In the current environment, with tighter-than-normal budgets, many New York metropolitan area residents are choosing to stay close to home and visit Lower Manhattan, which offers some of the nation’s most powerful and historic sites as well as exciting entertainment and cultural events. Since people can get to Lower Manhattan by a wide variety of public transportation, visitors can leave their cars at home.

The Alliance for Downtown New York recommends the following programs and activities that are sure to delight, inform and entertain.

Free Concerts, Performances and Cultural Events

The Downtown Alliance presents the eight-annual River to River Festival, a world-class
performing arts festival that features a broad sweep of programming and free admission.
The 2009 River to River Festival kicks-off on May 31st with the popular “Bang on a Can” festival.
The arts celebration runs through September, and presents performances and events in a variety of public venues that canvas all of Downtown New York — from Chambers Street down to the southern tip of Manhattan and across the island from river to river.

For detailed information about the River to River Festival and a full schedule of events, please visit www.rivertorivernyc.com. (Note: the Web site will go live on May 4, 2009.)

Free Wall Street Walking Tour

The Downtown Alliance offers a very popular, free 90-minute guided walking tour of Lower Manhattan every Thursday and Saturday at noon, rain or shine. The walking tour weaves together the history, events, architecture and people of Downtown — the birthplace of New York, the financial capital of the world, and the hottest new neighborhood in the city. Stops include the U.S. Custom House, Trinity Church, Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and other architectural and cultural sites. The tours meet at the front steps of the US Custom House (One Bowling Green) at the foot of Broadway. Reservations are not required for individuals, but are required for groups. Please call for details: (212) 606-4064.

Free Transportation

It is easy to get to Downtown New York from every borough and the surrounding region. Lower Manhattan is the most accessible neighborhood in New York, with an extensive public transportation network. The area is served by 14 subway lines (A, C, E, J, M, Z, R, W, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), eight local and 25 express bus routes, multiple ferry routes and PATH train service to New Jersey.  The Downtown Alliance’s free Downtown Connection® bus service is the most convenient way to explore Downtown's businesses, shops, restaurants and attractions.
The Downtown Connection® route covers Water Street, State Street, Battery Place, West Thames Street, South End Avenue, River Terrace, North End Avenue and the new shopping and dining corridors on Murray and Warren Streets, making stops at many important destinations from river to river. Popular destinations include the South Street Seaport, the New York City Police Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the
Skyscraper Museum, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Battery Park City, the World Financial
Center, J&R Music and Computer World and Century 21 department store. Stone Street, New York City’s most unique “restaurant row,” is also along the route, so take a trip back in time and enjoy a drink or European-style café dining on this historic, cobble-stoned thoroughfare! And since the Downtown Connection® is free, riders can hop on and off the buses as often as they would like. Downtown Connection® bus service is provided seven days a week, starting at 10am and ending with a final run at 7:30 p.m. Buses run at 10 minute intervals (traffic permitting) and meet ADA standards.Additional information and a route map can be found at www.downtownny.com.

Free Bicycles

There is no better way to explore Lower Manhattan than by bicycle, so be sure to take advantage of the Downtown Alliance’s “Bike Around Downtown” program. Biking enthusiasts, visitors, and local residents and workers who want a convenient way to travel around and explore the district can reserve a bicycle — free of charge — during specific time periods seven days a week.
The bike sharing program will return to the South Street Seaport shortly.

Free Wireless Internet Connections

The Downtown Alliance provides free wireless internet access in nine different public spaces throughout Lower Manhattan. Log on via your laptop or PDA and surf the Web, check your email and send instant messages while relaxing in the park or in air-conditioned comfort. Free wireless Internet access is available in City Hall Park, Bowling Green Park, the World Financial Center Winter Garden, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 55 Water Street, Plaza at 7, World Trade Center, British Memorial Garden, 60 Wall Street Atrium, Stone Street, or the South Street Seaport (Pier 17 Food Court and Back Deck).

Detailed information on free wireless Internet connections in Lower Manhattan can be found at:

Free Parks, Plazas & Open Spaces

Lower Manhattan is blessed with the most spectacular vistas in the world — and they are all free to enjoy.
New York begins, literally and figuratively, at Battery Park, one of the oldest parks in the city and the crown jewel of Lower Manhattan. Battery Park is the largest public open space Downtown and features expansive lawns, shade trees and perennial gardens. The park’s waterfront promenades are front-and-center to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, stunning views of New York Harbor, and some of the best fishing spots in the city. No visit to Battery Park is complete without a free tour of historic Castle Clinton National Monument, which is also home to the Downtown Alliance’s free open-air concerts.
Battery Park is also the starting point for a paved recreational path that winds up the West Side of Manhattan, which offers joggers, bikers, skaters and strollers gorgeous Hudson River views. Just north of Battery Park is Bowling Green, New York City’s oldest public park — designated in 1733 “for the beauty and ornament of the said street as well as for the recreation and delight of the inhabitants of this city.” Bowling Green Park has delighted residents and visitors for 276 years and, prior to its designation, the land was the site where Native Americans conducted important meetings and where New York was founded. This past October, the Downtown
Alliance celebrated the history of New York and Bowling Green Park by arranging for the Lower Manhattan community to plant 1,500 orange Dutch tulip bulbs in honor of the 400th anniversary of establishment of New York by the Dutch. The tulip bulbs are just starting to sprout, so be sure not to miss this beautiful sight!
Lower Manhattan boasts some of New York’s greatest attractions, and its compact one-square mile and ever-surprising, off-the street-grid layout makes it perfect for exploring on foot. In fact, Downtown offers one of the great New York experiences to walkers for free — a stroll on the Brooklyn Bridge. The historic Brooklyn Bridge offers a tremendous vantage point one of the world’s greatest panorama views. At the foot of the bridge, visitors can explore the beautifully restored City Hall Park and admire some of Manhattan’s most magnificent and iconic buildings:
City Hall, the Municipal Building, the Surrogate’s Court building, the Woolworth building, the Park Row Building, and the former New York Times building, all of which are New York landmarks.

Information on Lower Manhattan’s fabulous parks, plazas and open spaces can be found at
Free Information at Our Visitor Kiosks
In keeping with its mission to promote Downtown New York as a premiere place to work, live and visit, the Downtown Alliance operates popular visitor information kiosks in the Plaza at 7 World Trade Center and the concourse of One World Financial Center, directly in front of the Liberty Street pedestrian bridge that spans West Street.

The kiosks are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week and are staffed with friendly
representatives who are available to answer questions and distribute handy and informative visitor guides, brochures and maps of Lower Manhattan’s many attractions and activities.