From the coffee break room on the 23rd Floor of the building on Old Slip, my gaze fixed upon the choppy water. The weather, a blend of dampness and dreariness, had subdued the surroundings. This inspired me, prompting a desire to capture the scene. Taking my camera in hand, I stepped out, commencing an unplanned exploration of the Financial District.
I began with a leisurely stroll along South Street, a path steeped in historical significance. Starting from Old Slip and proceeding toward Wall Street, each step felt like a venture into the city's financial hub. The juxtaposition of modern architecture against the cloudy sky created a visual contrast, underscoring the district's dynamic nature.
At one point, I crossed bustling South Street and returned to Pier 11, a maritime gateway that seemed to invite tales of distant shores. Meandering along the waterfront, the interaction between the restless waters and the city's urban energy captivated me. Despite towering skyscrapers and bustling activity, the waterfront emanated serenity—a sanctuary amid urban life.
As I traced a route along the pier, I took a brief excursion, exploring just a block or two from my starting point. Yet, within that short span, I was transported to a different realm—where the city's elements blended seamlessly with the natural surroundings. It served as a reminder that moments of tranquillity can be uncovered even amidst urban surroundings.
Contemplating my brief foray along the Financial District's waterfront, I realised that spontaneous explorations often yield unexpected gems.
Today I worked in Manhattan at the client's Old Slip address in the New York Financial District. As I have done the last few times, I drove for almost two hours minutes into Jersey City and parked in the Paulus Hook neighbourhood. The parking deck is a few minutes walk from the Paulus Hook Ferry Terminal. While I don’t enjoy the commute once I am in the New York office, I have more options for lunch and exploration than at the Metro Park, New Jersey office. Commuting to Iselin is easier and faster, but escaping the hoise of the open plan office means sitting in my car.
As I did on my last commute to the Financial District, I brought my camera, my FujiFilm X-T2, and my only lens, the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR. This is only the second time I have done this since I bought the camera a few weeks ago. It’s a bit of a hassle bringing the camera kit. My TimBuk 2 messenger bag was never meant to carry a camera kit plus all the other things I need for the workday — over-the-ear headphones, notebook, iPad Pro, snacks, diabetes kits, phone charging kit. It just doesn’t fit well. I squeezed it all, but the bag bulked like the straps would burst. I think it’s time I bought a larger bag.
It was lunchtime, and I wanted to eat out (the office noise is a motivator), but it was hard to choose with so many options. I decided to walk on South Street and hoped to find something appealing. Last week I walked toward Battery Park, so today I walked in the opposite direction; toward Brooklyn Bridge.
Some people say it’s the end of summer, but the heat and humidity on this day suggest otherwise. The temperature yesterday at noon was around 32ºC (~90ºF), and the humidity was over 50%.
After a few minutes of slow walking, I spotted some trees and umbrellas just under the FDR. I thought it might be another urban oasis — a park under the highway. I was curious, but I also hoped it was a restaurant. I crossed South Street at Maiden Lane and made my way over to the area.
Yep, it was a restaurant and a park. I perused the menu at Industry Kitchen, but the crab cake caught my attention. The hostess gave me a choice of sitting inside the air-conditioned bar and lounge, but despite the heat and humidity, I decided to sit outside to observe people and the park. I ordered the crab cake and Camp Wannamango by Harpoon Brewing. Lunch was $34 with a tip. But Bhavna told me (we were texting during lunch) that the view was worth it.
After lunch, I explored the backyard of the restaurant — what some may call the South Street Seaport District.
Many people were eating lunches they acquired from the street side vendors. It’s a much cheaper lunch, and you still enjoy the view from park benches and seats.
I was surprised at how many people were walking around despite the heat and humidity.
I explored Hornblower Cruises & Events Pier 15, both the pier and urban lounge. I had an excellent view of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and many sunbathers enjoyed the sunlight.
I was starting to feel the warmth, but it was time to end the lunch hour and return to the office. I slowly walked back down the other side of South Street toward Pier 11.
I think it’s exciting what I can discover with a few minutes of exploration in my colloquialbackyard.
Backyard: A person's neighbourhood, or an area nearby to a person's usual residence or place of work and where the person is likely to go.