I finally have my sunset drink, but not at 14 Wall or the Greatest Bar on Earth. Instead I end up at the Wall Street Kitchen & Bar, a cavernous two-story room just down Broad Street from the NYSE. And instead of a glowing sunset, I've got CNBC projected above the bar on a giant screen with ticker quotes running along the bottom.
The place is jammed, but hardly anyone is actually sitting on the barstools. Men with their ties loosened, as well as a handful of women, stand around in tight clusters, shouting into one another's ears, much as they do on the trading floor—except now they're eating buffalo wings and drinking pints of Brooklyn Lager.
Without thinking, I head for the balcony, lean on the railing, and watch. It occurs to me that the new Wall Street isn't so different from the old Wall Street.
I wonder what J. P. Morgan would think of buffalo wings.
For an indispensable guide to the Financial District, pick up the free TrailsMap (published by Heritage Trails New York), available at 25 locations throughout lower Manhattan.
Long before the Financial District's revival, New Yorkers who otherwise never ventured south of TriBeCa would make pilgrimages to Century 21, the legendary department store across from the World Trade Center. A friend of mine calls it "a feminized Mercantile Exchange": three stories of discounted designer merchandise that puts Filene's Basement to shame. For the fashion-conscious, Century 21 is a shrine, albeit a very frenetic shrine. It's also famous for having only a few dressing rooms; the aisles are packed with women clad in body stockings, shimmying into Gigli or Moschino. Like the floor of the Merc, it is not a place for the bashful.