New York is the third and final stop in my three part series dedicated to the lesser known hidden gems. Along with Paris and London, New York is one of those cities that captures the hearts of everyone who walks its concrete streets. There is so much to do in the city, and New York can become very touristy very fast. The Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, and the Empire State Building are all well known sights for tourists. Beyond those, there is a whole other world of undiscovered hidden New York treasures. So here 8 lesser known things to do in New York, that will not disappoint!
1. The Berlin Wall
Okay, obviously the Berlin Wall is not located in New York, but I had to start this off with a bang! You can in fact see a part of the original Berlin Wall in New York city, and you really should see it. While there are five specific places in NYC that you can see this little slice of history in person, the 520 Madison Ave. one is probably the largest piece most recognized. As a hardcore history nerd, which I find most travelers are, seeing the parts of the Berlin Wall sent chills down my spine. You won’t regret seeing this piece of history, and the best part is you don’t even have to travel to Berlin.
2. Bohemian New York
When in New York, manger! You’re definitely doing it right if you hit up Bohemian New York. That is, if you can get in. This exclusive Japanese restaurant serving up a six course meal is anything but effortless to get in to. There is no phone number listed anywhere, and even if you find the phone number… good luck getting in without a reference. Yes, they actually require a referral for a reservation. Bohemian New York seats about 20 people and is located in a back corridor through a NOHO Butcher Shop, and it was once owned by Andy Warhol himself! It’s a fun time if you fancy a challenge, along with a fantastic meal and a piece of history. In my best Liam Neeson voice: ‘good luck’.
3. Fort Tryon
This insanely large park runs along the Hudson River and dates back to the American Revolutionary War. Fort Tryon gives off an English countryside vibe and spans a whopping 67 acres. On top of a hill lies Cloisters Museum and Gardens which are open to the public. The museum building was actually made from medieval structures that were brought over from Europe and then reassembled (the lengths people went to back then!). As you can imagine, this museum boats some pretty incredible architecture. You will easily feel transported to 15th century Europe in the middle of New York city, which is my favorite part.
4. The Tenement Museum
This is a lesser known museum in New York that gives you a look in to the lives of immigrants. What better way to enjoy New York than by celebrating diversity and the immigrants who made this city what it is today. The Tenement Museum is exactly what it sounds like. It is a museum that takes you through the apartments of immigrants in the 19th and 20th century. You’ll get to see the different restored apartments, and they even have ‘residents’ you can meet which is pretty fun! It’s definitely a unique museum experience and one of the lesser known gems in the city.
5. The Chelsea Galleries
Also quite commonly referred to as ‘gallery hopping’, there are no shortage of great art galleries in Chelsea. Locals regularly peruse and go hopping through the different galleries on a Thursday or weekend night. There are an array of independent galleries in Chelsea, from the more well known artist to less known independent artists trying to make a name for themselves. If you want to see art, then Chelsea is the place to be. Some consider these galleries to showcase the best art in the world. For a fun laid back night out, grab a few drinks and go gallery hopping in Chelsea! People also visit during the day and all the galleries are free to enter.
6. The Frick Collection
While we’re on the topic of great art, The Frick Collection is another lesser known visit among tourists! Located in Upper East Side, it is an immaculate building that contains an abundant collection of Western art. There are many works from Francisco Goya, François Boucher, Barna da Siena, and even a Bellini and Rembrandt is housed here! There is also a beautiful garden court located inside the building (perfect for Instagram photos), as well as gorgeous gardens outside the building too.
7. The Morgan Library
In the dying age of print, finding a good solid library is a satisfying thing. The Morgan Library is absolutely stunning you guys. Visit this library and you will not be disappointed. This library was J.P. Morgan’s private library in the early 1900’s and its design cost around $1.2 million! There are ceiling murals and paintings all along the walls, which were all inspired by the great Raphael. Much like a few of these others I’ve mentioned here, this is a great visit to purely take your time and marvel at the beautiful architecture and interior. This library blows so many others out of the water, and it will be less packed and less touristy.
8. Love Quotes in Central Park
It’s no secret most people have been to Central Park. Don’t get me wrong, Central Park is always worth a visit or a jog in the morning in between your New York foodie adventures. However, the park’s love quotes usually go unnoticed by busy tourists. I missed them the first time too! Just sit on almost any bench in the park, and you’ll see a lovely little plaque with a quote, typically about love. Well, I guess not any bench will do. You’ll have to seek them out since only about 2,000 of the 9,000 benches have quotes so far. It’s definitely fun to spend a few hours walking the park and reading the quotes with a loved one. You can even ‘adopt’ a bench and leave your own love quote for as little as $7,500. You know, just about a month’s rent in New York city…
Whether you’re planning your first trip to New York (I can give you a hand with that too), or your third, these are some of my favorite things to do that people often miss. Hopefully you add these to your list on your next trip!
What’s your favorite thing to do in New York? Or, what would you love to see in New York that you haven’t seen yet?
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