Lower Manhattan is the nation's first capital, the center of world finance, and a gateway to millions of immigrants. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Lower Manhattan is also home to countless memorials and landmarks commemorating aspects of its rich history. Here's how to find them.
African Burial Ground Project
It looks like a misplaced suburban backyard, but the well-manicured lot between Duane and Elk Streets is in fact an ancient cemetery site holding the remains of hundreds of African-American slaves, buried there in the 18th century. Construction crews discovered it in 1991 when they broke ground for a federal building, the plans for which were abandoned so that the ground might be left undisturbed as a memorial.
290 Broadway between Duane and Elk Streets
Hours: Open Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
American Merchant Mariners Memorial
The American Merchant Mariners Memorial, by artist Marisol Escobar, features a depiction of a dramatic rescue after an attack by a German submarine on a merchant marine vessel. At high tide, one of the sculpted figures is submerged under water.
Although the memorial depicts an event from World War II, it commemorates the thousands of merchant ships and crews that were pressed into military service throughout the nation's history. As the memorial itself states, it "serves as a marker for American's merchant mariners resting in the unmarked ocean depths."
Pier A, just west of Battery Park
Castle Clinton National Monument
Originally built as a fort to defend New York Harbor in the War of 1812, Castle Clinton has functioned as an opera house, an aquarium, and a gateway for more than 8 million immigrants. It was designated a national monument in 1946.
Phone: (212) 344-7220
Hours: Open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed December 25th
"Charging Bull" at Bowling Green
This 7,000-pound bronze statue appeared mysteriously one day in 1989 in front of the New York Stock Exchange. It now stands outside the Museum of American Financial History at Bowling Green.
Broadway at Bowling Green
East Coast Memorial
Dedicated in 1963, this memorial features eight 19-foot-high granite walls, or pylons, inscribed with the name, rank, and home state of 4,601 servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. The pylons tower over a corner of Battery Park overlooking New York Harbor. A bronze art deco-style eagle stands at the head of the monument.
Battery Park, toward eastern end of Dewey Promenade
Eldridge Street Synagogue
Through tours, public programs and special events, visitors can learn the history of this landmark religious building, the first structure designed and built to be a synagogue by Jews from Eastern Europe, from whom 80 percent of American Jews descend.
12 Eldridge Street (between Canal and Division Streets)
Phone: (212) 219-0888, ext. 301
Hours: Open to the public on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. Guided tours are offered on the hour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $5; students and seniors, $3; visitors may also tour the museum without a guide for an admission price of $1
This island was the entry point for more than 12 million immigrants who entered the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. More than100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to a man, woman, or child whose first footsteps on U.S. soil were here.
Ticket booth/ferry located at Castle Clinton in Battery Park
Phone: (212) 363-3206
Hours: Open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed December 25th
Admission: There is no admission fee for Ellis Island. Round-trip ferry tickets cost $11.50 for adults, $4.50 for children ages four to 12, and $9.50 for senior citizens ages 62 and older.
Federal Hall National Memorial
The site of New York City's 18th century City Hall, Federal Hall hosted the Stamp Act Congress, which assembled in October 1765 to protest "taxation without representation."
26 Wall Street (between Nassau and William Streets)
Phone: (212) 825-6888
Hours: Federal Hall is currently closed for renovation and is scheduled to reopen in winter 2006.
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
"The Fed," established by Congress in 1913 to serve as the central bank of the United States, is responsible for, among other things, formulating and executing the country's monetary policy. This building houses the New York branch of the central bank and is an architectural landmark in its own right.
33 Liberty Street
Phone: (212) 720-6130
Hours: Tours are given Monday through Friday (except bank holidays) at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.
Irish Hunger Memorial
Dedicated in July 2002, this new memorial located in Battery Park City is devoted to raising public awareness of the events that led to the "Great Irish Famine and Migration" of 1845 to 1852. The memorial represents a rural Irish landscape with an abandoned stone cottage, stone walls, fallow potato fields, and native Irish wildflowers like those found on the north Connacht wetlands of Ireland.
Vesey Street and North End Avenue
New York City Police Memorial
This memorial, dedicated in October 1997 to all New York City police officers killed in the line of duty, was chosen from 180 proposed designs. The contract was awarded to architect Stuart B. Crawford, who describes the memorial's design as follows: "The life of a police officer is represented by a fountain and a flume. The fountain represents the rookie police officer's first day and serves as the genesis of the memorial. The linear flume acts as the timeline and flows over the split face bottom. The water then passes through a slot in a granite wall, representing the day of death, and falls into a shallow pool." The names of fallen officers are etched in the granite wall, and a fresh wreath is placed at the memorial every Friday during the summer months.
In Battery Park at Liberty Street and South End Avenue
New York Korean War Veterans Memorial
Dedicated in 1991, the New York Korean War Veterans Memorial is a 15-foot-tall black granite steel with the silhouette of an infantryman representing the "universal soldier" carved from its center. Visitors can look through the cutout and see the Statue of Liberty.
The marker also serves as a sundial; at 10 a.m. every July 27 -- the time and date in 1953 New York when hostilities ended -- the sun lines up so as to shine through the memorial and illuminate a commemorative plaque on the ground. Ringing the base of the memorial are tile flags representing the 22 nations who lent troups to the effort, from Canada to South Africa to India. The monument is notable as one of the first Korean War memorials in the United States.
Battery Park, near West Street entrance
The Sphere -- Interim memorial for the victims of September 11, 2001, and the February 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing
This 45,000-pound steel-and-bronze sculpture once stood in the fountain of the World Trade Center plaza. Damaged on September 11th, it now stands in Battery Park, where it was rededicated by the mayor in March 2002. "For 30 years, it stood in the World Trade Center as a symbol of peace," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the rededication ceremony. "On September 11, it was damaged, not destroyed," he said.
In Eisenhower Mall, near Bowling Green and adjacent to Hope Garden in historic Battery Park
South Street Seaport
The South Street Seaport is a perfect, if unlikely, place for residents to purchase anything from mainstream clothing to specialty decorations and treats. In fact, the South Street Seaport offers more than 35 restaurants and 100 places to shop.
89 South Street , Pier 17
Phone: (212) 732-8257
St. Paul's Chapel
This chapel, where George Washington worshipped in 1789, is New York's oldest public building to remain in continuous use. For 10 months after 9/11, it served as a round-the-clock relief center for emergency rescue workers. It now sponsors an exhibit about that period called "Unwavering Spirit," which is free and open to the public.
Broadway at Fulton Street
Phone: (212) 233-4164
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Statue of Liberty
A gift of international friendship from France, Ms. Liberty stands tall in New York Harbor as a symbol of freedom and democracy. Currently, only the grounds of Liberty Island are open to visitors. The monument reopened in 2004.
Phone: (212) 363-3206
Hours: Open every day of the year, except December 25th, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: There is no admission fee for Liberty Island. Round-trip ferry tickets cost $10 for adults, $4 for children ages four to 12, and $8 for senior citizens ages 62 and older.
Tribute WTC Visitor Center offers visitors to the World Trade Center site a place where they can connect with people from September 11th community. Through walking tours, exhibits and programs, the Tribute WTC Visitor Center offers "person to Person History," linking visitors who want to understand and appreciate these historic events with those who experience them.
Phone: 1 866-737-1184 (212) 393-9160 ext 138
Hours: Open Mon 10AM-6PM, Tues 12PM-6PM, Wed-Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 12PM-5PM
Wireless Operators Memorial
This memorial, dedicated in 1915, brings you back to the days when radiomen were indispensable members of nautical crews who served under often-perilous conditions. These men could -- and, as the memorial demonstrates, did -- die in the service of their vessels. Indeed, the first name inscribed on the memorial is that of Jack Phillips, the radio operator on the ill-fated Titantic.
Battery Park, just west of East Coast Memorial