Cutting through the heart of the Financial District in Lower Manhattan, Water Street is lined with modern skyscrapers and historic buildings. Some of New York City's most famous sights are within easy walking distance of this thoroughfare, running between the Brooklyn Bridge and Battery Park and crossing over Wall Street along the way. Sightseeing families looking for public spaces to relax and unwind or get in some play time with the kids have a few options near Water Street, some of them just across the street.
Two Playgrounds Within Two Blocks
At the north end of Water Street, two public playgrounds are within two blocks of each other near the South Street Seaport Museum -- Pearl Street Playground and Imagination Playground. Pearl Street Playground sits at the intersection of Pearl and Fulton streets, where Water Street becomes Pearl Street. In 2012 the playground received a $2.1 million makeover, including all new equipment and the addition of spray showers for kids to run through during warm weather. Closer to the waterfront, Imagination Playground is a staffed interactive space where creativity and cooperative play are encouraged, and kids can build their own playground with the safe play materials on hand, such as giant foam building blocks.
The Tip of the Island
The south end of Water Street leads to Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan. This is the largest park in Lower Manhattan, full of history, scenic green space and gardens. The park also serves as the embarkation point for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. This is a good spot to picnic, wander and take in harbor views; free concerts are common during the summer months. Just north of Battery Park, Bowling Green is the oldest park in New York City and home to the famous Charging Bull statue, an iconic symbol of the Financial District. Bowling Green is also a nesting spot for the peregrine falcon, a protected species.
A handful of smaller pocket parks are found within a block or two of the Water Street corridor, all providing a shady resting spot and respite from the busy sidewalks of this bustling neighborhood. One of these parks -- Vietnam Veterans Plaza between Water Street and South Street -- also serves as a memorial space for quiet reflection. Other pocket parks in the area include the British Garden at Hanover Square along Pearl Street and DeLury Square along Fulton Street, two blocks from the Pearl Street Playground.
A Bridge Worth Strolling
The historic northern portion of Water Street, still paved with cobblestones, sits in the shadow of one of the city's most famous landmarks, the Brooklyn Bridge. The Manhattan end of the bridge is across from City Hall Park, a few blocks from Water Street. From City Hall Park you can access the bridge's pedestrian walkway via the park's bike path. When the weather's nice, a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge -- or even halfway out -- and back is highly recommended for an up-close gander at this iconic structure and to see some of the best city skyline views the Big Apple has to offer.