New York is such a mysterious state that many of its vast treasures are sometimes unknown to even those who consider themselves real “New Yorkers.” But New York is New York and if there is one obvious takeaway from this article—it’s that New York’s hidden treasures are a must-see for everyone.
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Hidden Treasure 1: Cool Whispering Gallery
Grand Central Station has many impressive feats but the Whispering Gallery could be its best kept secret! Here, two people stand at diagonal arches and whisper into the wall—allowing only for those positioned at the right angles to hear one another. Today, this romantic site is home to many marriage proposals; just make sure the right person is standing at the corresponding arch!
Hidden Treasure 2: Subway Station
Keeping with the whole ‘hidden’ theme, I wouldn’t be doing justice to New York if I didn’t mention the beautifully preserved but now inoperable old City Hall subway station. The station closed way back in 1945 but can still be explored as part of the many guided tours available to tourists in the city. For those who want to experience history, this should definitely be on your list.
Hidden Treasure 3: Unique Brooklyn Movie Experience
Brooklyn Heights Cinema is best known for creating a magical movie experience. While at the cinema, you get treated to food pairings inspired from the movie. Whether it’s a romantic date or a family-filled activity, this theatre is like no other. Who needs popcorn when you can have an entire meal?
Hidden Treasure 4: Thrift Stores
There isn’t one specific thrift store that you should visit while in New York. The fact that there are so many is itself an incredible feature. For those with a more fashionable, creative eye, experience the New York runway all on your terms.
Hidden Treasure 5: Underground Tunnels
New York has two of the world’s best universities—New York University (NYU) and Columbia (and I’m not picking sides.) But below Columbia’s campus, a series of underground tunnels connect different buildings (okay, maybe I am?) These tunnels were apparently the prime meeting place for scientists during the start of the Manhattan Project. Though still accessible to students, faculty, and tourists, some parts are highly secured. Nevertheless, an avid history buff would thrive in these tunnels.
Hidden Treasure 6: Best Bar in the World
No other place combines the best of speakeasy and cocktails better than the East Village Speak Easy PDT. PDT of course stands for ‘Please don’t tell’...a common feature for all of New York’s hidden treasures. It has a secret entrance—through an old-school telephone booth in Crif Dogs, a hot dog joint. No harm sampling a New York dog while you wait!
Hidden Treasure 7: Downtown Boathouse
The downtown boathouse isn’t just for the more fitness-oriented. In addition to free kayaking, you can explore the Hudson River, whether you choose to by foot or sea. Did you read that right—free? Yes, volunteers at the boathouse give you everything from lifejackets to kayaks. On select weekends, they have free three-hour trips starting from Pier 26. Take advantage of this picture-perfect view via TriBeca and Midtown.
Hidden Treasure 8: Piers in Red Hook
If water is your thing, the pier along the East River is equally breathtaking. Once home to a Dutch shipping center, tourists can explore the beautiful New York sunset, catch a glimpse of the Statute of Liberty, and the stunning harbor all in one trip.
Hidden Treasure 9: Peter Luger
I purposely saved food recommendations for last—because New York has the best food, period. For starters, indulge in every street side pizza, hot dog, falafel, or other exotic offering because its worth every penny. But for the more distinguished, I recommend the Peter Lugers steakhouse. Opened in 1887, this steak house has been rated the top steak house in New York for the past 28 years and counting. Don’t forget to reserve a table in advance, preferably well in advance of your trip.
Hidden Treasure 10: Chikalicious Desert Bar
With a name like ChikaLicious, you can’t go wrong. This tiny (20 seats only) restaurant in the East Village is New York’s most popular desert spot. They have a prix fixe menu for as low as $16 which includes an amuse, desert of your choice, and assorted petits fours – have no clue what these are? Trust your sweet tooth and satisfy your sweet tooth at ChikaLicious. The prix fix menu is probably the best-valued choice but there are other deserts on their menu as well.
After all that eating, don’t forget—while exploring the more popular, well-known tourist attractions (viz. Central Park, Statute of Liberty, Empire State Building etc.) consider a guided cycling tour over Brooklyn Bridge, from £20 or a walking tour of Central Park from £12 . Not only do you get to keep active while on holiday, your New York experience will be like no other. Not to say that riding the subway isn’t an experience itself!