This single girl has lived all over Manhattan. While most of my years were spent on the Upper East Side, I lived in Midtown (west), East Harlem, Murray Hill, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights…briefly. When I learned I’d be packing my bags for the Financial District (recently deemed FiDi) and Wall Street, in particular, I wasn’t really very excited. I’d briefly lived in Battery Park City last year (at the bottom of West Street) and it wasn’t really my cup of tea. But pack I did, and to be honest, I’ve enjoyed it a great deal more than I thought.
I’ve always been a non-profit/education gal, so I don’t know a lot about “the Street.” I did take an undergraduate degree in economics but I never was attracted to working in financial services. I was actually quite surprised to learn it’s a very short street, perhaps less than a half-mile (around 900 steps from my apartment at the end of the street to the 4,5 subway at Broadway, where it ends). I live in a converted contemporary bank at the intersection of Wall Street and Water Street which is fine—full of skinny millennials and drafty apartments; the building was clearly constructed before LEED certification was a thing. That’s for another time.
As I strolled home today from a movie date with a friend, I decided to make a list of 5 things I like about this ‘hood.
- History. I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a neighborhood (in NYC) that feels more closely connected to history. We forget, I think, the earliest days of the republic were largely focused on the most southern part of the island. Wall street is dotted with singularly important institutions include Federal Hall, where President George Washington took h9is first oath of office and the New York Stock Exchange Building. The cobblestone streets ooze with history.
- Trinity Wall Street. I appreciate the fact that ever day, as I walk to the subway, I am welcomed by the vision of Trinity Church Wall Street. The Church, connected to the Church of England, was erected during the late 17th Century, before the Revolutionary War. Not only does the institution adhere to all of the wonderful “high” traditions of the church, but they have wonderful outreach and accessible programs from musical concerts, meals for the homeless, meditation opportunities, and much, much more. Truth be told, this Church is among the largest landowners in Manhattan. They have resources and aren’t afraid to use it through their philanthropic foundation. Trinity Wall Street is a literal moral anchor for this neighborhood.
- Proximity to Brooklyn. I’ve lived in NYC for a long time. When I started working here, Brooklyn was an afterthought. When I first started officiating weddings, I had a hard time getting taxis to take me to Brooklyn, fearing they couldn’t get a fare back to the city. Well, no more. Blame Beyonce and Jay-Z….Brooklyn seems to be the hottest borough hin town. From Wall Street, one can walk the mere 3000 steps across the bridge or take the ferry from Wall Street over to DUMBO. It feels positively like a vacation.
- I’m not a big shopper or foodie at this point, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the variety of stops—on Wall Street and throughout the Financial District—to grab coffee, a decent mail, staples, clothing, or whatever else one might need. I have mixed feelings about the fact that the big Westfield Shopping Center grew out of the ashes of the Twin Towers, but the shops in the “mall” are terrific and the Oculus is beautiful.
- So the last item on my list relates to the amenities in my apartment building. I’ve moved a lot over the last few years. Because of the company I rented from, the apartment experiences were pretty much the same—modern buildings with tiny living spaces and a lot of super chic, skinny millennials. These places kind of have a Melrose Place meets MTV Real World feel (more on that later). I finally dragged myself to the common area (lounge) and WOW! What a pleasant surprise. As I work all over town, I am thrilled with having such beautiful space in the building I call “home.”