This walking tour is actually quite long, both in time and length, depending how much you like to see along the route. It could easily take a whole day!
The route takes you to the following sites:
- Battery Park
- Statue of Liberty
- Staten Island Ferry
- Governors Island
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Main Street Park
This walk starts at Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan.
Before the walk across the famous Brooklyn Bridge, you can take three separate tours, depending on how much time you have. They all starts from the area around Battery Park.
Statue of Liberty, Governors Island and Staten Island Ferry.
If they only want to go over the Brooklyn Bridge, you can just skip the mentioned tours.
There are several ways to get to Battery Park. Line 4 and 5 to Bowling Green, R and W to Whitehall and 1 to South Ferry.
Battery Park is located on the southernmost part of Manhattan at New York Upper Bay. This is the place where Dutch settlers arrived in 1624 and founded the City of New Amsterdam, that the settlement was called until 1664, where New Amsterdam changed its name to New York after the English Duke of York.
Castle Clinton, in Battery Park, is named after Mayor Dewitt Clinton. The fort was established in 1812. The fort was built to defend New York against attacks from the seaside. After the war in 1812, the city took over the fort and the building was ´rebuilt with a roof and served as theater and Beer garden.
By the middle of the 19th century, immigration accelerated and Castle Clinton was transformed into receiving immigration center.
This center later moved to specially built premises on Ellis Island.
Then the fort was transformed into the New York Aquarium in 1896 or served as such until 1941.
Castle Clinton currently operates as a ticket office for ferry crossing to Liberty Island, where the famous Statue of Liberty overlooks New York Upper Bay.
There is always something going on around Castle Clinton, as many young people appear when the weather is good. Some of them are wearing green suits and face masks that resemble the green Lady.
You can then get a selfie together with the Lady and the performer earns a little money.
There are also a large number of vendors selling souvenirs and refreshments.
Statue of Liberty.
If you want to see the statue, you can just watch her from Battery Park. Alternatively, you can take Staten Island Ferry to St. George on Staten Island. It passes right by the Lady and then the ferry is free.
But if you want some good close-ups or get up in the crown on her, you have to buy a ferry ticket to get to the Island. This can be purchased directly in Castle Clinton or best ordered online if you know which day you want to visit.
Please note that tickets with access to the crown are only offered on a limited basis, so order in good time.
The statue itself is located on a granite foundation and there is also a museum. Check online what your ticket grants access to. The cheapest ticket only gives access to ferry crossing and visits to the island itself. This meet the needs of most people and you can get amazing close-ups of the Lady.
If you decide to visit the crown, be aware of going up a spiral staircase with 154 steps inside the middle of the statue. It can be a bit of a frightening trip, if you suffer from acrophobia as I do. But the view is absolutely amazing. There is no elevator!
In my opinion, the Statue of Liberty is Attraction No. 1 in New York. The statue is world famous and a well-known symbol of the city.
The statue is a gift from France and opened in 1886. The statue itself is made of copper plates that are attached to an inner steel skeleton designed by Gustave Eiffel, all known from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
It took many years from idea to completion. An agreement had been reached with France that France should deliver the statue itself and New York should build the foundation.
In 1886, The Statue of Liberty Monument was a given to the United States from France to celebrate the friendship the two endured during the American Revolution. The Statue of Liberty has over the years has symbolized the freedom and the democracy of the United States.
Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design the Statue Sculpture with the completion date of 1876 to celebrate American’s centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The Statue of Liberty was to be a joint effort between the United States and France. France would build and design the Statue part and United States would complete the pedestal that would hold Lady Liberty. Bartholdi needed an engineer to address the structural issues with designing the sculpture so Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) provided assistance with getting the Statue to stand upright.
Funds to create the Statue of Liberty would prove to be tedious for both sides. In France, entertainment, public fees and a national lottery would help with the funds. In United States, things were much slower. Auctions, various forms of entertainment, and fights would help provide some funds. Joseph Pulitzer decided he needed to get the attention of the American people to get necessary money, he took out an editorial in his newspaper putting pressure on the rich and middle class to help funds this important icon for America. On August 1885 finances in the United States for the pedestal was complete. The construction finished in April 1886. In France the Statue was finished in 1884 and arrived in NY Harbor 1885 aboard the French vessel “Isere”.
In order to get the Statue to the United States the Statue was broken down into 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. On October 28, 1886 the Statue of Liberty dedication took place, ten years later than the centennial date of 1876. The Statue of Liberty was placed on the granite pedestal in the star-shaped walls of Fort Wood.
Until 1901, the Statue of Liberty was the responsibility of the United States Lighthouse Board. In 1901, the war department took control of the Statue of Liberty. On October 15th, 1924 a Presidential Proclamation declared Fort Hood and the Statue of Liberty a National Monument. In 1933, The National Monument was placed in care of the National Park Service and a few years later the jurisdiction of the Monument would include all of Bedloe’s Island, and by 1956, the island’s name changed to Liberty Island.
To visit the Lady, as mentioned, the ferry departs from Battery Park at Castle Clinton.
To board the ferry, you must pass a security check, just like at the airport. If you go up in the crown, it is prohibited to bring bags.
However, there are storage facilities for this in locked cabinets outside the statue.
The sun(this big star in the sky) is well known for rising in the East.
It has been doing so for the past 4.5 billion years and will probably still do when you visit New York City – LOL, and as the Statue of Liberty faces the East, you get the best pictures by taking an early departure. Arrive at the Castle in good time, because very long lines soon arise!
After visiting Liberty Island, the ferry continues to Ellis Island, where the old immigration center is located. Today a museum.
There is free access and it does not cost extra to visit the island. After Ellis Island, the ferry sails back to Battery Park.
Governors Island is a small island located in New York Upper Bay. The island is only open to the public during the summer months from May 1st to October 31st .
You can only come to the island by taking the ferry from the NYC Ferry terminal, which is just to the left of the Staten Island terminal. The fare is in 2017 $ 2.75 and tickets can be purchased at the terminal or via NYC Ferry’s APP. I use this APP and it works fine.
Governors Island has previously had many functions.
In 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, Continental Army troops raised defensive works on the island, which they used to fire upon British ships before they were taken. From 1783 to 1966, the island was a United States Army post, and from 1966 to 1996 the island served as a major United States Coast Guard installation. About 103 acres (42 ha) of fill was added to the island by 1912, making the island a 172-acre (70 ha) island.
When the Army left Governors Island in 1966, the installation became a United States Coast Guard base. The Coast Guard saw the island as an opportunity to consolidate and provide more facilities for its schools, and as a base for its regional and Atlantic Ocean operations. This was the Coast Guard’s largest installation, and for them as the Army, served both as a self-contained residential community, with an on-island population of approximately 3,500, and as a base of operations for the Atlantic Area Command
In the thirty years of occupation on the island, the Coast Guard began a long, slow process of upgrading facilities and infrastructure that had been little improved upon since the 1930s. This effort also prompted a recognition of the island’s military heritage by having 92 acres (370,000 m2) recognized as a National Historic Landmark on February 4, 1985, recognizing its wide range and representation of Army fortification, administrative and residential architecture dating from the early days of the nation.
During this time, Governors Island has served as the backdrop for a number of historic events. In 1986, the island was the setting for the relighting of the newly refurbished Statue of Liberty by President Ronald Reagan. On December 8, 1988, along with Vice President and President elect George Bush, President Ronald Reagan held his final meeting as president with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the Commanding Officer’s quarters. In July 1993, the United Nations sponsored talks at the South Battery Officer’s Club to help restore democratic rule in Haiti resulting in the Governors Island Accord, signed between Haitian political leaders.
The Coast Guard left the island in 1995 and in 2010, the city entered an agreement to take full control of the island’s development from the state of New York through a newly established Trust for Governors Island, and unveiled a new master development plan. Under the plan, the historic northern end will remain structurally unchanged. The middle of the island would be developed into a park stretching to the southern tip. Areas on the east and west sides of the island will be privately developed to generate revenue, and the entire island will be edged by a circumferential promenade.
Governors Island is now a large open park, where several events are held during the summer.
I have visited the island a few times, no later than May 2017, where the NYC Bhangra festival was held.
Both from the north side of the island and not least from the hill in the middle of the island, you have a sweeping view of southern Manhattan and the new Freedom Tower.
Staten Island Ferry
The last separate Tour is a ride with the Staten Island ferry, departing from the new major terminal. The ferry sails to St. George on Staten Island and is free. It is primarily a commuter ferry for New Yorkers who live on Staten Island but work ex. In Manhattan.
As mentioned, the ferry passes just by the Statue of Liberty and you can get some good pictures of both the statue and the southern tip of Manhattan.
Begin the walk by passing Staten Island ferry terminal and continue up South Street.
First, you will pass the Manhattan Helicopters Pier from which there is helicopter service for the many business people working on Wall Street. The next pier you encounter is Pier 11, from where the NYC Ferry has a large number of sail routes on the East River between the different boroughs and most recently as far as The Rockaways.
Buy tickets via NYC Ferry’s new APP, which is super easy to use.
You cannot use your regular Metrocard, which only applies to Subway and city buses. You can also buy tickets at the terminal.
Continue on South Street towards South Street Seaport (Pier 17).
South Street seaport is a newly built center with shops and restaurants. The infamous Hurrycane Sandy destroyed the existing center and a new one was built.
At the South Street Seaport there are also some old shrubs for anchor. It is a good symbol of New York City previously being a busy port city.
New York is still a port city, but with modern container terminals at other locations than in Manhattan itself.
At South Street Seaport, turn left onto Fulton Street toward Broadway. Turn right at Pearl Street.
The history of Pearl Street dates back to the early 1600s, when the Dutch first settled on the southern tip of Manhattan. Its name is an English translation of the Dutch Parelstraat (written as Paerlstraet around 1660). This street, visible on the Castello Plan along the eastern shore of New Amsterdam, was named for the many oysters found in the river. During the period of British rule, Pearl Street was known as Great Queen Street. The “Great” was used often to differentiate from Little Queen Street, which became Cedar Street in 1784.
Pearl Street generally marked the original eastern shoreline of the lower part of Manhattan Island, until the latter half of the 18th century when landfill over the course of several hundred years has extended the shoreline roughly 700–900 feet (200-300m) further into the East River, first to Water Street and later to Front Street.
In the mid-1650s, a three-story tavern near what is now 73 Pearl Street became the city’s first City Hall.
Pearl Street Station, Thomas Edison’s first power plant, and in turn the first power plant in the United States, was located at 255-257 Pearl Street. It began with one direct current generator, and it started generating electricity on September 4, 1882.
The IRT Third Avenue elevated railway ran above Pearl Street from August 26, 1878 until December 22, 1950.
New York Telephone put up a large administrative building at 375 Pearl on the north side of the street, east of the Brooklyn Bridge, in the early 1970s.
Continue on Pearl Street and turn left at Brooklyn Bridge. Walk up Frankfort Street and turn right at Pace University. Below the bridge is a staircase leading up to the Pedestrian walkway on the bridge itself.
I prefer to cross the bridge in the morning so you have the sun in your face when you come from Manhattan side.
The advantage of this is that when you reach the Brooklyn Tower you have a perfect sunlit image of the bridge with Manhattan in the background. In addition, you also get the best pictures of the bridge down from Brooklyn Bridge Park and Main Street Park.
However, the bridge is also beautiful in evening lighting with all the illuminated buildings as well as the Freedom Tower in the background. Perhaps you should cross the bridge several times – LOL
Please note that the right side is for pedestrians and the left side is for cyclists.
Depending on the time and weather, there will be vendors selling beverages (water etc).
The sellers scream: “Water – water one dollar – one dollar”
As I said, I prefer to go in the morning where there are not so many people. Later in the day there are a myriad of commuters and tourists.
Brooklyn Bridge is probably one of the most famous bridges in the world and was opened for traffic in 1883 after it took 14 years to build it.
In 1883, Brooklyn was an independent city and was incorporated under the name of New York City in 1898.
Brooklynites are proud people and some still think they should be independent of the rest of New York City – LOL
By the middle of the 19th century, traffic between Brooklyn and Manhattan had risen dramatically. People lived in Brooklyn, but worked in Manhattan. Exactly as today.
Before the bridge was built, one had to travel by ferry, which became more and more difficult as traffic increased.
It was decided to build this bridge and chief engineer John Augustus Roebling was chosen to lead the construction.
He had previously built smaller suspension bridges and had extensive experience with this.
In addition, he owned a company that could supply the steel cables to the bridge.
Steel was not quite common at this time and it was a massive achievement to build such a big suspension bridge. The first in the world spanning this great distance.
It would turn out to be more difficult to build the bridge than initially assumed.
Wikipedia has a great article about the entire bridge’s history.
Once you have crossed the bridge, you are in Brooklyn. Yay! You did get out of Manhattan – LOL.
On the north side of the bridge is Main Street Park where you can get the famous pictures of the Manhattan skyline in the background.
On the way down to Main Street Park, walk pass the intersection of Washington Street and Water Street.
From here, you can get a picture of the famous view where you see the Empire State Building located between the “legs” of the Manhattan Bridge tower.
The neighborhood you are in is called DUMBO. “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”, which is an old warehouse block that in recent years has undergone a huge transformation into an extremely trendy neighborhood.
On the south side of the bridge is the new Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Until a couple of years ago, there were a number of warehouse here, but the whole stretch is now transformed into a beautiful park where you can relax on the green areas or perform various forms of sport.
If you go down to Old Fulton Street, and turn left onto Everit Street, you walk towards Brooklyn Heights Promenade, from where you have spectacular view of southern Manhattan. There is a long promenade above the BQE (Express Way).
This neighborhood in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Heights) is an extremely attractive and expensive neighborhood with a lot of the famous “Brownstones”.
On one of the small intersections to the promenade is a memorial to the Battle of Brooklyn, which took place here in 1776, where General George Washington (later US first president) fought the British forces.
I was here on the promenade for the first time in September 2005 on a beautiful warm sunny day.
I remember so clearly that this breathtaking viewjust swept my feet away.
Typically, the tall skyscrapers in Manhattan are best seen when from a distant.
HAPPY WALKING and EXPLORING