Tour Allows Public Off-Limits Peek of Manhattan

By Jorge Sidron

New York -- On Columbus Day, the Alliance for Downtown New York will sponsor a self-guided walking tour of lower Manhattan that will include a number of sites usually off-limits to the public.

Titled "Buildings on Broadway," the tour will include 14 sites of architectural and historical significance, starting from Broadway and Bowling Green and ending at City Hall. The tour will take place Sunday, Oct. 12, from noon to 5 p.m. It will include five building interiors normally closed to the public.

The sites are the Governors Room at City Hall; the Bank of New York's gold- and red-mosaic reception room at 1 Wall Street; the former Lawyers Club at 115 Broadway, with its two-story stained-glass window depicting the history of law, and the trading floor of the American Stock Exchange. In addition, two downtown museums not normally open to the public on Sundays -- the Skyscraper Museum at 44 Wall and the Museum of American Financial History at 28 Broadway -- will be open during tour hours.

On tour day, the Museum of American Financial History will offer a preview of its November exhibit titled "The Financing of America." The Skyscraper Museum will sponsor a series of lectures on the high-rise history of lower Broadway, and visitors will be able to check out the exhibit titled "Downtown New York: The Architecture of Business/The Business of Buildings."

The "Buildings on Broadway" tour is the latest so-called open house sponsored by the alliance, which manages the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District (BID). The aim of the Downtown BID -- one of 38 BIDs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens -- is to transform the southern tip of Manhattan from a daytime-only business district to a livelier place for locals and visitors through more business and attractions. A spokesman for the Alliance said previous "open house" tours have drawn from 5,000 to 12,000 people. For tour information, call the Alliance for Downtown New York at (212) 566-6700.

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