The big toe of Lower Manhattan dips into the water where the East River meets the Hudson, outlining a harbor rich with attractions. Three inviting neighborhoods in the area — Battery Park City, TriBeCa and the South Street Seaport — are easily reached by public transportation and offer breezy marinas, ample green space, destination restaurants and a multitude of art galleries. These days, out-of-towners are in scant evidence along the waterfront and Wall Streeters just a mere trickle, apparently in no rush to return to office buildings.

This is not the first time Lower Manhattan has been down. The 20th anniversary of the events of Sept. 11 is looming, but budget cuts mean the 9/11 Memorial & Museum can’t mount a commemorative exhibit. Hurricane Sandy further ravaged streets and businesses in 2012. Damage to lives and livelihoods from the coronavirus will take a while to heal. Yet a visit to any one of these neighborhoods — with time allotted for their riverfront promenades and piers — is bound to be restorative.

Battery Park City, a planned community built on landfill along the Hudson River, looks like a sterile canyon of mostly residential buildings. But nearer to the water’s edge, winding pathways lined with lush greenery give way to the full spectrum of New York Harbor — and it’s breathtaking.

The sweeping panorama frames the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, passing sailboats and the Staten Island Ferry. The air is briny and feels a few degrees cooler than uptown. Picnic tables and benches are freely provided throughout the neighborhood. Green space — Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park; Nelson A. Rockefeller Park; Teardrop Park — is abundant.

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