NEW YORK -- Lower Manhattan, one of this city's most historical
districts, also has become one of its hottest destinations. In
fact, visitors who don't venture south of Midtown risk missing some
of the juiciest bites of the Big Apple.
Downtown is especially alluring in summer, when many outdoor
concerts, jazz performances, street fairs and similar events are
Music at Castle Clinton, a free concert series sponsored by the
Alliance for Downtown New York, features top-flight musicians
performing in a waterfront setting in Battery Park, near the
southernmost tip of Manhattan. The culmination of the summer series
will take place July 4 with a gala presentation on the park
The Texaco-New York Jazz Festival takes place at various Lower
Manhattan venues, including the World Financial Center and Battery
Park City, on selected dates in June.
Also at the World Financial Center, visitors can enjoy free
outdoor summer evening dance and concert performances on the
harborside plaza. Nearby, on the plaza of the World Trade Center,
music buffs out for lunch can take in free jazz performances on
Wednesdays and R&B on Fridays.
The Wagner Park waterfront will attract percussion fans with its
sunset drumming circles in July and August, and two of New York's
oldest churches -- Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel -- will
host concerts throughout June. Later in the summer, Trinity Church
will hold a Russian music festival.
City Hall Park will come alive with the sounds of jazz in August
during the fourth annual Downtown Jazz Festival, sponsored by
J&R Music World/Computer World.
The South Street Seaport on Thursday and Friday evenings this
summer will host its Concerts on the Pier series. There also will
be concerts Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.
In the days leading up to Independence Day, the nonprofit
Heritage Trails and the Fraunces Tavern Museum have scheduled
tours, exhibitions and special events.
Other cultural events include a free film festival in June at
the African Burial Grounds Project and performances by the Cirque
du Soleil troupe through early July in Battery Park City.
For sports fans, Lower Manhattan will be the site of the opening
ceremonies of the Goodwill Games, an international event to be held
at numerous venues in the New York area from July 19 to Aug. 2.
Summer's aquatic-themed events include a water festival set for
mid-July in Battery Park, which will offer kids and adults an
opportunity to learn about urban river ecology. The festival also
will feature a swim around Manhattan, outdoor exhibits,
entertainment and food.
Downtown also has plenty of attractions and activities that can
be enjoyed any time of the year.
Visitors should be sure to tour the New York Stock Exchange; the
Federal Hall National Memorial, on the site where George Washington
took the oath of office as the first president of the U.S., and the
Top of the World Observation Deck at the World Trade Center. The
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are just a short ferry ride away
in New York Harbor.
Lower Manhattan's attractions include the recently opened Museum
of Jewish Heritage, which honors achievements of Jewish-Americans
while also telling the story of the Holocaust; the Korean War
Memorial and the National Museum of the American Indian, whose
cultural and historical collections are housed in the former
Also noteworthy are the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which
offers tours that re-create the early immigrant experience in New
York; the South Street Sports Museum, with tall-masted ships, an
old-fashioned print shop and art exhibits; the Museum of American
Financial History, and the Fraunces Tavern Museum, where Washington
bade farewell to his troops.
There are guided and self-guided walking tours in Lower
Manhattan as well as flightseeing trips, offered by Liberty
Helicopter of Lower Manhattan, including the Statue of Liberty and
Ellis Island, and aerial tours that combine the highlights of both
downtown and Midtown.
Clients can take part in waterborne excursions aboard the Staten
Island Ferry, which is free to passengers although there's still a
charge for vehicles.
The South Street Seaport's Pier 17, the World Trade Center and
the World Financial Center offer an array of shopping and dining
Famous eateries include Windows on the World, atop the World
Trade Center; the Hudson River Club in the American Express
Building of the World Financial Center; the recently opened 14 Wall
Street Restaurant; Morton's of Chicago and the Wall Street Kitchen
Lower Manhattan expanded its hotel inventory in the past few
The roster of hostelries include the Marriott Financial Center
and Marriott World Trade Center, the Millenium Hilton, the
Manhattan Seaport Suites, the Holiday Inn Downtown, the Best
Western Seaport Inn and the Fulton Plaza.