Tribeca Visitor’s Guide
Why come here?
1. Because Tribeca is gorgeous, a trip back in time to old, industrial New York. 2. Because it’s just north of the World Trade Center, which you’re probably visiting anyway (and Century 21, too). 3. Because you keep hearing the name—thanks to Robert De Niro, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Subaru Tribeca, and/or Jay-Z—and you want to know what the actual place is like. One of the great joys of Tribeca is just wandering and admiring the streetscapes—cobblestones, loading docks, wooden water towers, metal awnings, all of it.
Everyone agrees that the northern border of the Triangle Below Canal—the phrase from which Tribeca gets its name—is Canal Street. But the neighborhood is a fairly recent phenomenon, and its borders have spread. This site tends to consider it bordered by the Hudson River to the west, Broadway to the east, and the World Trade Center to the south.
West Broadway is a totally different street than Broadway. (And there’s also an East Broadway over in Chinatown.)
1. Staple Street. Possibly the coolest street in Manhattan, thanks to the bridge (see photo above). Also, the south end leads to….
2. Duane Park. Twenty-five years ago it was a dump, now it’s a gem.
3. The Ghostbusters firehouse (Ladder 8) at Varick and N. Moore.
4. Hudson River Park between Laight and Canal. The entire park is a treat, but the Tribeca section has a hilly boardwalk. Plus, you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. On Pier 25 (at N. Moore), there’s a mini golf course, a big playground, and a historical ship.
5. Four noteworthy examples of contemporary architecture: 56 Leonard, a.k.a. the Jenga Building; the Spring Street Salt Shed (at Spring and West St.); the Tribeca Synagogue (49 White); Frank Gehry’s rippled skyscraper at 8 Spruce.
I encourage you to check out the Tribeca Citizen Restaurant Guide—the neighborhood has a lot of wonderful restaurants, but they’re scattered all over. You can search by cuisine, level of formality, and newness, as well as see them plotted on a map.
Tribeca is full of terrific shops, with relatively few chain stores, but here are ones that (a) sell stuff you might buy while on a trip, and/or (b) you can’t find everywhere….
••• Korin for Japanese knifes (they’ll ship).
••• There are many great kids’-clothing stores: Babesta, Torly Kid, Koh’s Kids, Polarn O. Pyret, Jacadi, Livly, My Little Sunshine…. Most sell toys, too.
••• Boomerang Toys for regular toys; Playing Mantis for eco-sensitive toys; Balloon Saloon for kitsch.
••• J. Crew Liquor Store, J. Crew’s Ludlow Shop, Grown & Sewn, Rag & Bone, and the Armoury for cool men’s clothes.
••• Steven Alan and James Perse for cool men’s and women’s clothes; Patron of the New for high fashion for women and men.
••• Nili Lotan, Otte, A Uno Tribeca, Roberta Roller Rabbit, Haus Alkire, and La Garçonne for women’s apparel; Edon Manor for highest-end shoes.
••• Cass Lilien and Gurhan Atelier for jewelry; Ted Muehling for jewelry and objets d’art.
••• Shinola for bikes, watches, leather goods, journals, and other American-made stuff.
••• Philip Williams Posters for every kind of vintage poster.
••• Home decor: Espasso (Brazilian), Abhaya (Asian antiques), Stillfried Wien (new and vintage Austrian), Oly, Uhuru, David Weeks Studio, Stella for bedding and the like, Let There Be Neon for neon signs.
••• The Greenwich Hotel
••• Four Seasons New York Downtown
••• Conrad New York (in Battery Park City)
••• The Roxy (formerly the Tribeca Grand)
••• Duane Street Hotel
••• Sheraton Tribeca
••• Cosmopolitan Hotel
••• Hilton Garden Inn
••• Soho Garden Hotel
••• Canal Park Inn
••• There are also a few worthy hotels just north of Canal: Arlo, Hotel Hugo, The James, Sixty Soho, and Soho Grand. And in FiDi: The Beekman.