This walking tour begins at World Trade Center and ends in Chinatown. Length approx. 3 km
Although the trip is only approx. 3 km long it contains so much to see, so in time it may be a full day.
The easiest way to get to WTC is to take the E train, with the last stop just outside the area.
Look up in the air and you will see the new Freedom Tower. Tower One, which opened to the public in 2016.
One can say that the Freedom Tower is the replacement of the famous Twin Towers that was destroyed in the terror attack on September 11, 2001.
I think all living people are aware of this attack, so I will skip a more detailed description of this. On the internet and on You Tube you will find numerous resources that describes this event.
Personally, I never got the chance to visit the old Twin Towers as I was in New York City for the first time in April 2002, but I’ve followed the evolution of the breathtaking Freedom Tower from the excavation of the foundation until I visited the Observatory in 2016.
The total area in which the Freedom Tower stands is the same as the area where the twin towers stood.
Popularly called today for the World Trade Center Site, but probably best known by most as Ground Zero.
The whole area is approx. 16 acres large and consists of a large number of buildings designated WTC 1, WTC2, WTC3, etc.
The World Trade Center One (Freedom Tower) is the highest and the main attraction, but today there are also a 911 Museum, 911 Memorial and “The Oculus”, which are as big attractions as the tower itself.
After countless discussions about what to do with Ground Zero after 911, the excavation to the Freedom Tower began in 2006. The tower opened to the public in 2016 at a cost of $ 4 billion.
The tower has 102 floors and serves as an office building. The tower has an Observatory at the top.
It’s not an open platform like in the old twin towers, but is designed so there are amazing views all the way around.
Standard admission is $ 34, and this is the same as the admission to visit the Empire State Building today. (The first time I bought a pass to Empire State Building, it cost $ 15). $34 is a lot of money, but in my opinion, worth all the money if you want a magnificent view of “The Greatest City in known Universe”.
The area where the twin towers stood is called 911 memorial.
There are two pools located in the exact footprints of the two iconic towers.
They are designed as a form of waterfall surrounded by an edge where all the names of those who lost their lives are engraved. Incl. names from the Pentagon attack and attack in 1993.
The pools are designed so that you cannot see all the way to the bottom in the center. This symbolizes that all the people and the buildings are vanishing and cannot be seen anymore.
The water jets are so thin that they symbolize the iconic vertical lines that the old towers had.
In addition to this, they also symbolize tears. Everything around the WTC Site is impregnated with symbols.
Every day a white rose is placed next to the person whose birthday it is.
The 911 memorial is designed as a park with of trees all around.
On the site there is a very special tree called “The Survivor Tree”.
It is a pear tree, which is the only tree that survived 911.
After 911, the tree was stored and exposed to a huge storm, but survived once more, hence the name “Survivor Tree”.
The tree is now located in its own space next to the south pool.
Inside the 911-memorial area, you will also find the new 911 museum that opened in 2016.
I have visited the museum twice, latest in May 2017 together with awesome friends from Villanova, Pennsylvania.
911 museum is not a museum in the traditional sense but is definitely worth a visit if you are interested in learning more about the attack on September 11.
Here are many artifacts, movies on display and you can hear conversations from the command center on the day of the attack.
There is free admission every Tuesday between pm and pm, but you must book the ticket two weeks in advance on first come, first serve basis.
The WTC area is also the location of the new PATH station, where there is a train link between Manhattan and New Jersey. It is found on the lower level of the new center “The Oculus” with the characteristic fins, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
The center serves as a shopping mall as well as PATH station to New Jersey. Furthermore, there is an underground connection to the newly renovated Fulton Street station.
Down along the center of the building there are a number of skylight windows. Like everything else there is symbolism built in.
Exactly at the time when the first tower was hit, the sunlight will penetrate the windows and form a beam of light on the floor.
At the other end of the center, there is a walkway to the World Financial Center, where the characteristic Winter Garden is located.
It is a glass atrium, and all windows were destroyed during the attack. It was refurbished in 2002.
As mentioned, the center has a wide range of shops and from the center there is access to the Italian market Eataly, which is a heaven of Italian products as well as restaurants.
From one of the restaurants you have a magnificent view of the two pools and the Freedom Tower.
Just across from the main entrance to Oculus is one of my favorites in New York City.
t is a traditional department store with a number of branded goods at great prices. Among other things, I typically buy is shirts and perfumes , but you can also get many other things.
Please bring a fire extinguisher, as your credit card will easily become red hot and catch fire – LOL.
Next to the 21st Century is another of my favorites, namely Arome Cafe II, which is a Deli with a delicious buffet where you mix your lunch and pay by weight. There is seating inside and toilets, which is a shortage in New York City.
New York City has everything but public restrooms, so take advantage of the chance while you are here.
Walk up Dew Street and turn right on Broadway. Then turn left onto Cedar Street. Turn right at Nassau Street. When you reach Wall Street turn right.
On the left you can see the famous Trinity Church at the end of the street.
You have now entered the area where the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall are located.
The street is called Wall Street because in New York’s early days there was a wall that kept the Indians out of it southern area of Manhattan, which formed the entire city at that time. The city was not actually named New York at that time, but New Amsterdam, after the earliest settlers who came from Holland.
On today’s paved street you can see exactly where the wall was located. Wall Street is today synonymous with the financial center of USA because the famous New York Stock Exchange is located here.
At this place, the first President of the United States was inaugurated, namely George Washington, who was deployed in office in 1789.
Federal Hall then had a large balcony where George Washington spoke to the people. The balcony has been taken down, but can be seen inside the building’s museum where there is free access.
Walk down William Street and turn right onto Beaver Street. Continue down to Bowling Green.
Bowling Green is today a small green area surrounded by the original iron fence that dates back to New Amsterdam.
Turn right and walk north on Broadway. In the northern end of Bowling Green you encounter the very famous bull, “Charging Bull.” It symbolizes aggressive financial optimism and prosperity
. It is a major tourist attraction and everyone has to rub on its balls. They are completely shinnyand polished – LOL.
Continue on Broadway until you reach City Hall Park, which is one of my favorite parks.
At the northern end of the park is the City Hall where the mayor has his office. It is an impressive building constructed in French Renaissance style.
The corner stone was laid in 1803, but during the construction, the budget was exceeded so there was only money to decorate the southern facade of the building, but it did not matter anyway because the city limit was here and the city would never spread further north so there was no need to make a nice facade to the north.
The building was later refurbished with a nicer northern facade, as the town obviously spread further north, indeed to the whole island – LOL.
Continue on Centre Street. Canal Street that crosses Centre Street is the main street in Chinatown.
Chinatown houses the largest Chinese population outside of China. Although illegal, you can buy all kinds of cheap copies of expensive brands, but beware if you fall for this!
Turn right onto Grand Street and make a well-deserved rest in the Ferrara’s Bakery a little down the street. The cafe is Italian and founded in 1892. It is a great place with awesome pastry, cakes, etc. A little of every taste. It’s not cheap but worth all the money.
In the area you are in, there is also a neighborhood called “Little Italy” around Mulberry Street.
Once upon a time, the neighborhood was much bigger, but is gradually taken over by Chinatown.
While you are in this neighborhood, explore Chinatown on your own.
You can spend a lot of time in this fascinating neighborhood.
Maybe you can get a nice fortune cookie – LOL.
Below find pictures taken along the route (Enjoy!)