Benesia Babb

Benesia Babb

I served as a Travel writer and editor for Black Diaspora magazine for over seven years. This year I launched "Island Eventures", a boutique Destination Event Management & Travel Agency. We specialize in creating memorable destination events in the Caribbean as well as adventure tours our New York City. We have locations in New York City and Trinidad & Tobago to connect North American travelers with Caribbean venues and destinations. We specialize in destination weddings, group tours and custom travel packages. We cater to a wide range of price points from the budget traveler to the client with a taste for luxury.

Scenic Downtown New York City - Land & Water Tour

This 6-hour tour spotlights the best and most popular attractions that draw visitors to downtown Manhattan. It features the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, Battery Park City, Ellis Island, Statute of Liberty Island, a scenic trip aboard the Staten Island Ferry and sites near St. George Ferry Terminal.

Tour Information

5 Hours
Price per Participant
75.00 USD
Group size
2 - 20 people
Reserve Tickets (By-Passing the typical lines) with Access to the pedestal of the Statute of Liberty, ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
Meals and souvenirs.
24-hour Cancellation required to get full refund (minus 10% Booking Fee).

About the creator
Benesia Babb

Benesia Babb

This 6-hour tour spotlights the best and most popular attractions that draw visitors to downtown Manhattan. It features the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, Battery Park City, Ellis Island, Statute of Liberty Island, a scenic trip aboard the Staten Island Ferry and sites near St. George Ferry Terminal.

9/11 Memorial Plaza

Start the tour with a stroll around the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. The 8-acre park was created with great consideration for the lives lost during the tragic terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It is a truly contemplative sanctuary, composed of a grove of nearly 400 white oak trees, and the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States. Set within the footprints of the original Twin Towers, each pool is approximately 1-acre in size. The names of every person who perished in the terror attacks of February 26, 1993 & September 11, 2001 are honored in bronze around the twin Memorial pools.

Battery Park City

Tucked between towering giants and an expanse of murky gray water is the hidden treasure of Battery Park City (BPC). City may be a misleading title because this combination of residence and outdoor living finds nature leading the marriage of civilization and green space.

My favorite 30-minute walking trail (done at a snail's pace because there is so much to see), starts at the Japanese inspired South Cove [shown above]. The South Cove is a rest-stop along the Escalade between First and Third Place. The South Cove has it all -- winding walkways, quays, a bridge, distinctive seaside foliage and peaceful views of the Harbor.

To get a better sense of this city-oasis, you may want to take the full walk along the Escalade starting from Stuyvesant High School on the north end. The Escalade offers some of the best views of Hudson River and the New York Harbor including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the New Jersey shoreline.

We'll start at Rockefeller Park which contains most of BPC Parks' wide lawns. There is also a playground, gardens, several public art pieces, and a sheltered pavilion. Located between Warren and Murray Streets, is the two-acre Teardrop Park featuring a magnificent "Ice Wall" artwork by Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil. Children can frolic on a children's slide, sand boxes and have some water play, while adults enjoy the sanctity of a reading area with rock seats.

The Irish Hunger Memorial seems the most out of place feature of BPC. It represents a rural Irish landscape with an abandoned stone cottage, stone walls, fallow potato fields and flora of the north Connacht wetlands. Its creators intended for it to be both a metaphor for the Great Irish Famine and a reminder that today's hunger is connected to limited land. 

Back on the more uplifting scenic route, we find a busy public marina in North Cove. It is home to the Manhattan Yacht Club and the North Cove Sailing School. Charters and water taxis also arrive and depart from this location. It has undoubtedly become a haven for boat-lovers. 

South of the North Cove, is Escalade Plaza which offers ample seating, views of the river and cove, and a permanent volleyball court. To its east, the Monsignor John J. Kowsky Plaza is a quiet space featuring a small playground for toddlers, tables & chairs, and a dog run. And if you're in need of some peace and quiet, stop off at Rector Park's twin gardens (South End Avenue at Rector Place), where active recreation is prohibited.

Now we pass my favorite South Cove and make our way down to Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park. Located just north of the historic Battery Park, is a place to explore with a wonderful mix of open lawns and gardens. The Park Pavilions contain a restaurant, and its public roof deck provides breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. It is also home to the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

The Battery Park was the first installment on the land created by land-fill. Within the park lies Castle Clinton, an American fort built on a small artificial off-shore island prior to the War of 1812 and named for mayor DeWitt Clinton. When the land of Battery Park was created, it enclosed the island. It was renamed Castle Garden when the Park became property of the city. 

Our final stop is South Ferry Terminal, the gathering spot for Staten Island commuters who make the 30-minute voyage across the river into Manhattan. The free ferry ride draws the attention of tourists worldwide, all eager to get a scenic view of the sun setting over the New Jersey skyline, Ellis Island and the Statute of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

The biggest tourist attraction in New York is the world renowned Statue of Liberty. "The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World" was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886.  It was designated as a National Monument in 1924.  Employees of the National Park Service have been caring for the colossal copper statue since 1933. Decades of oxidization have created its present mint-green appearance.

Next door is another New York historical treasure, Ellis Island. This 27.5-acre site was once the first port of call for millions of immigrants seeking political, economic and religious freedom in the United States. It has been estimated that nearly half of all Americans today can trace their family history to at least one person who passed through the Port of New York at Ellis Island. Now, nearly a century since the peak years of immigration, Ellis Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the National Park Service.

Staten Island Ferry and St. George Terminal

The Staten Island Ferry is one of the last remaining vestiges of an entire ferry system in New York City that transported people between Manhattan and its future boroughs long before any bridges were built. 

Today the free ferry shuttles millions of riders between Staten Island and downtown Manhattan. The ferry is the only non-vehicular mode of transportation between Staten Island and Manhattan. The 5-mile, 25 minute ride also provides some of the most breath-taking views of the Manhattan city skyline. 

It is the key spot to witness an awe-inspiring sunset over the Statue of Liberty. Photographers have captured iconic images of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from the decks of the Staten Island Ferry.  From its decks travelers can also see the skyscrapers and bridges of Lower Manhattan receding as you pull away and coming into focus again as you return. 

St. George Terminal, the first stop for ferry travelers to Staten Island, will soon be home to the New York Wheel. The New York Wheel is a 630-foot tall giant Ferris Wheel which is currently under construction in St. George. It is projected that the Wheel and its accompanying Empire Outlets is expected to entice tourists to spend a little more time on Staten Island.


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