New York City, NY, USA

What It's Like to Live in Lower Manhattan, New York City

Get the inside scoop on this evolving area of the city that never sleeps

Though sometimes thought to be synonymous with Wall Street and the World Trade Center site, Lower Manhattan is much more than New York's financial hub -- it's also one of the city's fastest-growing neighborhoods. Millions of dollars have been put into rebuilding and revitalizing Lower Manhattan since Sept. 11, and the area's population has more than doubled in the last eight years. And with new residents come new schools, housing, restaurants and shops.

Is Lower Manhattan a place you'd like to call home? Learn the pros and cons of living in this New York neighborhood from four residents who know the area.

"The energy is amazing," says Catherine McVay Hughes, a resident of Lower Manhattan for almost 22 years. "When you walk out onto the street, you feel the energy of Lower Manhattan. There's a vibrancy you don't feel anywhere else."

As one of New York City's oldest neighborhoods, Lower Manhattan offers an intriguing contrast of sights: soaring skyscrapers and bustling sidewalks paired with winding cobblestone alleys and picturesque parks. Andy Jacobson, a graphic designer who's lived in the Financial District for 14 years, thinks the area offers a distinctly different experience than some of New York's more traditional neighborhoods.

"It's kind of fun to have the whole New York experience of being in the heart of a commercial area -- lots of businesses, business people and big office towers -- but having these tiny pockets of cute neighborhoods and shops," Jacobson says.

Beyond the energetic Financial District, certain areas of Lower Manhattan offer a sense of community not frequently found in the city. Jeff Shapiro, who moved to Lower Manhattan in 1986 after opening a dental practice in the Financial District, currently lives in Battery Park City and calls it "the suburbs of the city."

"It's one of the few places in New York that has water, parks, trees and a lot of open areas," Shapiro says. "It's very conducive to living and having kids."

Originally from Indiana, magazine editor Stephanie Rygorsky bought her first home in lower Manhattan a year and a half ago and agrees that the area is a great place to live if you have a family or a pet.

"There's a lot of space for the money, and it's quiet," Rygorsky says. "So I get the relaxed weekend feel that I got more of in the Midwest."

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