The City Turned Inside Out: A Walk from Battery Park to Fulton Street
While the cast of HAMILTON sings “The World Turned Upside Down,” New Yorkers could easily hum along to “The City Turned Inside Out” this summer. (not a real song) Where once a city’s important work took place indoors - within the soaring office buildings, famous restaurants, legendary museums, and storied performance halls, the COVID-19 epidemic has literally turned the residents outdoors.
|New landscaping in Battery Park|
At least it’s summer in the city, when spending time outdoors is common and pleasant enough. Still, the city remains strange this summer of 2020.
|Shade plants like hosta thrive in Battery Park. The Statue of Liberty is in the distance.|
With the absence of tourists, and with office workers connecting virtually from home, many of the city’s main attractions aren’t attracting many visitors. A walk from the Battery to Fulton Street on a pleasant Thursday afternoon bore this out.
|Statue Cruises is still sailing.|
It’s uplifting to at least find plants that are alive and happy. Thanks to the city’s gardeners and landscapers, the city parks are looking particularly lush and splendid this summer. The grounds of Battery Park feel tropical, with an abundance of shade-loving perennials.
In many pockets of the city, though, people are still showing up for work. Neighbors still wander over to the neighborhood park for a stroll or to the local grocery store. One of the remarkable aspects of this health crisis is how many people have largely stayed within the bubbles of their own neighborhoods.
Outdoor dining is pleasant and common in the summertime, but it’s odd to see the restaurants popping up their outdoor spaces in unexpected places.
While Stone Street in the Financial District (above) has long institutionalized the arrangement and been a favorite of the trading classes, it’s surprising to come upon restaurants spilling out of the sidewalk on Broad Street near the Stock Exchange.
|The restaurant Tacombi on Broad Street|
Many traders long ago shifted to virtual trading desks, but without tourists, Wall Street looks particularly deserted.
|Reserve Cut, a steakhouse on Broad Street|
The bronze statues of Fearless Girl by Kristen Visbal and George Washington by John Quincy Adams Ward have occasional visitors.
|Fearless Girl, Broad Street|
|Federal Hall, Wall Street|
As a public safety announcement, anyone in need of hand sanitizer should look for the dispenser tied up to the information map next to Equinox on Wall Street.
|Wall Street |
One perk of a tourist-less town is easy access to the city’s public art collection, especially fine throughout the Financial District. Among these are Jean Dubuffet's Group of Four Trees, 1969-72, in front of the Chase Manhattan Bank Plaza off of Pine Street and the Louise Nevelson Plaza on Maiden Lane.
|Jean Dubuffet, Group of Four Trees, One Chase Manhattan Plaza|
Though cars outnumbered pedestrians on this afternoon, it’s still possible to step off the sidewalk and have a good look at One World Trade Center from the middle of Fulton Street.
Or, look north on lower Broadway in front of St. Paul’s Chapel.
|Broadway at Fulton Street|
It's still there, New York City. The city is still out there.
|Fulton Transit Center|
The city plans to add 40 more blocks to allow increased outside dining areas on sidewalks and streets. The Open Restaurants program has been extended to October 31.
Images from the afternoon of Thursday, July 16, 2020.
Walking notes: The walk begins at the South Ferry station of the 1 train and ends at the Fulton Transit Center with access to additional lines.
• A Morning Walk from Pandemic Station to Pandemic Square (Penn Station to Times Square) July 8, 2020