I’ve been living in FiDi (the Financial District of NY) for 8 years now. I made my way down to the tip of the island shortly after 9/11. Rent was cheap, apartments were spacious (for NY standards). The area itself is old; ‘Early America’ old. And in case you weren’t aware, I’m a big history nerd. So for me to live right in the center of Old New York, it was heaven. Soon after moving to FiDi, I met Joel and he joined me downtown (not that he minded leaving his tiny bachelor pad in the East Village!). And we’ve been downtown, together, ever since.
Downtown has been very slow to emerge. I can recall only a few lunchtime deli’s and a couple ‘OK’ pizza joints, none of which stayed open on the weekends. There were some historic bars, but they were full of the Wall Street crowd most of the time which meant they didn’t stay open when Wall Street closed. All that said, FiDi is FINALLY coming into its own! In fact, New York Magazine just named FiDi as number 18 on it’s next big neighborhoods list. That’s very exciting to me because it means that more businesses are moving downtown and more businesses will actually stay open on the weekends!
A huge player in the neighborhoods rejuvenation is restauranteur Peter Poulakakos. He started the FiDi restaurant scene with Stone Street and places such as Vintry Wine and Whiskey (mmm), Harry’s Italian, Harry’s Cafe (all you can drink Champagne brunch on Saturdays), Ulysses and the list goes on.
As if all that wasn’t enough, FiDi will be graced with the presence of the best shrimp and lobster roll in town – Luke’s Lobster. Other newcomers to the FiDi scene are Crepes du Nord, the soon to open (and soon to be named) bar by the owners of Death & Co., and Porterhouse Brewing Company at Fraunces Tavern (fantastic beer selection). Some (not-that-old) oldies but goodies are – Leo’s Bagels for best bagels below 14th St, Wall Street Burger Shoppe and Zaitzeff.
Aside from all of the new foodie joints, Cipriani’s now calls Wall Street home as well as The Andaz Hotel and its tiny, but mighty Saturday farmers market (back May 1st for the season!). You can catch the Governors Island Ferry, take a trip to Ikea and the Statue of Liberty, visit Federal Hall as well as The National Museum of the American Indian (which will soon boast a native American food truck!) – all from downtown.
I am elated to see how downtown continues to grow. It appears that NYC has finally discovered our little neck of the woods and how lovely it can be.