As the oldest neighborhood in Manhattan, the Financial District holds plenty of secrets. Founded in 1624, the area dates back to the days of Dutch New Amsterdam. During the British colonial era, it became an important seat of the American Revolution and held important buildings like Federal Hall, which was originally meant to be the seat of federal government when New York City — not Washington D.C. — was the capital of the newly formed United States of America.
Of course, the Financial District became famous as the financial center of the United States — a status that has been depicted in films like the Wolf of Wall Street. But beyond its famous landmarks, the Financial District holds many fascinating stories. From the existence of a hidden park to the fake pediment crowning the New York Stock Exchange, here are ten fascinating secrets of the Financial District.
1. There’s a hidden park called the Elevated Acre
It would be easy to walk right past the escalator at tucked between two office towers at 55 Water Street without a second thought, but take it up and you’ll find yourself in a lush, green oasis in the middle of the Financial District. The Elevated Acre was created in the 1970s and redesigned in 2005. It’s one of New York City’s POPS (privately owned public spaces), which exist thanks to zoning laws that allow developers to build higher if they create public space.
The Elevated Acre has benches and landscaping in addition to a lawn where in-the-know commuters bring their lunch when it’s warm outside. It also has incredible views of the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge.