NYC is a big city with a lot to offer. From top museums and tourist attractions to great food, there’s something for everyone. However, there are plenty of hidden places that I’ve found over the past several years. This article will discuss some of New York’s hidden gems and what makes them so special.
1. City Hall Subway Station
The New York Subway is normally not high on my list of things to see when I travel to New York. However, the City Hall station is a truly hidden gem. Built in 1904, the station is an architectural wonder with Guastavino arches, brass chandeliers, and colored glass tiles. The station was shuttered in 1945 and has remained inactive ever since. However, the MTA holds small tours of the station several times each year. These intimate events offer a window into New York’s history and are not to be missed.
2. Rockefeller Center Rooftop Garden
Rockefeller Center is a great example of Art Deco architecture, even if it does get a bit crowded. Most people visit who visit Rockefeller Center never realize there is a beautiful garden nestled just above their heads. The 620 Loft and Gallery is a carefully manicured garden with views of St. Patrick’s cathedral that is often used as a filming location. The rooftop isn’t that big, but it’s a green oasis hidden in the heart of midtown that offers a respite from the noisy hustle and bustle below.
3. Campbell Apartment
Grand Central is another location that I love to visit. What many people don’t realize is that there’s a faithfully restored 1920’s era bar located inside. The Campbell Apartment, previously owned by a railway executive, is only accessible via a staircase at 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. The main room sports Florentine décor and a coffered ceiling over a well appointed bar. Sipping a cocktail (try John Campbell’s Martini) in the former office of a railway baron is another taste of Old New York that is conveniently located in midtown.
4. Arthur Kill Ship Graveyard
The Arthur Kill Ship Graveyard, also known as the “Tugboat Graveyard”, is a reminder of New York’s industrial history. Founded in the 1930’s, the Tugboat Graveyard is home to hundreds of decommissioned ships spanning the entire 20th century. Some of the older ships to have passed through the Graveyard include the New Bedford, which was launched as a passenger ship in 1928 and was later used as a British transport during World War 2. It’s not possible to enter the site on foot, but visitors can catch a glimpse of the historic wrecks from the water.
5. The Elevated Acre
Hidden between two office buildings at 55 Water Street is an escalator that whisks visitors up to the Elevated Acre, a public park that even local residents might not know about. Completed in the 1970’s, the Elevated Acre was remodeled in 2005 and boasts a well-manicured lawn and a garden area with comfortable benches. Aside from views of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, the park hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as outdoor movies, weddings, and the free summer River to River arts festival.
These are only a few of the hidden gems in NYC. Some of these locations are available year round, while some (like City Hall Station) are only accessible at specific times during the year. These gems offer a different perspective on NYC and are a great addition to any visit.