20 Hidden Gems To Make You Fall In Love With NYC Again

Think you know NYC? Well, get excited!

1. The Old City Hall Subway Stop

General info: This stop closed in 1945 due to its inability to be modernized, along with the low amount of traffic it received. Tours are sometimes available. There’s actually a number of other closed stops throughout the city. You can catch a glimpse of the station as the 6 train passes the last stop and loops around.
Accessibility: Closed to the public.

2. The Freedom Tunnel, Riverside Park Tunnel

General info: The Freedom Tunnel was a once abandoned train tunnel running by Riverside Park that housed a homeless shanty town. Today it is used by Amtrak, but it is one of the prime areas for urban exploration and graffiti work in the city. To get there, follow this guide.
Accessibility: This is open to the public.
Warning: This is still an active train track.

3. Part of the Berlin Wall, 520 Madison Ave.

General info: Nestled into the small plaza on Madison are five slabs from the former Berlin Wall. One side is decorated by German artists Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny, while the eastern side remains blank.
Accessibility: This is wide open to the public in an open plaza.

4. Network of Tunnels Beneath Columbia University

 

General info: Hidden beneath Columbia University are a series of tunnels and rooms connecting the entirety of the campuses’ buildings. The oldest tunnels apparently existed from the days when Columbia used to be a mental asylum.
Accessibility: This is technically closed to the public. It is easier to get in with a Columbia ID, but it is still illegal.

5. The Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island

General info: The Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital was once the premier center for smallpox treatment within New York City. Eventually the hospital was abandoned, although it is currently listed as a landmark. It is on the southern tip of the island.
Accessibility: Closed to the public.

6. The Blockhouse, Central Park North Woods

General info: The Blockhouse is the sole remnant of a series of fortifications built along the northern end of Central Park to defend against possible British incursions. Due to how isolated it is, going alone is not advised. Follow the paths to the north end of Central Park, by The Cliff.
Accessibility: The area is open to the public, although the building itself is locked.

7. The Irish Hunger Memorial, Corner of Vesey Street and North End Avenue

General info: The memorial is a testament of the damage of the great Irish famine, constructed to represent an abandoned house. Heavy and emotional, the memorial also offers a panorama of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Accessibility: This is open to the public.

8. Whispering Gallery in Grand Central Station

General info: In Grand Central Terminal, in front of the Oyster Bar and Restaurant, is a whisper archway. Standing at diagonal arches, two people can hear each other’s whispers transmitted over the arch.
Accessibility: It is open to the public.

9. The Garden of Stones, 36 Battery Place

General info: The Garden of Stones is part of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The garden features plants planted in stones by Holocaust survivors and their families. Over time, the plants will grow and break apart the rocks, forming a dynamic landscape.
Accessibility: The garden is free and open to the public, but can only be accessed through the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

10. The Passageway Under 1251 Avenue of the Americas

General info: The passageway connecting the N, Q, and R subways to Rockefeller Center is generally a completely quiet, and modernist, underground passage.
Accessibility: The passageway is open to the public.

11. The United Nations Meditation Room, 777 44th St.

General info: The U.N.’s meditation room is open to the public — assuming you want to pass through all the security associated with entering the United Nations. It was designed to be nondenominational, and offers an area of complete silence within NYC. Conspiracy theories also abound that this room reveals the Satanic nature of the U.N.
Accessibility: Open to the public.

12. 1st Street Garden, 48 East 1st St.

General info: The garden is maintained and owned exclusively by the garden’s neighbors. The murals are currently in the theme of “women who made a difference in America.”
Accessibility: It is open to the public.

13. The Statue of Lenin and “Red Square,” 250 East Houston St.

General info: The building was named “Red Square” by the owner to honor the Soviet Union after its fall. The statue was found in Moscow and pointed toward Wall Street, the heart of capitalism.
Accessibility: The statue is fully visible from the street, but the rooftop is most likely closed off to nonresidents.

14. The Staten Island Boat Graveyard, 2453 Arthur Kill Road

General info: The boat graveyard, officially known as the Witte Marine scrap yard, is the official dumping ground for decommissioned ships. Although not a great place for casual sightseers, it’s great for the intrepid photographer.
Accessibility: It is open to the public.

15. Kenkeleba House Garden and Gallery, 218 East 2nd St.

General info: The house and garden are a small, local gallery full of African-American artwork and sculpture.
Accessibility: Easy to overlook, this area is full of character and is open to the public.

16. The Atlantic Avenue Subway Tunnel, beneath Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill Historic Districts

General info: The Atlantic Avenue Subway Tunnel is officially the world’s oldest subway tunnel. It was built in 1844 and eventually abandoned, before being rediscovered in 1980. Today it is no longer in use, but offers the occasional tour.
Accessibility: Beyond tours, it is technically closed to the public.

17. The Elevated Acre, 55 Water St.

General info: The Elevated Acre, much like the Highline, is an elevated expanse of one acre in the financial district. Located on a rooftop, it also features a 50-foot light sculpture.
Accessibility: It is open to the public, but may be in use for a private event.

18. 5 Pointz, 45-46 Davis St.

General info: 5 Pointz is deemed as a “graffiti mecca.” The former industrial complex is entirely legal to graffiti, and attracts artists annually from around the globe. There are hopes to one day turn it into a full street art museum.
Accessibility: It is open to the public.

19. Loew’s Theater, 4515 New Utrecht Ave.

General info: The Loew’s Theater first opened in 1927 and quickly fell into disuse. Today it functions as a furniture storehouse, although the theater is still intact. It was originally designed to resemble an Italian garden at night.
Accessibility: It is closed to the public, but the current owners generally allow explorers in for brief periods.

20. The Highline Section 3, 34th Street

General info: Highline Section 3 has not yet been renovated and is still barred to the general public. This section offers the intrepid explorer phenomenal views and the experience of nature truly taking back the city.
Accessibility: This section of the Highline is closed off to the public, although trespassers may find an entrance at 34th Street.

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