Location Lower Manhattan is where modern, bustling, commercially driven New York City began in the 1600s — firstly as a Dutch Colony, before the British finally took control in 1664 — and it remains the city’s financial center, and that of America, too. It is the home of the notorious Wall Street and the World Trade Center site. Within steps of the hotel is One World Trade Center, which was initially dubbed Freedom Tower, and is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The reflecting pools and 9/11 memorial are also on hand. Lower Manhattan is also home to Columbia University, which was founded in 1754, and the first Congress of the United States sat at Federal Hall on Wall Street, circa 1789, while New York City was the nation’s short-lived capital. To the south, towards New York Harbor, lies both the new-built community of Battery Park City and the historic South Street Seaport. Northwards, the SoHo, Meatpacking District, West Village, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, Nolita, and the East Village offer a myriad of bars, restaurants, and shopping, much of it boutique and individual to the city — if you get off the main, more subscribed streets, that is. Lower Manhattan is referred to as Downtown and since the 1950s offered lower rents and became the home and work space for artists and musicians. The massive development has threatened the area culturally, pushing artists over the Brooklyn Bridge, which connects Manhattan and Long Islands in Lower Manhattan.
The Hotel Millenium Hilton opened in the Fiancial District in 1992 after two years of construction. Rather childishly, the developers chose to deliberately misspell the name, leaving off one n and perhaps rendering its title meaningless. Nevertheless, the hotel’s 55 stories and monolithic smoked black exterior have a late-20th century grandeur, both modern and minimal. The hotel has 569-rooms and suites. Less than a decade after its opening, the Millenium Hilton was severely damaged by the events of 9/11, which unfolded right in front of the hotel, right before some guests’ eyes. The flag that flew outside the entrance up until that day was recovered by some staff members. It now hangs discreetly in the lobby. The lobby is a bright area with a corner bar and lots of seating. Check in and the concierge desk, as well as a small shop, complete the ground floor space. Notably, by the Fulton Street entrance, the hotel’s American flag, which was rescued by staff after the 9/11 blasts tore up the hotel’s frontage, hangs, framed on a wall.
View of a Room: 4711 This corner suite offers views far up the west side of Manhattan — construction, ever ongoing, has blocked off some of the magnificent city vistas, though. The bedroom has views over the Hudosn to New Jersey, too, but the sights are dominated by One World Trade Center, whihc is smack bang in front of the picture window. Look down from that window and the North Pool, part of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, glistens below, surrounded by dozens of fledgling trees. It’s an oasis of calm, and a much vivisted one.
Besides astounding views, the bedroom also offers an amazingly comfortable king bed with a large flatscreen on the dresser. The bathroom has Philip Thomas Roth toiletries, and robes and slippers await in the closet. The separate living room has a couch, a work desk, coffee/tea station, mini bar, and another TV. The decor is muted: beige, caramel, and brown. The art work is understated, too. This stylish, but neutral interior contrasts well with the complex city backdrop all around the room. At the night, the city lights never cease to astound.
Restaurant and bars The first floor lobby bar, Liquid Assets, the title a nod to the hotel’s location, is accented by sunshine yellow and has views to the bustling street. There’s complimentary WiFi in the lobby area. Church & Dey Restaurant, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is located on the third floor. Both the restaurant and lobby were renovated in 2012.
Fitness, pool There is a fitness center and an indoor pool.
Parking There is valet only parking at the Fulton Street garage, but no in-out privileges.
55 Church St, New York, NY 10007
Photo credit: Hilton Hotel Group/Hotel Junkie