My father was a shipping agent, working at 14 Battery Place (which was demolished to make way for the WTC. He spent most of his day going from consulate to consulate. He new lower Manhattan like the back of his hand (maybe better!) He could get to within a block of anyplace in lower Manhattan, from any other place in lower Manhattan, UNDERGROUND, legally, and not pay a fare.
When I was a kid, he would take me all kinds of places all over the City. My favorites were Battery Park and the Army Surplus stores on Canal Street.
My uncle started his own machinist business when he bought a lathe and two milling machines from somebody on Canal Street at 2 in the morning.