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Getaway: Thinking outside the box in New York City

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We Montrealers have probably been to New York City more than once already. Top 5 most visited city in the world, just behind Paris and London, the Big Apple, who received 13 million visitors last year, is a traveling “classic”. While we might think we’ve seen it all already, why not think again, and, above all, think outside the box and forget about what we already know?

When people think of New York City, Manhattan is often the first place we picture. The borough is home to big-name attractions, such as Central Park, the Empire State Building, the High Line and the bright lights of Time Square and Broadway. But there’s more to the borough than the obvious sights. Manhattan contains charming neighbourhoods and hidden green spaces, trendy boutiques and classic bars. Next time you go, why not stay away from the touristic center and explore… more South.

The site of 2 World Trade Center is now home to a large public art installation in Lower Manhattan.

The transformation of Lower Manhattan

For decades, the district of Lower Manhattan was associated to one thing and one thing only: Wall Street. But, things have changed and mentalities have evolved. In the last few years, New Yorkers started moving a little further south because other neighbourhoods were saturated and not suited to raise a family. Afterwards people also realized that Lower Manhattan is ideally located, close to the waterfront, the subway station and the ferry. Slowly, it is becoming the new hot spot and also a very interesting and mixed neighbourhood.

Lower Manhattan evolved so much that it is now being renamed Downtown Manhattan, becoming a vibrant, creative living district, with now 61,000 residents {triple that of 2000}. To illustrate that important repositioning, the renowned financial building of One Wall Street is actually being converted into a massive high-end residential and lifestyle project. Undergoing the largest office to condo transformation in New York’s history – the 50-storey art deco building will be an integrated residential development of 566 condominiums.

Undergoing the largest office to condo transformation in New York’s history – the 50-storey art deco building of One Wall Street will be an integrated residential development of 566 condominiums. Photo: Courtesy of Macklowe Properties

What to do in Downtown Manhattan

This changing neighbourhood has a lot to offer with its stunning architecture, world class shopping, dining, and abundant outdoor and waterfront access.

Pier17 is home to the Seaport Museum and the city’s largest concentration of restored maritime buildings, Pier 17 is being reclaimed for New Yorkers via dynamic food, drink, art, architecture, retail, and entertainment concepts that foster community and engage the city’s denizens, year-round. Pier 17 and the surrounding Seaport District comes out of its tourist trap shadows as its new tenants incorporate the neighbourhood’s rich past, while embracing its future as a port of discovery.

Pier17 is home to the Seaport Museum and the city’s largest concentration of restored maritime buildings.

Oculus/Westfield Mall. Opened in 2016, the “Oculus” serves as the center piece of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, incorporating 78,000 square feet of multi level state-of-the-art retail and dining. The concourses emanating from the Oculus link the entirety of the site above and below grade. With an additional 290,000 square feet of exciting, multi-level retail and dining space, the World Trade Center site is the focal point of Downtown Manhattan.

Brookfield Place is one of New York City’s newest and most dynamic districts. The 14-acre, 5-building complex on the Hudson River in Downtown Manhattan is home to some of the world’s most innovative companies and one of New York’s most celebrated experiential, culinary and shopping destinations.

Hotel Indigo Lower East Side’s lobby is located on the 14th floor of the building

Interesting new hotels and restaurants also recently opened such as : the very cool and hype Indigo Hotel Lower East Side, ( an IHG Hotel) where a custom mural by graffiti legend Lee Quiñones greets you as you enter their 14th-floor lobby accompanied by a spectacular 360-degree view of Manhattan.

The hotel also offers something very in demand in New York City : a rooftop where you can sip a cocktail outside or take a dip in the open-air, heated pool (in season, of course). In addition, celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio opened restaurant Temple Court in the very chic Beekman Hotel while Jean Georges Vongerichten has also committed to opening up a restaurant in the Seaport District.

Brookfield Place is one of New York City’s newest and most dynamic districts.

Getting there

Now that you are sold on the Southwest neighbourhood on the island of Manhattan, you need to plan your next getaway. While you must already know your way to New York City, did you know about the Newark Air Tran? Forget about the costly taxis that will take you about an hour in traffic. You can get from Newark airport to New York Penn Station in 30 minutes chrono and – because you will want to visit and stay in “the new Downtown Manhattan” – to the World Trade Center in 40 minutes with the Newark Air Tran. Newark is a great airport option while visiting New York City.

The main airline that flies to Newark from Montreal is Porter, which offers hard-to-beat rates, comfortable seats (they do not have middle seats!) and generous in-flight service (they offer free beer, wine and snacks). Considering that you will not pay a fortune for your plane ticket and land in Newark where you will be able to take the Air Tran directly to Downtown Manhattan, your next getaway is a no brainer. And you can then do just like me : sit back, relax, enjoy and rediscover a city you thought you knew by heart. Happy travels !

by Catherine Maisonneuve, Lifestyle Editor

catherine@mtltimes.ca

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