Lower Manhattan, the zero zone (and the ferry to Staten Island)


We have spent the morning where so many symbols of New York are located between tall buildings a few meters away ... Downtown, Wall Street, Zero Zone, Battery Park and many other places to see in Lower Manhattan but also not to see, those huge pools that symbolize the twin towers and now replaces the One World Observatory (awesome) and the 11S Memorial Museum (spooky). To do this, before, we have risen early to enjoy a very special sunrise, which gives you the breeze of a ferry to Staten Island with the Statue of Liberty in the background. !Wonderful!

We tell you the route in detail, the map and how to organize a day that took us in the afternoon to climb East Manhattan between those lesser-known neighborhoods (and that at noon saved us another surprise ...!fly over helicopter New York! UPDATED 2018/2019

By ferry to Staten Island at dawn (with the Statue of Liberty in the background)

Surprisingly Times Square is full of people already at 6 in the morning (don't they sleep?). He meter 1 it takes you in about 25 minutes to South Ferry Station, where the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal is located. Simple? Well, what seemed quite intuitive was not so much when suddenly we see the vehicle stop in Chambers and get off everyone. It turns out that some wagons stay at that station, but a nice New Yorker warns us to run to the ones ahead. !By the hair!

If there is something you all advised us when we started with the planning in the "things to do in New York"was that free ferry to Staten Island at sunset. However, and knowing that it is the best option to enjoy this as well as return at night, we are "two rebels without cause" and we wanted to have a different perspective first thing in the morning. We are not mistaken ...

In case there are people who still have doubts about how to differentiate the free ferry Of the one who is not, do not worry. The free ferry you will see signposted and, in addition, it is the one that leaves the Battery Park, so you will not have the option of confusion. If you don't feel like it or don't have much time, you can choose to eliminate this plan and design a walk to see the Statue of Liberty from afar, from Batery Park. The small free ferry of 7'10, with the sun still hidden, it takes us to Staten Island, the fifth district in discord that we did not even step on or in the "New York Contrast Tour"And what is so special?! What allows you to enjoy the statue of liberty without paying a euro!

In the first leg, a journey of just 10-15 minutes, we just took a picture and enjoyed a pleasant walk. We know that with sunlight everything will be transformed in a matter of minutes and we will also change to the typical ferry that leaves in multi-story films.

Information about Staten Island:In a first trip to New York, it is unfeasible to know all the districts in detail. In the case of Staten Island, we decided to leave it for a second adventure. In fact, the tourist office NYC & Company, among the other places to visit, has emphasized the summer time of the pleasant neighborhood of St. George, considering it as the perfect time to see this beautiful coastal enclave

We have options to return every 15 minutes (see schedules) But it is to see the great ferry that we all have in mind and know that it will be ours.

About the terminals little to tell you, it is the day of the New York people. Some read, others wait for patients, others crowd together waiting for the doors to open and then there we are, haha. As soon as they open there is the option to go to different rooms of the same. Up or down Paula?

We decided to go to the top, since you can access a kind of balconies that give access to the best views from the Ferry and with the sun rising

Tips for sitting on the Staten Island ferry:

One way (from Manhattan to Staten Island) the best option is to be on the right as it will be the way to see the Statue of Liberty. On the way back (from Staten Island to Manhattan) it will be on the left or you can alternate and choose to go ahead (on the ground floor) to see the skyline better than ever.

Shelter you well since the ferry achieves a certain speed and if it is early in the morning or at night when you return, you can go cold outside.

And what could we expect? They say that, almost always, a picture is worth a thousand words

One of those moments that we will no longer forget about our time in New York is that breeze from a ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan watching the Statue of Liberty and with the skyline of Lower Manhattan in the background.

They say that this short journey of 1 km and 10 minutes is "one of the shortest and most fantastic water trips in the world"We don't know if it will be that way, but we discover in him the tranquility and beauty enjoyed by 60,000 passengers every day, which is said soon. Are we going back inside Paulita?

It is true that the terminals, modern, need a little review due to so much traffic but their punctuality and with the sun already hitting hard, we were around 8'15 ready to enjoy the places to see in Lower Manhattan that would occupy the entirety of our morning.

What to see in Lower Manhattan, the south of the Big Apple

We started today to know Manhattan from its lowest part, known as Lower Manhattan or Lower Manhattan or, for others, simply Downtown (so typical in American cities)

To locate ourselves, we return to the already famous article of "New York neighborhoods with detailed maps"and we place this area where we can think that it is, in the lower tip of the Big Apple where we have arrived from the Ferry

We talked in the introduction ofWall street, the zero zone, he Battery Park, he One World Observatoryor the 11S Memorial Museum but we will also find in this area of ​​tall buildings the Cunard Building, the Century21, the St. Paul's Chapel (famous in the sad attacks) or the City Hall

We take a tour of some of those icons that we have seen so many times in dozens of movies and that we were beginning to know today. The route has been something like that ...

And of course, the ride begins in the known Bowling green 1 where the first thing that attracts attention is the famous Wall Street Bull or Charging Bull, that we saw before in other important bags in the world such as Frankfurt, and that is again a huge bronze statue of 3200 kg symbol of optimism, aggressiveness and financial prosperity and where touching the testicles brings luck (they say). The surprising thing, in these times, is to find them in their place (ahem)

The Bowling Green really does not stop being a small park that took the place of an old Dutch fortress in 1733 but it is important because it also marks the beginning of Broadway and has next to it Cunard Building, an old post office building where tickets for Titanic or Lusitania were bought, and where we found a very curious place for breakfast (18 USD)

With energy for the morning? We enter an area that we didn't know much about our planning but that looks fantastic. It is a green area that begins with the Castle Clinton 2, an old stone fort (which currently also serves as a ticket office for excursions to the Statue of Liberty - if you are going to the island or the crown, you will come here) - dated 1808 where the sculpture is also Sphere, formerly in the World Trade Center square and that after the attacks looks like a symbol in this location (the sculpture is also here The Immigrants) or the dock at tours to Ellis Island (A)

However, what has really fascinated us has been Battery park 3 that takes us north in Battery Park City. Nothing remains of the space for British and Dutch artillery used to protect the port in this place. The 70s and 80s transformed this area into a network of walks along the Hudson River that are now used by New Yorkers to relax, practice their daily sports or isolate themselves from the hustle and bustle of other areas to see in Lower Manhattan

By bike, running or just watching some of the best views of New Jersey on the other side of the river (and already with the highest sun), we would not say that we are in that area of ​​offices and large buildings for which this neighborhood stands out ... until that we arrived at World Financial Center or Brookfield Place4 as it is known today, headquarters of large companies and which stands out for its large glazed entrance or the small interior pier.

Formerly some travelers used this point to enter the Winter Garden and get the best views of the zero zone in works after the sad attacks of that 11S that we all remember. Today it is also worthwhile but more for the curiosity of seeing the day-to-day business personalities, always accompanied by that characteristic Starbucks type coffee glass and running from side to side, or that spectacular marble and glass hall that overwhelms

However, if there is something to see in Lower Manhattan to learn part of the history of New York, that is the punished zero zone whose image has nothing to do with those twin towers that we keep in the retina

The zero zone, the One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial Museum

A kind of park, still with the last leaves of autumn, makes us an entrance to this zero zone 5 and suggests shaking our head. At New One World Trade Center stands the imposing One World Observatory near where were the twin towers with a height of 541 m, as if to emphasize a "we have returned" leaving behind the 417 m that the two huge blocks had.

The exact place where the twin towers were located, today are the subject of memorial two huge pools with the names of the almost 3,000 who died on September 11, 2001 both here and in the other attacks. They are the North Pool and the South Pool and, although we will not see it, they have two light bulbs that come on at night forming the silhouette to the infinity of those buildings

We entered the One World Observatory and around 10'15. We had previous reservation made in your own websitealthough we arrived 30 minutes before. Still, we were not troubled to climb immediately without waiting.


If you have a MASTERCARD card, on Mondays you have a special offer of 20% discount buying tickets with it. As? Very simple, entering its official website, adding the entries you want on a Monday, inserting the code MCMONDAY and buying them with that credit card. You will receive the tickets to the email and you will print them (if the coupon is not valid, search on google "mastercard one world observatory"and surely you get to a new one)

If the MCMONDAY does not work for you, you can try this discount code that is also working very well: C21OWO, offers a 20% discount on One World Observatory tickets.

You can check here the updated One World Observatory schedules to better organize your trip.

We used the queue of tickets already bought, we passed the security check and in just a few minutes we "sneaked in" one of the best experiences that New York was going to bring us and that we did not completely know. !! The elevator of the One World Observatory !! Why? We have never seen anything like it. In less than 60 seconds, an elevator rises 500 meters to the 102nd floor, projecting the panoramas that surround us but ... !! since the beginning of the city! That grows as we rise. We will not say more but it is AWESOME.

Upon leaving, some panels show another multimedia projection before opening wide and offering you the first real panoramic view of the city from the so-called See Forever Theater

From there, two floors for us. Before they offer you an audio guide and a tablet with a modern technological application of augmented reality that, oriented to the buildings around you, approaches you with a simple click and explains everything you need, as well as the typical photograph that you can see on departure (without thinking we took it, we are like children, 32 USD). We decided on the "more traditional" visit starting with the 101st floor and then down to the 100th floor Main Observatory

The Statue of Liberty, New Jersey and the area already covered on one side, the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street or Lower East Side on the other ...

... and even the unmistakable Empire State Building or Chrysler Building in the distance, perfectly visible on a day like today almost touching the clouds

On the 101st floor there are also a small bar-cafeteria, a restaurant and some shops below. We have not missed the opportunity to have some coffee at "half a kilometer high" (12 USD) before continuing to enjoy the views and, really, the tranquility of the observatory at this time without any agglomeration

Once rested and always at a quiet pace today, we have descended back to the zero zone. Here is another attraction that deserves a long visit but which, we warn you, is VERY HARD ...9/11 Memorial Museum6 of which we also brought in your own website To avoid queues.

From the moment you go down the escalators and start to see the remains of the old foundation and forged of the twin towers, you realize where you are entering. The one that deserves a separate article, place to remember a sad story but necessary to remember where we came from, who were important and try to learn lessons in the future. Places like him Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Kilmainhall Gaol, Dublin, the Budapest Terror Houseor the Kigali Memorial Center of Rwanda which, each with its connotations, represent the darkest mirror in which to look at ourselves as people.

Between large spaces that retain remains of the original structure or phrases not to forget, a labyrinth of rooms and remains of the 11S terrorist attacks is interspersed in which thousands of people lost their lives. The antenna of one of the towers, columns removed in the rubble, fire trucks, unconscious heroes of the tragedy ...

There are certain rooms that do not allow photographs or video, nor do you need it. Are truly creepy, with the real recordings of what was happening, between firefighters who perished, police chiefs or even the control tower with flights that crashed in other nearby places, including the pentagon.

Wall Street, where the money moves (and the food stands)

Moved by what we had witnessed, we lost ourselves down the street to enter fully into another important area to see Lower Manhattan and known to all.

The Trinity church 7 also deserves a stop, neo-Gothic and surviving years. Today he lives among numerous skyscrapers as a place of worship for Christians but began seeing the ships that arrived at the port dock. A treasure to see in Lower Manhattan.

Wall street 8 does not need presentations. He Federal Hall, the George Washington Statute, the facade of the New York Stock Exchange and other multiple emblematic buildings so many times seen in news or movies, they follow each other as you go through its streets.

It goes without saying that we are in "where money moves", the largest stock and currency market in the world and it is also seen that food stands. The day to day of all these bankers, executives and great businessmen, surely the time to eat is scarce and as you walk down the street you find food vans to which more appetizing and for all tastes. We weren't going to be less…! How hungry !! ($ 9.86)

At this time of day and just 10 minutes from here, we approach the Downtown Heliport (B). Sounds like what it is ... Helicopter over New York! in which for us it was the best time of day (but this we tell you in the next chapter of this day)

We resume our route and reach the famousFederal Reserve of the Bank of New York9VISIT TO THE FEDERAL RESERVE: When you give us the idea preparing the "things to do in New York"we begin to look their website To see the schedules. They are usually limited to 20 people and at 13'00 or 14'00 BUT THEY ARE SOLD VERY QUICK !!, which for an itinerary similar to ours is ideal. However, we end up fitting the helicopter this day and we discard it for a future visit but there you have it in case you want to add it. The visit is free

The Federal Reserve is also a postcolonial building and they say there is more gold than in Fort Knox. Some told us that it is not worth it because you could barely see the bullion, others that you enter the chamber of gold.

It's time to leave the things to see in Lower Manhattan heading north. Leaving aside the famous outlet store Century21 (C) we took the opportunity to visit DAY 2 after the "New York Contrast Tour", stand the St. Paul's Chapel 10 that many of us remember for providing shelter and support during the attacks but that it was also a place of worship for George Washington. It seems incredible not only that it is still standing after the fall of the twin towers, a few meters away, but that it remains intact over the years and its surroundings

We finish the Lower Manhattan route watching which was the tallest building in the world until 1930, he Woolworth Building eleven . As times have changed, where even the One World Observatory remains small before the Burb Kalifa of more than 800 m high or the one they plan to build in Japan of more than 1 km.

The 241 m of the Woolworth Building now live alongside the squirrels of the City Hall Park, he New York City Hall 12 or characteristic administrative buildings such as the Cortes or Justice

It's around 15'15 when we left the imaginary boundaries that cover everything to see in Lower Manhattan or Downtown New York. Gone are a fascinating morning that had begun hours before with the ferry to Staten Island at dawn and that has taken us by true symbols of the Big Apple, but where there was still much to discover by the unknown Lower East Side and East Village. All this will be part of future chapters

(Continue on DAY 4 (II) - New York helicopter: best tour, prices and opinion)