Visiting Downtown Manhattan New York City

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graphic by Very Small Array

Lower Manhattan has been revitalized. I last visited Lower Manhattan 6 years ago on a Sunday afternoon.  I saw only a handful of people in the area that day, was in Lower Manhattan. It had been a few years since 9-11 yet it was still empty downtown on the weekends. Last month I visited again and to my surprise, downtown is bustling with beautiful new hotels, new shopping, and new restaurants.

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Of course, the new One World Trade Center is now open and the memorial pools are open which I am sure has lent itself to the new visitors to the area. When looking up at the new One World Trade Center it looks almost like a ghost of a building reflecting the sky and very different from the other buildings in the area. At night the top tower is white and luminous.

One advantage Lower Manhattan has is it is situated right next to a large variety of good food. We stopped by Lan Zhou Handmade Noodle for some hand-pulled noodles and the best dumplings. The very best dumplings. Don't let the run down look of the building fool you. You will dine with local Chinese families, a roll of college students at the bar and some wise out of towners. It's a simple menu with authentic Chinese food. A large plate of dumpling is only Only $3!! Be sure to add some of the chili oil and the pickled radish greens that are set on the table.

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My favorite spot to sit is Hudson Eats in Brookfield Place overlooking the Hudson River. Grab a hand-rolled wood oven baked Black Seed Bagel or go downstairs in La District an authentic French shopping district where culinary needs are simply met by walking around from one merchant to the other find cheese, bread charcuterie, and other items to bring back to your hotel or to a park to eat. This is how all mall food courts should look.

We stayed at the new Residence Inn- World Trade Center Area which is close and within walking distance from the museums, shopping, and food. Our room was equipped with a full-size fridge, microwave, dishwasher, dishes, coffee maker and basically anything you need to have a nice home base while in Manhattan. Key amenities include free high-speed internet, free breakfast, pet-friendly, and kitchen/kitchenette. It makes this hotel very family friendly and great for kids with special food needs.

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The beautiful historical building the Residence Inn-World Trade Center now occupies was once the home to American Gemstone of Jewelry. It's in the heart of the financial district. Be sure to know that rooms are center court facing, street view or river view. If you want a view towards the river and the World Trade Center grounds be sure to ask.

image via Julia Rothman

Getting around the Downtown Manhattan area is pretty easy walking but if you want to pop over to Little Italy, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, watch a Broadway Play or Central Park don't be afraid to hop on the subway. The NYC transit system is easy to use and safe. You will be in the company of everyone from wealthy investment bankers to humble hotel housekeeping. It tends to be faster and more cost effective than a taxi. If you are driving into town valet parking is offered at the hotels or if you are lucky you can find a spot on the street. Be sure to watch the signs.

'til our next adventure,