidden inside an old bank vault from 1904!
Hole in the Wall
If you’re looking for a great breakfast spot, look no further than Hole in the Wall Cafe and Bar. With its great selections of toasts, smoothies, coffees, and more, this Australian cafe is a perfect place to grab a bite before work or to enjoy a delicious brunch during the weekend with family and friends.
For the best pizza in the Financial District, NYC, head to Kesté’s Wall Street location. Offering a selection of over 20 different pies, the family-run pizzeria is a great spot to grab an authentic and delicious New York slice. If you’re on a budget, Kesté offers their plain Margherita pizza for $5 when you dine-in. Which, in New York City, is a deal that’s pretty hard to pass up.
The Dead Rabbit
Located on Water Street, the renowned Irish-American tavern is home to the largest array of Irish whiskey in the U.S., attracting both FiDi workers and visiting tourists to its taproom. For a quieter, sit-down experience, head upstairs to the parlor for delicious small plates served all evening.
Comedy Clubs in FiDi
If you’re looking for a good laugh, comedy clubs are a fun and popular nighttime activity with a group of friends. And luckily — New York City is home to some of the best in the country. In the Financial District, some great choices are the Dark Horse Comedy Club, Ivy Stand-up, and Caveat.
Financial District NYC Shopping
Located directly across from the World Trade Center Memorial, Brookfield Place is a high-end shopping complex designed for the Financial District resident. With over 30 stores and services, including Tory Burch, Omega, Lululemon, Louis Vuitton, Equinox, and more. Brookfield Place has a wide selection of shops to suit anyone’s needs and desires. Also, the shopping mall is home to a large ice skating rink perfect for birthday parties, corporate outings, special events, or private lessons.
Westfield World Trade Center, Shops at the Oculus
The Westfield World Trade Center, which opened its doors in 2016, is known as the largest shopping complex in Manhattan, consisting of over 120 retail spaces—jam-packed with clothing stores, bakeries, restaurants, and more. Westfield World Trade Center is much more than a mall.
NYSE area boutiques
There are a handful of luxury boutiques, including Hermes and Tiffany & Co., in the immediate vicinity of the New York Stock Exchange, along Wall Street and Broad Streets.
Schools in FiDi
The quality of a child’s education is essential, as it is a critical component for a successful future. If you’re thinking of moving down to FiDi with children, it’s crucial to locate top schools — and FiDi has got you covered.
Here are just a handful of schools that serve the Financial District, and it’s growing family population:
New Explorations into Science, Technology & Math School (K-12)
#6 Best Public Elementary Schools in New York/ #3 Best Public Middle School in New York
The Anderson (K-8)
#57 Best Public Middle School in New York
Stuyvesant High School (9-12)
#1 Best Public High School in New York
Notable Stuyvesant alumni include:
- Lucy Liu is an actress that is best known for playing the role of Ling Woo in the television series Ally McBeal, O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill, and Joan Watson in the crime-drama series Elementary.
- Tim Robbins is an actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and musician. He is best known for his portrayal of Andy Dufresne in the popular prison drama film The Shawshank Redemption.
- Eric Holder is a lawyer who served as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2015. Holder was the first African American to hold the position of U.S. Attorney General during the administration of President Barack Obama
- Paul Reiser is a comedian, actor, writer, and musician. He is known for his roles as Michael Taylor in the 1980s sitcom My Two Dads and Paul Buchman in the NBC sitcom Mad About You.
Townsend Harris High School (9-12)
#3 Best Public High School in New York
Notable alumni include:
- Edward G. Robinson was a Romanian American actor during Hollywood’s Golden Age. He appeared in 30 Broadway plays and more than 100 films during a 50-year career and is best remembered for his tough-guy roles as gangsters in such films as Little Caesar and Key Largo.
- Army Archerd was a columnist for Variety for over fifty years before retiring his “Just for Variety” column in September 2005
- Ira Gershwin was a lyricist who, in collaboration with his younger brother and composer George Gershwin, created over a dozen Broadway shows as well as some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century. Some of these scores include “I Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You,” “The Man I Love,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”
- Julian Schwinger was a Nobel Prize-winning American theoretical physicist. He is best known for his work on quantum electrodynamics.
Bronx High School of Science (9-12)
#4 Best Public High School in New York
Notable alumni include:
- Jon Favreau is an actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. Favreau has starred in various films, including Rudy, Swingers, Very Bad Things, The Replacements, Daredevil, The Break-Up, Couples Retreat, and Chef, which he also wrote and directed.
- Jon Cryer is an actor, comedian, and television director. Cryer’s breakout role came in 1986, where he portrayed “Duckie” in the John Hughes-written film Pretty in Pink.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, cosmologist, planetary scientist, author, and science communicator. He has been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City since 1996.
- Steven Weinberg is a theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his contributions with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow to the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles.
In a city full of attractions for locals, the Financial District is a pleasant surprise amongst the suits and ties. Rich with amenities, attractions, and a luxe social scene, the Financial District has a way of making everyone feel at home, no matter what stage of life you’re in.
Although it’s often filled with corporate workers and entrepreneurs, the Financial District is home to nearly 60,000 people, so what are you waiting for? Come see how great living and working in FiDi can truly be.
Platinum Properties is the leading expert in all-things Financial District. Interested in moving, or touring one of our exclusive properties? Reach out to an agent today to get your home search started.
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