In the middle of the concrete jungle, there’s a quaint getaway. The Thomas Paine Park on Lafayette and Centre streets is small but features some impressive attractions. To start, there’s a year-round farmer’s market. Secondly, the park is home to the iconic Foley Square Fountain. A number of other landmark monuments is scattered about the park as well.
There’s another great little park that holds vast importance in the city’s history. The City Hall Park, located at the entrance to City Hall, remains one of the most significant open spaces in New York City. The triangular park was created in 1653 and surrounded by a plethora of powerful government buildings. During the pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary eras, it was a stage for many rallies and political movements. Today, you decide to just sit on the bench and soak in the sights and sounds of the city.
Another unique feature located right beneath the City Hall – is the remains of the old IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit Company) subway station. This was the precursor to the current subway system and the station remains intact, even though it was made inactive in 1945. With elegant architecture, and hanging chandeliers, it is actually considered one of the most beautiful subways in the city.
You have made the move to the Civic Center area in perfect time. The area’s newest hotspot for lunch opened just recently and is not to be missed. The Harlem longtime mainstay Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette has made its way south to the East Village and now Civic Center. The smoked brisket and pastrami is out of this world. Today, your lunch will be their famed pastrami sandwich, served on a cracked rye berry and topped with buttermilk fermented cucumber kraut and anchovy mustard. The deliciousness comes in two sizes: The Pops (1/2 pound) and The Ida (1/4 pound).
All of the major headquarters of New York City’s governmental departments are in Civic Center. Many municipal buildings here house the city’s housing authority, social security offices, US Treasury Department, the IRS. The Supreme Court and lower courthouses are also in the area. The FBI building and the NYPD headquarters stand out with their own bold buildings.
Your dinner selection is quite easy on your first – and maybe your second and third – nights in the neighborhood. You have a table at Atera. The restaurant is a Spanish-inspired, high-end culinary destination that has quietly become one of the most under-heralded restaurants in the city. The chef, Ronny Emborg, once worked for the famed El Buli Restaurant in Spain, and has designed his tasting menu to inspire the senses through colors, sights feels, smells and tastes.