Neighborhood Tour: Tribeca, Financial District and Civic Center
by Joey Arak
Part Tribeca, Financial District and Civic Center, this often-overlooked area is going through big changes.
The new eatery in the Smyth hotel has a more rustic feel than the typical French brasserie, but don’t let the farmhouse vibe fool you—this is Gallic overindulgence at its best. Exhibit A: the eight-ounce burger from haute beef purveyor Pat La Frieda, stuffed with cheese and topped with black truffle aioli. 85 West Broadway, 212- 204-5555; pleinsudnyc.com
A cool sports bar is like Bigfoot: rumored to exist but rarely seen. This cozy tavern from nightlife veteran Matt Abramcyk (Employees Only, the Beatrice Inn) and New York Rangers bad boy Sean Avery proves scenesters can cheer their teams in style. The competition on the bar’s vintage tabletop arcade games can get just as spirited as the action on the flat-screen TVs. 77 Warren St., 212-227-8994; warren77nyc.com
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, this tiny neighborhood favorite should be protected by the Secret Service. Dishing up breakfast until 4:30 PM every day, these captains of comfort food have a plate of pancakes and a fat slice of fruit pie with your name on it. 156 Chambers St., 212-267-6740; kitchenetterestaurant.com
Vesey Street to the south; Reade Street to the north; West Street to the west; Broadway and Centre Street to the east.
P.S. 234, INDEPENDENCE SCHOOL
Public; kindergarten through grade five Regarded as one of the top elementary schools in the city, public or private, P.S. 234 usually has more applicants than seats. That doesn’t stop parents from moving to the area in hopes of getting their kids in. 292 Greenwich St., 212-233-6034; ps234.org
CHURCH STREET SCHOOL FOR MUSIC AND ART
Tuition charges per semester; all ages Though not a “school” in the technical sense, this nonprofit arts education center has been instructing the creative offspring of cool Downtowners since 1990, including the kids of Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. 74 Warren St., 212-571-7290; churchstreetschool.org
City Hall and Park
CITY HALL AND PARK
City Hall, finished in 1812, is one of the oldest continuously used city halls in the country. The exterior is a protected landmark, as is the interior rotunda. A surrounding eight-plus-acre park is popular with lunching office workers and photohappy tourists. Broadway and Chambers St.
Five-and-dime store magnate Frank Woolworth commissioned this masterpiece of early skyscraper design in 1910, and for a while, its nearly 60-story height made it the tallest building in the world. 233 Broadway
AFRICAN BURIAL GROUND
While digging for the construction of a federal office building in the early ’90s, workers found a long-forgotten cemetery that’s believed to hold the remains of 20,000 freed and enslaved Africans buried in the 17th and 18th centuries on the outskirts of the New Amsterdam settlement. The site is now a national monument, and a new visitors center opened in February. 290 Broadway
PHOTOGRAPHS BY SAM HORINE (PLEIN SUD); DANIEL G. AVILA (CITY HALL PARK); REBECCA TAYLOR (WARREN 77); PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF SEVENTH ART GROUP (101 WARREN, ARTISAN LOFTS); JON FURNISS/WIREIMAGE.COM (STEWART); BEN GABBE/PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM (CRAIG); JERRITT CLARK/WIREIMAGE.COM (STRAHAN)