Lower Manhattan While We Were Away


Great Guest post from Shobha George. Here’s another one

Family Travel in Lower Manhattan

In a city that never stands still, I find it ironic that the oldest part of Manhattan inhabited by European settlers is also the part that has some of the newest land mass.  In the early 17th century, the Dutch settled the tip of Manhattan and set up a battery of cannons to protect their colony. This area came to be known as the Battery. From the 19th century though, the original shoreline of Manhattan harbour was extended by many acres as landfill began to be deposited in the area gobbling up bits of the East River like a diabetic in a candy store.#FamilyTravel in #lowermanhattan #NYC via @DishOurTown

The World Financial Centre

The original construction of the Twin Towers provided a huge quantity of that landfill.  On the landfill, the World Financial Centre was built in the 1980’s.  After the destruction of the 9/11, the area had to be revamped again.  The World Financial Centre is now the recently opened swanky shopping and office space, Brookfield Place.  When we visited at the end of 2015, Brookfield Place was full of life as the centrepiece for holiday festivities in the area and a fabulous new ice skating rink.  Brookfield Place is also a foodie destination with both cafes and restaurants upstairs and Le District (a French-style shopping street) downstairs.#familytravel in #lowermanhattan in #NYC via @DishOurTown

The Battery Conservancy

Along with the re-emergence of the area around the Twin Towers, the Battery Conservancy  is revamping the whole 25 acres of the Battery Park area nearby.  When the park is finished, it will have bike paths, pedestrian walkways, playgrounds and gardens.  This revamp will restore the area to its 19th century prominence when Manhattan harbour was a popular promenade location.  You can see the restoration process of some original monuments are still underway because they are covered in scaffolding.#familytravel in #lowermanhattan in #NYC via @DishOurTown

The Seaglass Carousel

The Seaglass Carousel is a new attraction in Battery Park.  Opened in August of 2015, the carousel is a reminder of the New York Aquarium which was located nearby during the early part of the 20th century.  The mechanised fish that are the rides look like they are made of seaglass. They shimmer and shine as if you are underwater.  My children were completely charmed by the gentle ride. One unusual feature of the carousel is that the mechanical parts are built underneath the floor so that it really looks like the fish are gliding around in a luminescent bowl.  It costs $5 for about a 3 minute ride. [sc name=”booking”]

Toys “R” Us

(On a side note, the 60 foot ferris wheel at Toys ‘R’ Us (and the store itself) at Times Square closed down after 14 years of delighting children. I remember my daughter’s first time on the ferris wheel when she was 3 years old.  She was screaming her head off because she thought it went so high. The Seaglass Carousel would have been a much better alternative for her if it had been around back then).
#familytravel in #lowermanhattan in #NYC via @DishOurTown

Path Station

The Seaglass Carousel took almost a decade to build and cost $16 million.  That price, however, is merely a drop in the bucket though if you are looking at the Path Station designed by Spanish starchitect, Santiago Calatrava.  Only parts of the station have been opened even though the whole thing was supposed to have been finished in 2007.  Originally intended to cost $2 billion, the project is now at $4 billion.  When the station is finally finished, it will be the most expensive train station in the world.
#familytravel in #lowermanhattan in #NYC via @DishOurTown


When we visited in December, construction  on the Calatrava station was still a work in progress.  The finished parts that are visible are stunning.  A spined arc of steel spikes pierce the blue sky in sharp relief against the surrounding skyscrapers .  I can see the vision that Calatrava intended – a bird with its wings ready to take flight – a moment of transition caught for eternity.  He probably intended a phoenix rising from the ashes of 9/11 but in New York City, you know it’s got to be a pigeon.#familytravel in #lowermanhattan in #NYC via @DishOurTown

Battery Park City

You can get a bird’s eye view of the changes in Lower Manhattan’s shoreline and the regeneration of the Battery with a helicopter tour.  We took a half hour tour with Helicopter Flight Services  located next to the Staten Island ferry terminal. Our helicopter pilot pointed out lots of new parts of Manhattan in addition to Battery Park City.  For example, only part of Governor’s Island in New York harbour is original and the rest is landfill.#familytravel in #lowermanhattan in #NYC via @DishOurTownThe Early Dutch settlers would not recognise the shoreline of the Manhattan island they had settled.  Yet, they would definitely recognise the hustle and bustle of the residential and commercial spirit that has been the life blood of the area.  As the French say, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
If you need a recommendation on a hotel stay, Shobha and her family stayed at the W Downtown during her visit in lower Manhattan, which is walking distance from all the attractions above.
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Best of Brooklyn Pizza via @DishOurTown

Shobha George’s brief bio: My family and I love to travel, to learn more about different countries and to experience new cultures. We also like our hotels, good food, and other comforts. Join us on our adventures! Also follow Shobha and her family on her blog: JustGoPlaces, Instagram, and Facebook.



0 Replies to “Lower Manhattan While We Were Away”

  1. I lived in Battery Park for a couple years. I left in 2013, and you won’t believe how much has changed since THEN! The food mecca of Brookfield Place was a randomly empty office atrium and while we were starting to see a few exciting restaurant openings, they were nothing compared to what’s going on downtown these days. Last summer I made a visit back and basically ate may way through town – per normal!

    1. Julie, we lived in Chinatown and have been traveling full-time since July 2015. I see and read about all the changes through friends like Shobha and am always so happy to see our hometown going through such fantastic changes.

  2. I think you covered an often overlooked area of Manhattan, especially when it comes to family travel. Thanks for all the details and the ever growing list of must-see places in NYC!

    1. Downtown NYC is where my family lives so it’s so nice to see a good friend like Shobha and other visitors enjoy it.

  3. I would love to try the seaglass carousel, I think it looks awesome and fun!

    1. I’d like to try it too!

  4. I think I would like to try the seaglass carousel and the helicopter ride around Staten Island —makes for a cool day out.

    1. Shobha and her family had a blast!

  5. Shobha, we visited NYC last January for the New York Times Travel Show. I was especially taken with the Battery Park area and other sites in Lower Manhattan. Hopefully, we will be able to return before too long and explore more amazing features.

    1. I will relay your message to Shobha, Howard. Our hometown is truly amazing and we absolutely love the Battery Park area.

  6. Lower Manhattan’s waterfront has undergone so much change since 9/11 and the construction continues. I love walking around down there and seeing what’s new. Did you visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum? I found it to be incredibly well-done. BTW, I’m so impressed you have your history correct with the Dutch! (I teach this curriculum.) Even Americans tend to conveniently pass over this fact and think of the 13 colonies all starting out with the English.

    1. Yes, Shobha and her family did visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum and also thought it was well done. She’s also a big history buff and knows her culture well. Thank you for reading!

  7. Wow, lower manhattan looks a lot different from when I was there in 2011! Looks like an amazing area to go for a long walk. I’m kind of jealous though because i’ve always wanted to do one of those helicopter tours – I bet it was amazing!

    1. Yes, it seems like it’s changed from when we left it on July 2015! We didn’t see that carousel and the Path Station wasn’t complete yet. Also, the food courts were not plentiful.

  8. I can’t wait to go back to NYC! There’s so much to see already, and then with all of this stuff being built… The Seaglass Carousel looks especially cool!

    1. There’s always something new in our hometown, that’s why we wanted to continue this series so we can be still be in the know!

    1. We will be home by then, Trisha. Keep in touch and we’d be happy to show you around!

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