Living in Lower Manhattan: Everything’s Great When You’re Downtown
Living in Lower Manhattan was once pretty much unheard of. Today, the area is one of the most popular in the city, thanks to a plethora of great housing, retail, and entertainment options. This article explores the things that make Lower Manhattan great.
Depending on who you ask, Lower Manhattan is defined as either the part of the city below Union Square, everything below Canal Street, or (for a few nitpicky geographers) the whole area below Chambers Street. Whichever marker you use, most of Lower Manhattan used to be a desolate, empty wasteland where very few people and even fewer merchants cared or dared to tread. Back then, if you were looking for a seedy but fun underground club, you could probably find 25 of them, but tracking down a cab was an epic feat. Today, you can hail a cab here at any time of the day or night, and shiny residential towers are popping up and changing the shape of the Lower Manhattan skyline faster than you can say “expansion.” Now people are finally able to live, work, and play in Lower Manhattan without stepping foot outside of its boundaries.
If having great places to shop right outside your door is important to you, Lower Manhattan is one of the best places to be in the city. If you’re not satisfied with a Chanel dress unless you get it for at least 60 percent off, you’ll love Century 21 department store on Cortlandt Street. A shopper’s mecca, it’s filled with everything from last season’s discount couture to tablecloths. It goes without saying that the shops in SoHo and Tribeca are, quite simply, the best in the world. Head to Jamin Puech on Prince Street before heading over to Anna Sui down on Greene Street to find a dress to go with that bag. There are plenty of stores in the area to fit every price point, so no one has to go home empty-handed.
Among its many other treasures, this area is renowned for its schools. Lower Manhattan’s public schools are some of the most highly rated in the city. Parents who could easily afford to pay high five-figure preschool tuitions are choosing to enroll their little ones in one of the area’s top public schools, including the famed P.S. 234, P.S. 89, P.S. 150, and the relatively new Spruce Street School. Parents love the diversity and the sense of community these schools seem to foster. Parents who want to go the private school route instead have many amazing options, too, including the insanely popular Grace Church School and the uber-chic Avenues school.
You may or may not be lucky enough to score a terrace or outdoor space with your apartment, but you’ve got some of the world’s greatest outdoor spaces right outside your door. There are few things as magical as running down the West Side Highway toward Battery Park at sunset. If you take a detour through Hudson Street, stop in at Health & Harmony for a carrot-apple-ginger juice with extra ginger. If you’re looking for more of a chill-out outdoor space, you just can’t beat the High Line. Have a glass of wine at the Biergarten at the Standard after a crazy day, and you’ll remember why you chose this city.
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