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Tribeca: Essential Things Parents Must Know

Tribeca: Essential Things Parents Must Know

Though it has a reputation of being the most expensive neighborhood in Manhattan, Tribeca is a family-friendly hotspot. Here's what you need to know if you're considering a move to Tribeca.

By Katelin Walling
   

As a neighborhood steeped in history, the area we now know as Tribeca began to be urbanized as New York City’s population grew after the Revolutionary War. It was one of the first residential neighborhoods developed in NYC beyond the boundaries of the city in colonial times. By the mid-19th century, the area transformed into a commercial center, but since the 1980s, the neighborhood has returned to its residential roots. Tribeca, which gets its name from a portmanteau of Triangle Below Canal Street (coined in the 1970s), lies within the confines of Canal and Vesey streets (north to south) and Broadway to West Street (east to west). Though it has a reputation of being among the most expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan, Tribeca is a family-friendly hotspot, with an abundance of parks, a handful of nearby museums, a booming restaurant scene, and plenty of outdoor activities for kids of all ages. 

Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering moving your family to Tribeca.
    

tribeca skyline from top of independence plaza
Courtesy Independence Plaza
Tribeca is populated with former industrial buildings from its commercial era that were converted into residential buildings and lofts.
    

Schools in Tribeca

Preschools in Tribeca

In addition to the three schools that offer free Universal Pre-K—NY Preschool Tribeca at NY Kids Club, Center Annex Tribeca Early Childhood Center, and P.S. 150—Tribeca is home to a handful of private preschool programs including:

  • Church Street School for Music and Art, an arts-based program that also offers after-school classes, as well as teen and adult programs
  • The Park Preschool, a mixed-age group setting
  • Le Petite École, a French-English bilingual program
  • Mandarin School, a Mandarin immersion program
  • Montessori School of Manhattan
  • Tribeca Community School, a Reggio Emilia early childhood education center
  • The Washington Market School, a Montessori/Reggio Emilia program
  • Trinity Preschool, affiliated with Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal parish
  • Paradigm Kids, a community-based program located just four blocks south of Tribeca in the Financial District
        

Public Schools in Tribeca

There are two public schools in Tribeca proper:

  • P.S. 234 Independence School, which offers kindergarten through fifth grades, plus special education
  • P.S. 150, which offers pre-K through fifth grades
        

There are three public schools nearby in Battery Park City:

  • P.S. 89, which offers pre-K through fifth grades, plus special education
  • I.S. 289, which offers sixth through eighth grades, plus special education
  • Stuyvesant High School, a specialized high school that emphasizes mathematics, science, and technology education

 

The Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School is also nearby in Soho, and offers the opportunity for students to earn industry-recognized certification in graphic arts and computer programming.
    

Private Schools in Tribeca

The School for Young Performers, a kindergarten through 12th grade school for students with careers in the performing arts, modeling, or athletics, is the only private school located within the confines of Tribeca.
    

Public Transportation in Tribeca

Subway Lines in Tribeca

There are two subway lines that run north-to-south through Tribeca: 1-2-3 and A-C-E, both of which can take you anywhere from the Upper West Side and the various heights of NYC into Brooklyn and even Queens. There’s also a PATH station at the World Trade Center if you want to escape the city for the day and explore New Jersey. Two blocks east of Broadway (the eastern border of Tribeca), you’ll find the 4-5-6, if you want to go anywhere on the east side of Manhattan.
    

Bus Lines in Tribeca

The following MTA bus lines have stops in Tribeca:

  • M9, which runs from Battery Park City to Kips Bay
  • M20, which runs from Lincoln Center to South Ferry
  • M22, which runs from the Lower East Side to Battery Park City
        

Things to Do with Kids in Tribeca

Museums in Tribeca

While there are no museums in Tribeca, there are a few in nearby neighborhoods that are within walking distance (read: no more than five blocks from the confines of the neighborhood):
    

Chinatown – East of Tribeca

Mmuseumm: One of the smallest museums in NYC, its exhibitions aim to engage, educate, and inform the public in a unique cultural approach to looking at the current world.
    

Financial District – South of Tribeca

9/11 Memorial Museum: This museum tells the story of 9/11 through interactive technology, archives, narratives, and a collection of artifacts, and documents the impact and continuing significance of the Sept. 11 events.

Ladder 3 at 9/11 Memorial MuseumJin Lee

You can see artifacts from Sept. 11 in the 9/11 Memorial Museum such as this fire truck. Members of FDNY Ladder Company 3 were assigned to aid in the evacuation of civilians in the North Tower on 9/11. All 11 responding members were killed when the tower collapsed at 10:28am. The front cab of this fire truck was shorn off when the North Tower collapsed. The bumper and a door were later removed and displayed as a memorial in Ladder Company 3’s quarters on East 13th Street in Manhattan.
    

Hudson Square – Northwest of Tribeca

Children’s Museum of the Arts: An institution that introduces children and their families to the power of the arts by providing opportunities to make art with working artists.
   

Soho – Northeast of Tribeca

American Numismatic Society: A museum and research institute that is devoted to the study of coins from all periods and cultures.

New York City Fire Museum: This institution collects, preserves, and presents the history and cultural heritage of the fire department of New York, and provides fire prevention and safety education to the public.
    

Parks in Tribeca

While there are a handful of parks just on the outskirts of Tribeca (including Thomas Paine, City Hall, and Nelson A. Rockefeller parks), the neighborhood itself has seven parks that offer green spaces, play areas, and more for families—plus a little bit of history. Bonus: Many of the parks—we’re especially looking at you, Pier 25—have an abundance of activities that get kids and families moving outside.
    

Albert Capsouto Park

Named after a neighborhood activist, this park opened in 2009 as one of the spaces funded through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s revitalization project. The park features a 114-foot-long sculptural fountain by Soho artist Elyn Zimmerman, evoking the canal that once flowed along Canal Street, rows of benches, and a cluster of chess tables.
    

Canal Park

This park was officially recognized as a public park in 1686. By 1833, this triangle served as one of the city’s public markets until 1920, when it housed pumps that provided pressurized air to workers in the Holland Tunnel’s construction caissons. It was then acquired by the Manhattan Borough President’s office to aid in the construction of the elevated West Side Highway, and served as a parking lot for the rest of the 20th century. In 2005, triangle was restored to its original purpose as a park.
    

Duane Park

This green space was the first public space acquired by the city specifically for the use as a public park, and it takes its name from New York’s first mayor after the Revolutionary War—James Duane. The park is located at Hudson and Duane streets, and offers shaded benches that are perfect for a picnic lunch or grabbing coffee with another neighborhood mom.
    

Pier 25

Part of the Hudson River Park, Pier 25 is home to a host of amenities for kids and families. The Pier 25 Play Area is a 25,000-square-foot gated play space for ages 2-12 features a sand box, eight seasonal water features, two full swing sets, and a climbing wall and boulders. The park also offers beach volleyball, a mini-golf course, an 8,840-square-foot street-style skate park, a snack bar, an art shack, Offshore Sailing School, tours of the 1933 steamship Lilac, and more.
    

water feature at Pier 25
Courtesy Hudson River Park
One of eight seasonal water features at Pier 25’s playground
    

Teardrop Park

Located just west of Tribeca in Battery Park City, this 2-acre park features artwork by Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil, a children’s slide, sand boxes, a water play area, a rocky reading area, and more. May though October, the park hosts Wednesdays in Teardrop, which includes lawn games and art projects for school-aged children. Note: This is a dog-free park.
 

Tribeca Park

In 1809, the Common Council—an early form of the City Council—agreed that the intersection of Beach, Walker, and Chapel (now West Broadway) should be converted into a park, and the green space was known as Beach Street Park for more than a century. Since 1985, the small green space has been known is Tribeca Park in honor of the surrounding neighborhood. The short, diagonal streets (such as those surrounding this and other parks in the neighborhood) and historic green spaces show Tribeca’s Colonial and Federal past, when streets and squares evolved without the grid pattern of later-settled areas of Manhattan.
 

Washington Market Park

Located on Greenwich Street between Duane and Chambers streets, this park is home to a tennis court, basketball court, community garden, Little Free Library, a gazebo that can be reserved for small events, and artwork, including The Court Mural and Picnic Table Art. Washington Market Park also hosts events such as It’s My Park Day in the spring and fall, Ladybug Day in the spring, tennis clinics, concerts, movie nights, and holiday celebrations.
   

Playgrounds in Tribeca

There are five playgrounds in and around Tribeca for neighborhood children to play and explore:

  • Pier 25 Play Area: Pier 25, at North Moore Street
  • Washington Market Park: Chambers Street, between Greenwich and West streets
  • P.S. 89: Battery Park City, Warren Street at North End Avenue: As Schoolyards to Playgrounds site, the school’s playground is open to the public during non-school hours
  • Nelson A. Rockefeller Park: Battery Park City, River Terrace at Murray Street
  • Teardrop Park: Battery Park City, between Warren and Murray streets, east of River Terrace and west of North End Avenue
        
ship shaped play area in Washington Market Park
There are several smaller play areas within Washington Market Park, including this ship-shaped one.
    

Notable Attractions

Brookfield Place

In addition to its selection of stores and restaurants, Brookfield Place is home to The Rink at Brookfield Place (an ice-skating rink that is typically open fall to early spring). The center also hosts a summer music series, a summer rooftop movie series, and other special events, such as art instillations.
   

Hook and Ladder 8

If the young’uns in your clan have been introduced to the original Ghostbusters movies, this is one stop in Tribeca worth making. This firehouse was chosen for the exterior shots of Ghostbusters HQ, and the logo sign used in the movies still hangs in the station today. Just be prepared to get out of the way quickly—this is still a working firehouse.
   

One World Observatory

Located at the top of the new World Trade Center—the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere—the observatory offers a 360-degree view of Manhattan, the surrounding waters, and iconic sights. While ascending 102 floors in less than 60 seconds, guests can experience a virtual time-lapse that recreates the development of New York City’s skyline from the 1500s to present day.
    

Taste of Tribeca

This annual event is an outdoor culinary festival that benefits arts and enrichment programs in the neighborhood’s two public schools. The event features dishes from Tribeca’s best restaurants, wine and beer tours of local shops and pubs, family-friendly Kids’ Zone (offering a range of activities and live performances for the youngest set) and Sports Zone (featuring sports-themed games for young athletes), and live entertainment.
   

Tribeca Film Festival

As an annual event that brings filmmakers, innovators, artists, and the global creative community together to celebrate the power of storytelling, the festival offers two free community events: The Tribeca Film Festival Street Fair and the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day. The street fair offers events, workshops, screenings, and opportunities to learn the magic of filmmaking, gaming, and more. The sports day, which is part of the street fair, features interactive sports-related games, demonstrations, performances, and giveaways.
 

Shopping in Tribeca

Grocery Stores in Tribeca

There are a handful of grocery stores in the neighborhood, including:

  • Whole Foods Market, 270 Greenwich St.
  • Best Market Tribeca, 316 Greenwich St.
  • Amish Market Tribeca, 53 Park Place
  • Gourmet Garage, 366 Broadway


For those looking for locally grown produce—plus sustainably raised meat; seafood; sheep’s milk, cheese, and yogurt; orchard fruit; and herbs, live plants, and flowers—the Saturday Greenmarket, located on Greenwich Street between Chambers and Duane streets, is open Saturdays, 8am-3pm (year-round), and Wednesdays, 8am-3pm (mid-March through mid-December).
    

Everyday Shopping in Tribeca

There are stores scattered across the neighborhood for everyday shopping:

Bookstores in Tribeca

  • Barnes & Noble, 97 Warren St.
  • Mysterious Bookshop, 58 Warren St. 
       

Toy Stores in Tribeca

  • Boomerang Toys, 119 W. Broadway
  • Playing Mantis, 32 N. Moore St.
       

Kids’ Clothing Stores in Tribeca

  • Babesta BPC, 230 Vesey St.
  • Babesta Cribz, 56 Warren St.
  • Babesta Threads, 66 W. Broadway
  • Bit’z Kids, 275 Greenwich St.
  • Koh’s Kids, 311 Greenwich St.
  • Polarn O. Pyret, 200 Chambers St.
  • Torly Kid, 51 Hudson St.
       

Home Stores in Tribeca

  • Bed Bath & Beyond, 270 Greenwich St.
  • Korin, 57 Warren St.
        

Luxury Shopping in Tribeca

Just beyond the southern border of Tribeca (between Vesey and Liberty streets), you’ll find Brookfield Place—a shopping and dining center with such stores as Burberry, Club Monaco, Gucci, J Crew, Lululemon, Michael Kors, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tory Burch. Brookfield Place is also home to a variety of restaurants, including Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar, P.J. Clarkes, Sprinkles, and Umami Burger, and amenities such as Equinox, North Cove Marina, and Zipcar.

Other luxury shopping spots in Tribeca include:

  • Annelore, 18 Jay St.
  • Christina Lehr, 139 Reade St.
  • Edon Manor, 391 Greenwich St.
  • Steven Alan, 103 Franklin St.
  • Nili Lotan, 188 Duane St.
  • Patron of the New, 151 Franklin St.
        

Restaurants in Tribeca

As many could infer—based on the annual Taste of Tribeca event that features more than 65 neighborhood eateries—Tribeca’s restaurant scene is booming, from the family-run Tiny’s and the Bar Upstairs, to Macaron Café, to Duane Park Patisserie, and Dirty Bird to Go. The plethora of restaurants features family-friendly choices, as well as high-end dining locations, which are perfect for a date night for Mom and Dad.
    

Sarabeth's Tribeca
Courtesy Independence Plaza
One of five locations in Manhattan, Sarabeth’s is known for its home-style brunches.


Family-friendly restaurants in Tribeca include:

  • Bubby’s: A neighborhood favorite since 1990, this brunch hotspot celebrates the patchwork of American culture with dishes inspired by Mexican, European, and Asian flavors. From burgers and seafood, to salads and breakfast for dinner, everyone is sure to find something to curb hunger pangs.
     
  • Landmarc: Owned by chef Marc Murphy—you probably know him as a judge on Chopped—this restaurant’s fare blends French and Italian favorites at an affordable price. Plus, the kids’ menu features pigs in a blanket, a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich, and a cheese quesadilla, and meals include a drink and dessert—what more could your kids want?
     
  • Ninja New York: This ninja-themed eatery offers more than just Japanese dishes, some of which look like art. The waiters are dressed like ninjas and perform tricks—talk about dinner and entertainment.
     
  • Sarabeth’s Tribeca: Though it doesn’t offer a kids’ menu, this home-style weekend brunch spot features waffles, French toast, grilled cheese, and eggs in every style, so every member of your clan is sure to find something amenable to their taste buds.

   
Date-night restaurants in Tribeca include:

  • Distilled NY: Tribeca’s American Public House serves refined regional dishes, including spring lamb, smoked duck breast, tomatoes with Burrata, and chilled corn gazpacho.
     
  • Locanda Verde: This restaurant, located in Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel, features an urban-Italian style menu created by Chef Andrew Carmellini.
     
  • Nobu Next Door: An extension of Nobu New York, this restaurant features Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s spin on traditional Japanese cuisine.
     
  • Tamarind Tribeca: This two-level venue features traditional Indian cuisine in a fine dining setting.


Main image: The Tribeca West Historic District was designated as such in 1991.
Courtesy Independence Plaza
   

Independence Plaza interior
Courtesy Independence Plaza
The kitchen and living area in an apartment in one of Independence Plaza's Tribeca buildings.