Mention the name Wall Street to just about anyone, and they will almost immediately conjure up the image of a banker resembling Gordan Gekko, Jordan Belfort or perhaps picture the Stock Exchange. Even to New Yorkers, the Financial District is thought of as just that. But having moved from Park Avenue South to Maiden Lane, I am rediscovering just how majestic the Financial District really is. It is not only the lifeblood of the American economy, but more locally, one of the most historically rich and culturally diverse neighborhoods on Manhattan Island.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, efforts to revitalize the neighborhood have resulted in a complete makeover of New York’s picturesque waterfront. With the addition of new bike and pedestrian paths, restaurants, bars and shopping, The East River waterfront is attracting a high volume of New Yorkers and tourists on a daily basis, and yes, that includes the weekend. New additions to the Financial District include trendy pop-up stores like Dossier Outpost, which not only provides great shopping, but offers free concerts, film screenings and might I add, incredible food trucks.
Perhaps shopping and food trucking is not at the top of your list. Fair enough. Walk down Stone Street on Saturday and you’ll find Growler, a casual outdoor neighborhood spot, with unlimited Bloody Mary’s, packed to the brim. Not to mention the after work crowd that fill the outdoor tables every night at Mad Dog and Beans, Stone Street Tavern and Beckett’s. Still iffy about that place they call the FiDi? Keep reading.
The most remarkable aspect about the Financial District is the incredible real estate that it has to offer. In the early half of the twentieth century, a race to build the world’s tallest skyscraper overtook New York City. In recent years, the trend to convert pre-war office buildings into luxury residential buildings has dominated the Financial District. Art Deco skyscrapers such as 15 Broad Street, formerly JP Morgan, and 63 Wall Street, formerly the Brown Brothers Harriman building, offer spacious loft-like apartments, often with stunning city or river views, and maintain all of the amenities a New Yorker could want.
The days of the Financial District being strictly business, are over. A residential boom is about to rock the downtown scene with plans for at least seventeen new residential buildings in progress, south of Chambers Street. Between office-to-residential conversions and new construction, more than 2,500 units are slated to hit the market in the upcoming years. With 70 Pine Street, 50 West Street, 113 Nassau Street and the coveted Woolworth building, whose nine story penthouse will be listed at a record breaking $110 million, the Financial District is New York’s next great neighborhood.