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Downtown New York City – The Neighborhood's Top Sightseeing, Shopping & More

February 15, 2011 - by City Guide

The memorial to those who perished in the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center won’t open for a couple more years, but you can visit the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site. You can learn about the plans for and progress of Memorial and Museum currently being built at the World Trade Center site, view real-time images of the construction progress, and participate in the creation of the Museum by sharing your 9/11 story. A few pieces from the museum’s permanent collection are on display, including a seven-foot Statue of Liberty covered with photos, dried flowers and 9/11 condolence cards that stood for months outside a midtown Manhattan firehouse after the attacks. The Preview Site is open Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm; Sun., 10am-6pm. Admission is free. 20 Vesey St. (Church St.), 212-267-2047; national911memorial.org.

Downtown is home to one of the city’s largest selections of audio, video, and digital equipment: J&R Music and Computer World. They offer an unparalleled selection of audio, video, digital, SLR and professional cameras, computers and software, PDAs, iPods and MP3 players, as well as CDs, DVDS, 110/220 products, and more. Plus, they have a well-stocked, in-house Apple Store. You’ll find a vast selection of low-priced products in a user-friendly, interactive environment, with knowledgeable, multi-lingual salespeople. Park Row, across from City Hall, 212-238-9000; jr.com.

From J&R, it’s a short walk to one of the most breathtaking sights in New York City. At over 125 years old, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most spectacular monuments to human industry, and its broad pedestrian walkways afford an unsurpassed view of lower Manhattan. But no sight is more impressive than the bridge itself -- nearly 6000 feet long, 272 feet high, and reinforced by four steel cables, each composed of 5700 wires. Its grand silhouette has inspired generations of New York poets, and has brought out the poet in generations of New Yorkers.

The South Street Seaport district dates back to the 1600s and has grown into one of the city’s most vital commercial centers with a museum and many shops and restaurants. In the 1960s, the streets that run through the heart of it were closed and repaved with cobblestones, making it a unique place to eat, shop, stroll, and view riverfront activities. Pier 17 (Water-Fulton Sts.), 212-732-7678.

Have you ever wanted to see what lies beneath your skin and understand how the most complex organism on the planet -- the human body -- works? At BODIES…The Exhibition -- located near the South Street Seaport -- you have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see yourself like never before -- from the inside out. Since November 2005, BODIES… has offered visitors a chance to see their body and its functions from a position that has always been reserved for doctors and scientists -- until now. With meticulously preserved full-bodies, individual organs and partial body specimens on display, visitors see the human body up-close and in-depth. In addition to providing a look inside our skeletal, muscular, respiratory, and circulatory systems, the exhibition serves as a wake-up call demonstrating how our own choices directly affect our health. Tickets are available at the door (11 Fulton St., South Street Seaport), or in advance at 888-9BODIES or bodiestheexhibition.com. Open 7 days a week, Sun.-Thurs., 10am-8pm and Fri.-Sat., 10am-10pm, with last admission one hour prior to closing. (Disclaimer: Premier cannot independently verify the provenance of the human remains in this exhibit.)

And if you’re looking to experience a special insider’s view of the engineering marvel that is the Statue of Liberty, Statue Cruises (877-523-9849; statuecruises.com) offers exclusive water tour service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. Their boats depart from Battery Park City and Liberty State Park, providing exciting and memorable tours to these icons of American culture, and stunning vistas of the New York Harbor.

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