Best of Lower Manhattan

Best of Lower Manhattan

While New York’s Midtown Manhattan gets plenty of attention from tourist magnets Times Square and the Broadway Theatre District, consider heading downtown for a long weekend spent at the tip of the island. The oldest permanently inhabited part of the city, Lower Manhattan, also known as the Financial District, is bordered by Chambers Street which slices through Tribeca and ends at City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge. Chock-full of hotels, restaurants, shopping, and historical sights, make sure to include of few of these highlights on your itinerary:

New York City9/11 Memorial and Museum:
This emotional memorial pays tribute to the 2,983 men, women, and children killed on 9/11 and in the 1983 bombing of the World Trade Center. The museum explores the events before, during, and after the attacks at all three sites in the U.S., (NY, PA, and DC). Two vast reflecting pools with waterfalls cascading down, stand in permanent remembrance to the footprints of the original Twin Towers.

The Oculus:
Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the “Oculus” transit hub is a train station, plaza and shopping mall adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial. Replacing the PATH train station that was destroyed during the attacks, the impressive glass and steel structure resembles a white dove with wings spread. The west concourse connects the PATH train from New Jersey to Brookfield Place, an office complex across from the World Trade Center site.

New York CityBrookfield Place and Battery Park:
Formerly known as the World Financial Center, it’s an office complex and shopping mall in one with designer and contemporary fashion brands, a collection of restaurants, outdoor seating along the active waterfront with plenty of sailing charters and ferry services. The Winter Garden Atrium, a ten-story glass palm tree filled vaulted pavilion, plays hosts to concerts and cultural events. Step outside for a walk along the Battery Park Esplanade, a waterfront promenade that winds its way through the residential neighborhood, Battery Park City.

Staten Island Ferry:
The ferry that never sleeps operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The 25-minute FREE ride shuttles between Manhattan and New York’s outer and often forgotten borough, Staten Island.

New York CityJewish Heritage Museum:
This museum functions as a living memorial to the Holocaust and New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. Their mission statement is “to educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the broad tapestry of Jewish life in the 20th and 21st centuries — before, during, and after the Holocaust.” Always Remember; Never Forget.

Trinity Church:
Near the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway stands this Gothic Revival church. During the September 11 attacks, people took refuge inside the church from the massive debris cloud produced by the World Trade Center Tower collapse. History buffs (and Broadway show fans) will want to pay a visit to the church cemetery where Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, are buried.

Federal Hall:
On Wall Street, George Washington took the oath of office as our first President. This National Parks Memorial was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices. Now, the building serves as a museum and memorial to our first President and the beginnings of the United States of America.

Wall Street:
Yes, Wall Street is an actual street — eight-blocks long to be exact — running roughly from Broadway to South Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. But, no, you cannot visit the inside of the N.Y. Stock Exchange. But, you can take a selfie with the famous Charging Bull Sculpture which stands right outside.

New York CityOne World Trade Center:
The new office towers built since the 9/11 attacks have transformed the skyline of Lower Manhattan. At its pinnacle is the One World Observatory, rising over 100 stories in the sky and offering 360 views of the city and beyond. Timed tickets can be purchased online.

Seaport District:
The 200-year old seaport is nestled between the Brooklyn Bridge and the canyons of Wall Street. Stroll down historic cobblestone streets, explore shops and restaurants, enjoy cultural events and take a trip back in time at the Seaport Museum with its high masted sailing ships (guided tours available.)

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World Trade Center photo courtesy of Sebastiaan Flam

New York Times Travel Show 2018

New York Times Travel Show 2018

New York Times Travel ShowMy recent article, Smart Traveler Tips, helped put you on the inside track of stress-free travel. For more travel advice, consider attending the upcoming New York Times Travel Show, January 27-28, 2018, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center located on Manhattan’s Westside.

Now in its 15th year, this annual event will put you in touch with over 550 exhibitors from more than 170 destinations — no passport required! Attend an educational seminar and you will come away with globe-trotting tips from experts in the travel industry. Bring the kids – there’s plenty for them to explore at the Family Pavilion: food tastings, cultural displays, and musical performances.

New York Times Travel Show

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New York Times Travel Show 2017

New York Times Travel Show 2017

New York Times Travel ShowWant to travel the world in a New York minute? Visit the New York Times Travel Show held at Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center January 28-29, 2017 where you can join thousands of other travelers as they roam the aisles amongst 500 plus destinations and suppliers.

Attend this interactive exhibition and come away with a wealth of knowledge: attend educational seminars, learn about new resorts and hotels, and enjoy international food and entertainment. From Asia to Africa, the United States to the United Kingdom, the world will be at your fingertips.  NY Times Travel Show

The Jacob Javits Convention Center is located on Manhattan’s west side (34th Street and 11th Avenue).

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Where to travel in 2015

Where to travel in 2015

Are you planning a trip in 2015? Are you looking for detailed, first-hand information on hot spots, far-flung, or favorite destinations?  If you plan to be in the New York City area on January 24th-25th, I would recommend that you take time out to visit the New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s west side (34th Street and 11th Avenue). You can browse over 500 exhibitor booths and glean advice from industry professionals representing cities, countries, convention bureaus, cruise lines, and travel suppliers from all across the globe. It also happens to be a fun day out with the family — the show includes international cultural presentations, food tasting, family activities, and a well-stocked travel bookstore.

New York Times Travel Show

Photo courtesy of the New York Times Travel Show

Stay tuned for more information and the latest travel tips … after the show!

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NY Travels: Discovery Times Square “Art of the Brick” Exhibit

“Art nurtures the brain. Whether made from clay, paint, wood or a modern-day toy.”

During a recent day-trip into Manhattan, my husband, our two sons, and I seized the opportunity to visit Discovery Times Square’s current exhibit, “The Art of the Brick.” My boys’ love of all things LEGO has resulted in my basement becoming a shrine to this popular, Danish, brick, construction toy. Naturally, we were very eager to visit the exhibit, which showcases artist Nathan Sawaya’s critically acclaimed collection of beautiful works of art made exclusively from LEGO bricks.

The artwork is inspiring, but so is the artist’s story. Before you enter, you watch a brief film that describes his life: “When I was a lawyer I quickly came to realize I was more comfortable sitting on the floor creating sculptures than I was sitting in a boardroom negotiating contracts. My own personal conflicts and fears, coupled with a deep desire for overall happiness, paved the way to becoming a full-time working artist,” explains Sawaya.

We wandered through the two-floor exhibit space marveling at the artist’s handiwork. Famous masterpieces as well as original works of art are entirely represented in colorful bricks. Next to each piece of artwork is a plaque that explains the historical context of the artwork as well as how Sawaya selected the specific LEGO’s to create the piece. It is amazing to see how he has fashioned the fold of a robe, the roundness of a shoulder, or a brushstroke of paint, with only rectangular and square shaped pieces as his medium. You can’t help but smile in amazement as you admire his skills.  From Vermeer to Van Gogh, and Whistler to Warhol, he tackles each piece with passion and flair.

At the end of the exhibit, there is a place where you can write your name on a LEGO brick and add it to a growing, free-form sculpture. When the New York show concludes, Nathan Sawaya will take apart the sculpture and create a new one-of-a-kind sculpture of his own, to be displayed at future exhibits. Any extra bricks that he doesn’t use will be donated to charity.

Whether you enjoy building with LEGOs or not, this is a must-see exhibit for children (and adults) of all ages. With a limited run, try to get there soon. (Check his website below for future exhibit locations in the U.S. and abroad).  Discovery Times Square is conveniently located on 44th between 7th and 8th Avenues, so combine it with other family-friendly, midtown stops like the Times Square Museum & Visitor’s Center, Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center, the Bryant Park Carousel, the Sony Wonder Technology Lab (an amazing hands-on exhibit), or an overnight stay at the New York Marriott Marquis, just one block away.

You will definitely come away from the exhibit inspired, with a life-lesson to boot — as artist Nathan Sawaya simply states, “Dreams are built, one brick at a time.”

Nathan Sawaya

An Easter Island LEGO Moai Sculpture


Nathan Sawaya

LEGO Nefertiti, wife of Pharaoh

Nathan Sawaya

This life-size yellow figure reveals a heart filled with LEGO’s

Nathan Sawaya

A portrait of the artist’s girlfriend

Nathan Sawaya

A close-up of the eye of the portrait reveals the square LEGO bricks

Nathan Sawaya

I added my LEGO to the growing free-form sculpture, soon to become a new Nathan Sawaya-built creation

Nathan Sawaya

Thousands of people added their bricks to the sculpture

For more information:

“Art of the Brick” ticket information

Future Nathan Sawaya “Art of the Brick” exhibits 

Times Square Alliance

Guide to Midtown Manhattan

Stay tuned for my next post: Vancouver: British Columbia’s West Coast Wonder

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