Unique Places in New York City

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in New York City

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    Wooden Houses

    by TexasDave Updated Jul 7, 2014

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    In 1866 New York City implemented fire regulations prohibiting the construction of wooden houses. Obviously finding those that still exist (only a few dozen) is something you have to do on purpose, not by chance.
    Two of the nicest are Nos.120 and 122 E. 92nd Street.

    There is also a row of about 20 such houses on Sylvan Terrace, near Amsterdam Ave. and 160th St.

    E 92 St. Sylvan Terr.
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    by apbeaches Written Apr 5, 2014

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    1. Times Square
    Broadway Shows - TKTS discount ticket booth has same day tickets for 50% off
    Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum - www.madametussauds.com/newyork
    Discover Times Square - www.discoverytsx.com/)
    Hard Rock Cafe, Juniors, Besso's for a meal & the Cake Boss for dessert

    2. Bike Share Program across the Brooklyn Bridge
    Rent through Citi Bike at http://www.madametussauds.com/newyork

    3. Water Taxi to: www.NYCWaterTaxi.com
    Brooklyn's Smorgasbord weekend outdoor food experience- http://www.smorgasburg.com/
    LIC Beach and weekend Flea - http://www.licflea.com/

    4. Museum of Natural History Planetarium & Dinosaurs; donation is recommended; pay what you wish! www.amnh.org

    5. Metropolitan Museum of Art to see knights,mummies with the fabulous gift shop & cafe. Opened until 9 PM on weekends & again donation is recommended. www.metmuseum.org/

    6. Kyaking on the Hudson River - from 5 locations and FREE! http://www.DownTownBoatHouse.org/free-kayaking

    7. Beast speed boat tour around the City from the Seaport or Westside - www.circleline42.com/

    8. Chelsea Piers for ice skating, rock climbing, bowling and other sports.

    9. HBO free summer Outdoor movies at Bryant Park www.BryantPark.org/plan-your-visit/filmfestival.html

    10. Aquarium, Freak Show and Amusement Park at Coney Island, Brooklyn, the Russian neighborhood & beach are very nice too! www.NYAquarium.com/

    11. Bronx Zoo - www.BronxZoo.com

    12. Greenwich Village's colorful shops & outdoor performers - www.NYCGV.com

    13. Chinatown for dinner and Little Italy across Canal Street for desert. - www.ExploreChinatown.com and www.LittleItalyNYC.com

    14. Cloisters visit to see Medieval Times - www.MetMuseum.org/visit/visit-the-cloisters

    15. Fourth of July Fireworks - www. cititour.com/NYC_Events/2014-Macys-4th-of-July-Fireworks/9935

    16..Mets or Yankee baseball game

    17. Walk the High Line- www.TheHighLine.org

    18. Central Park - Boat house, castle, zoo, concerts, hikes, performers - www.CentralParkNYC.org

    19. Wall Street is packed with things:
    See the Bull, Statue of George Washington, Stock Exchange
    Ground Zero & the new museum - www.911Memorial.org/
    Federal Reserve Bank - www.NewYorkFed.org/aboutthefed/visiting.html
    NYC Police Museum - www.NYCPM.org
    NYC Fire Museum - www.NYCFireMuseum.org/
    Skyscraper Museum - www.Skyscraper.org/home.htm
    Francis Tavern Museum and Stone Street's restaurants - www.FrauncesTavernMuseum.org

    20. Ferry to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

    21. Rockefeller Center for the Christmas Tree & holiday windows, Easter Parade, Ice Skating, St Patrick's Cathedral or to catch the NBC studio tour www.RockeFellerCenter.com/

    22. Tenement Museum tour, walk around the Lower East Side enjoy a meal at Katz's on Canal Street - www.Tenement.org/?gclid=CMuHyu3Nyr0CFQ8OOgodL3gAdA

    23. Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Complex climb on an aircraft carrier, planes, submarines & view exhibits - www.IntrepidMuseum.org/

    24. Kaufman Astoria television studios & the interactive Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens - www.MovingImage.us and www.KaufmanAstoria.com

    25. Governors Island, free seasonal ferry and rent bike, tour old military base, art exhibits, lunch, picnic - www.NYHarborParks.org/visit/gois.html

    26. NYC Transit Museum is in a subway station underground in Brooklyn. The largest museum in the US devoted to urban transportation; Climb on a hundred historic subways & buses - www.mta.info/mta/museum/programs.htm

    27. Events at the:
    Barclay Center - ,www.CenterBrooklyn.com/?gclid=CNj9163Syr0CFcFlOgodQggAkA
    Radio City Music Hall - http://musichall-ny.com/?gclid=CKDAk9TSyr0CFY1xOgodQmUAnw
    Madison Square Garden - http://garden-ny.com/?gclid=CO2pz-fSyr0CFfNxOgodDlwAkQ
    Javitz Center - http://www.javitscenter.com/events.aspx?mid=244

    28. Cemetery tours:
    GreenWood Cemetery in Brooklyn - http://www.green-wood.com/
    Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx - http://www.greenlawncemetery.org/Events.php

    29. Location Tours offers several tours including a "New York TV and Movie Tour" that visits locations for Friends, Seinfeld, Spiderman, How I Met Your Mother, Sex and the City and lots more. TMZ has a celebrity tour of NYC as well www.ScreenTours.com

    30. Empire State Building; on a clear day take the elevator to the observation deck,there is a gift shop & snack bar - www.ESBNYC.com

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    African Burial Grounds Nat'l Monument

    by Toughluck Written Mar 25, 2014

    Lost in the expansive growth of New York City after 1794, the cemetery was rediscovered in 1991 during the excavation of a new building on the site. The disappearance and re-emergence of these burials is a unique story in a city of many stories. It's a short stop that can take you away from the bustle of the city for a few moments and send you back in time to the 1750's.

    The African Burial Ground National Monument Visitor Center is located on the first floor of the Ted Weiss Federal Building located at 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan; close to Foley Square and just north of City Hall. The cross streets are Duane Street and Reade Street.

    A quiet oasis off Foley Square. Running water
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    Undertaker for the Stars

    by TexasDave Updated Mar 5, 2014

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    I know this is odd, but Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel is undeniably the most prestigious funeral director in the world. In its 110 year history it has handled the funeral arrangements of:
    Rudolf Valentino
    Mae West
    Judy Garland
    Robert F. Kennedy
    John Lennon
    Tennessee Williams
    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
    Rapper B.I.G
    Pop Singer Aaliyah
    Salsa Singer Celia Cruz
    Luther Vandross
    Peter Jennings
    Leona Helmsley
    Heath Ledger
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman
    Just to name a few.
    If you're in the area you might want to just pass by since so much history has happened here.
    1076 Madison Avenue, between 81st and 82nd Streets

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    5 Pointz

    by TexasDave Updated Feb 2, 2014

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    This is an outdoor art exhibit space in Long Island City, New York, considered to be the world’s premiere “graffiti Mecca,” where aerosol artists from around the globe paint colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot factory building.
    The complex was first established as the Phun Phactory in 1993 by Pat DiLillo under a program called Graffiti Terminators to discourage graffiti vandalism by encouraging artists to display their work in a formal showcase.
    The website indicates that tours are available for the lovers of the genre.

    The building, as you could imagine, is in a less traveled, industrial area but you can get there by NYC Subway, the closest station is:
    45 Rd/ Court House Square ( 7 Train)
    The actual address of the building is:
    45-46 Davis St, Long Island City, NY

    UPDATE 2014: The building is slated for demolition and all the graffiti artwork has been painted over. The plan is to build apartment houses with an area dedicated to graffiti artists in the future, who knows when it will be accomplished.

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    Newtown Creek Nature Walk

    by etfromnc Updated Nov 23, 2013

    I tend to be on the con side of the "global warming" controversy but if you want to be reminded of just how much damage man can do, and has done, to his environment, try the Newtown Creek Nature Walk. The New York Times called the quarter-mile Newtown Creek Nature Walk "ironic," with reason. Marking the border between Queens and Brooklyn, this relatively new "nature park" is set along an oil- and sewage-slicked creek lined with fuel tanks. Give it a shot. Seriously.

    You enter along a bold, 170-foot entry walkway, with bending concrete walls dotted with portholes. Look back when you reach the turn for an interestingly framed view of the Empire State Building. Along the water, concrete steps lead below the surface (as if!), along with stark sculptures and potted plants of the types which used to grow naturally in the area. You’ll often be alone here, and it’s far more relaxing than it might sound.

    This unique, and yes, ironic, park was designed by environmental sculpture artist George Trakas and built by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in conjunction with DEP's ongoing upgrade of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). The walk affords visitors a unique view of its settling tanks and digesters, and is a good place to explore and learn about wastewater treatment, harbor water quality, and the history of New York City. The environmental sculptor George Trakas incorporated these themes into the design of the Nature Walk.

    Located at Paidge Ave and Provost St in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.

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    The Little Red Lighthouse, et al.

    by etfromnc Written Nov 23, 2013

    If you want to get away from it all in NYC, a bicycle would be a big help, because you will probably want to Get Off The Beaten Path. The Hudson River Greenway is one of the great ways to get away from it all and to be reminded that New York is, down deep, a river town. The most relaxed spots along this Greenway are hard to reach without a bike. Under the George Washington Bridge (around 180th St), sits the famed Little Red Lighthouse. The subject of a classic children’s book, it was moved here from Sandy Hook, New Jersey in 1921. I wonder how it would have fared in its original home during Hurricane Sandy. There, and just south, are grassy parks and river access where locals sit and fish, and you can forget that you are in what many consider to be the Capital of the World.

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    Kampung Daun Bandung

    by favenchi Written Sep 25, 2013

    this is a "must visit" place near Bandung....Kampung Daun is in a jungle clad valley complete with waterfalls and thatched roofed eating huts. Kampung Daun is about half an hour's drive from Bandung. We've lived in Bandung for 12 years and had our first visit to Kampung Daun on a Sunday afternoon in September 2013. Ingore all those "warnings" on another travel related website, Kampung Daun is excellent value. Food which is Indonesian and Western is low priced, especially now the Indonesian Rupiah Value is down compared to western currencies. The service is fast and friendly and sitting eating in a tropical jungle hut is fantastic!!! There are the real sounds of nature, waterfalls, a fast running jungle stream and at night they light small fires for warmth. It can become cool in Bandung due to the elevation....but never ever cold.
    No Kapung Daun is NOT a tourist trap....it is a genuine and real place to visit.....Kampung Daun has been open since 1999 and is open 7 days a week from mornings until night. You can buy souvenirs, clothes and shoes at the Kampung Daun souvenir shop....and there is plenty of parking and even on a Sunday afternoon it was easy to get to, and we never had that corwded in feeling....

    tropical jungle and thatched eating huts Nasi Goreng Kampung Daun Kampung Daun near Bandung souvenirs at Kampung Daun jungle eating hut Kampung Daun
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    The James A Farley Post Office

    by leics Written Aug 2, 2013

    I only came across this rather magnificent piece of architecture because I'm mean! I knew that the cost of a stamp US>UK was 1.10 USD because the automated 'post office' I'd come across told me that...but the machine would only accept credit cards and there was no way I intended to pay the associated fees for such a small sum. And when I tried to buy the stamp from a nearby shop, and from my hotel, they were going to charge me 1.75USD! So, I decided to find a proper Post Office, with real human beings.

    The James A Farley PO is tucked away at the back of Penn station. It is a vast, vast structure and really rather beautiful inside, with an elaborate ceiling, shiny marble floors, gilded tables and green-shaded lamps. It was built in 1912 and covers two blocks, although only a small part has public access.

    Until 2009 it was open 24/7, but the 'windows' (remarkably small) now close at 10pm. The lady who served me was extremely helpful and friendly and yes...the stamps cost 1.10 USD each. :-)

    You can read more about the building on the Wiki page below. I understand that most of the structure (though not the public post office part) is in the process of being changed into a new Amtrak station (a very good idea.....Penn is so horrible!). But when that is going to happen i have no idea.

    Whilst I wouldn't suggest you make a special trip to visit, it is certainly well worth popping into the Farley Post Office if you are in the area. It really is rather a magnificent building. You'll find it on 8th Ave, between 31st and 33rd streets.

    ' Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds'

    Where to buy your stamps..... Exterior Elaborate ceiling Gilded tables (and bins) and green-shaded lamps War memorial within
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    The African Burial Ground

    by leics Written Aug 2, 2013

    It took me a while to find this place. It's rather tucked away in central Lower Manhattan, very easy to miss and on a street which is blocked at both ends by security booths, guards and barriers...it's the street on which the US Department of Homeland Security lies. There's an irony there, I think.

    From the late 1600s until the late 1700s, Africans..whether free or slaves...were buried on a 6+ acre plot in this area. The burial ground was 'lost' until 1931, when construction (of a 'Federal office building', according to the website below) exposed part of it. 419 sets of remains were found, 40% of which were children. That, in itself, tells says something....

    The remains (and associated artefacts) were reburied on site, in hand-carved wooden coffins made in Ghana. The coffins were placed in 7 crypts, which are visible as grass-covered mounds on the small site.

    There is also a memorial: a 24-foot high 'ancestral chamber' created from African granite, its interior designed to recall a ship's hold. It links to a circular structure which represents the African diaspora, its walls and floor decorated with spiritual and cultural symbols.

    The site is right in the heart of busy, Federal/corporate Manhattan...a tiny, unobtrusive reminder of how the wealth of the US began, and of the people who were forced to help create that wealth.

    There's a visitor centre and exhibitions as well, although I didn't go inside.

    You'll find the Burial Ground vsitor centre inside the Ted Weiss Federal Building at 290 Broadway, close to Foley Square and north of City Hall. The memorial is to the rear of the Ted Weiss building, at the corner of Duane Street and 'African Burial Ground Way' (Elk Street)...overpowered by the tall blocks which surround it.

    Burial mounds and ancestral chamber Ancestral chamber and diaspora circle.
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    New Jersey

    by antistar Written Jun 4, 2013

    There's a whole new state just across the Hudson river from Manhattan. It's about 10-15 minutes by PATH train from the World Trade Center or Penn Station, and you get to see some of the best views of New York you can find anywhere. New Jersey has a bad reputation, but it is rapidly cleaning up its image. Jersey City, just minutes away from downtown, is reinventing itself as an exclusive riverside destination. Take the PATH to Newport, wander down to the river and stroll along the banks of the Hudson admiring the grand views of Manhattan's incredible skyline.

    Manhattan from Newport, New Jersey Manhattan from Newport, New Jersey Manhattan from Newport, New Jersey Manhattan from Newport, New Jersey Manhattan from Newport, New Jersey

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    Grove Court: a Charming Hidden Space

    by von.otter Written Apr 8, 2013

    Grove Court can be found midway between Hudson Street and Bedford Street on Grove Street. Behind a wrought iron gate, that is supported by brick pillars, is a row of perfectly-preserved two-story Federal-styled townhouses and some grander Greek Revival-styled ones.

    This is one of New York’s wonderful hidden spaces; it is a quiet retreat for its lucky residents. Looking through the gate, at the six mid-19th century houses the visitor is transported back a century and a half. Samuel Cocks, the enterprising grocer who owned Cocks & Bowron grocery store at #18 Grove Street, developed the odd-sized lot into what he called backhouses. Cocks intended the simple dwellings for working class families with the goal of increasing his grocery business.

    Constructed between 1848 and 1854, O’Henry set his short story “The Last Leaf” at Grove Court. Today the area is very exclusive, ironic considering its lowly beginnings. Although I lived mere blocks from the Court for decades, I never tire of stopping at those iron gates and peering inside at a page from yesterday.

    Because of the irregular property lines in the Village a vacant seemingly unusable lot was left over as the Federal rowhouses sprouted up along Grove and Bedford Streets. A narrow passageway remained between numbers 10 and 12 Grove.

    Grove Court, NYC, April 2013 Grove Court, NYC, April 2013 Grove Court, NYC, April 2013 Grove Court, NYC, April 2013 Grove Court, NYC, April 2013
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    New York’s Bravest: Hook & Ladder #5, Engine #24

    by von.otter Written Mar 22, 2013

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    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    “God and the firemen” is the people’s cry;
    But when ‘tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    —Author unknown, from ‘The Fireman’s Journal,’ 18.October.1879

    Hook-and-ladder Truck #5 and Engine #24, located at 227 Sixth Avenue in SoHo, were among the first units to arrive at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Eleven firemen from this company never returned. Fitting tributes to these men who gave their lives have been put in place at the firehouse.

    Stop by the firehouse; the overhead door is often open. Offer these men a word of thanks for their everyday service; and especially for their contribution on 9|11.

    Hook & Ladder #5, Engine #24, NYC, March 2010 Hook & Ladder #5, Engine #24, NYC, March 2010 Hook & Ladder #5, Engine #24, NYC, March 2010 Hook & Ladder #5, Engine #24, NYC, March 2010 Hook & Ladder #5, Engine #24, NYC, March 2010
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    NYC’s Painted Signs

    by von.otter Updated Mar 14, 2013

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    Hand-painted signs, usually on the side of a brick building, are a remnant of New York’s early consumer culture. With the 21st century’s high-impact LED video advertising and the cheapness of printed vinyl billboards, the craft of hand-painted signs has declined.

    Faded reminders of these ambassadors of yesteryear’s advertising can still be seen throughout the city. These examples can be found in Greenwich Village, SoHo and Old Garment District.

    Bigelow’s Pharmacy has been in business since Martin Van Buren was president, and its customers have included Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, and Eleanor Roosevelt. To attract ordinary customers, Bigelow’s, on Sixth Avenue near West Eighth and West Ninth Streets, advertises itself on the side of store’s building. It’s still in pretty good shape, with a portrait of the founder, Clarence Otis Bigelow.

    Emil Talamini Real Estate once had its offices at 450 Sixth Avenue, where this ad can be see, just barely, on the side of the building. The ad includes their old-style phone number, ALgonquin 4-1817.

    Kopper’s Chocolate (http://www.kopperschocolate.com) is still in business, as is Bigelow’s Pharmacy. Their simple but boldly painted sign appears on the side of their building on Greenwich Village’s Clark Street, just west of Hudson Street.

    Located at 175 Spring Street, Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware is a rare sight amongst the stylish designer boutiques in SoHo. The colorful and lively painted sign gives this bit of working-class New York a distinctive presence.

    The sign advertising Harris Suspenders Garters Belts (see photo #5) is on the side of a building at 46-50 W. 29th St. near Sixth Ave. The company had been in business since the 1890s in Williamsport, PA; in 1897 it moved to New York City. It was first located at 14th St. until the company moved in 1912 50 694 Broadway and then to 1230 Broadway in 1921.

    Painted Sign, New York City, December 2012 Painted Sign, New York City, December 2012 Painted Sign, New York City, December 2012 Painted Sign, New York City, December 2012 Painted Sign, New York City, February 2013
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    The Church of St. Joseph

    by von.otter Written Jan 22, 2013

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    The Church of Saint Joseph in Greenwich Village has been serving the community, from this building, since 1833. The church is also the University Church because the Dominican Friars serve the students of New York University, Cooper Union, the New School, Pace University.

    The classical lines of the building, combined with the enormous Doric columns, give a solid impression and reassurance. There is great beauty in its simplicity.

    Church of St. Joseph, New York Church of St. Joseph, New York Church of St. Joseph, New York Church of St. Joseph, New York Church of St. Joseph, New York
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