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We Love Uncovering The NYC Subway Secrets

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Secret Subway FDR Tracks Waldorf Astoria

One of the things we love the most in New York City, is uncovering the NYC subway secrets. We compiled a few of what we most enjoyed!

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Secret Subway FDR Tracks Waldorf Astoria
Secret FDR Tracks beneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – ©Behind the Scenes NYC

There is just so much to talk about when the subject is: NYC subway secrets. It’s hard even to know where to start from.

To start, maybe we should go back and see how it all began:

“At 2:35 on the afternoon of October 27, 1904, New York City Mayor George McClellan takes the controls on the inaugural run of the city’s innovative new rapid transit system: the subway.

At 7 p.m. that evening, the subway opened to the general public, and more than 100,000 people paid a nickel each to take their first ride under Manhattan.

IRT service expanded to the Bronx in 1905, to Brooklyn in 1908 and to Queens in 1915.

Since 1968, the subway has been controlled by the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA). The system now has 26 lines and 468 stations in operation; the longest line, the 8th Avenue “A” Express train, stretches more than 32 miles, from the northern tip of Manhattan to the far southeast corner of Queens.

Every day, some 4.5 million passengers take the subway in New York.”

~ via History.com

That said, we can still list some other peculiarities that we love about the NYC subway secrets:

1. Did you know that there are many abandoned platforms, like the one underneath 42nd street on the A/C/E line?

2.  The FDR Subway Track – Track 61 (picture above!), beneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel is one of the most protected sites. FDR, stands for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and was used exclusively by him during his Presidency, due to his physical impairment, after contracting Polio. Even though we had to luck of going down there, today Track 61 is completely out of bounds for the public.

3. Wanderlust Projects, know for their illegal parties, that trespasses authorized areas, has organized an illegal party in an abandoned Subway Station. We love these guys!

4. Up through 2006, the New York City transit system operated an armored Money Train that took all money collected from fairs to a safe place at 370 Jay Street, Brooklyn. (You can see more at the New York Transit Museum).

5.  Joralemon Street, in Brooklyn Heights, has a fake townhouse, in the middle of several others colored ones, that hides a ventilation shaft for the Subway.

6. MTA Arts for Transit invited the sculpture Tom Otterness, in 2004, to create those beautiful little bronze creature spread through out the 14th Station and 8th Avenue. See more about his project below:

…and still:

7. The Knickerbocker Hotel was once a very acclaimed hotel, where names like F.Scott Fitzgerald and John D. Rockefeller used to “hang”. The forgotten white door at Track 1 on Times Square/42nd Street station.

8. When you get the Q Line from Dekalb into Manhattan (the abandoned Myrtle Ave station), you will be able to witness the Masstransiscope artwork by Bill Brand, installed in the year of 1980. This was once the is located in the abandoned Myrtle Ave station. Facing the front of the train, you need to sit on the left side seats.

9. We love the Underbelly Project, dating back a few years to 2009. See below where some of the most amazing works of art are secretly hidden.

10. Decommissioned in 1945, the famous City Hall Subway Station has maybe the most amazing architectural designs of all. How to see it? Stay on the 6 train after its last stop, at Brooklyn Bridge. It will continue running, and you’ll be able to see a bit from this station, when you pass by. Beware: it might get a little dark, since lights might go out at some point. Just, stay cool.

11. The Woolworth Building had an exclusive and direct access into the subway, for all the tenants. For an exclusive tour into the building, contact our experts!

12. The weird “finger-pointing” moment that every conductor does before opening the train’s doors, is simply for safety reasons, indicating that the train is completely stopped.


13. Famous people have done fantastic works of “art” in the subway. Take a look at what Aaron from Underground_NYC has created through the dance moves of the famous Brazilian ballerina, Ingrid Silva:

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Secret Subway Ingrid Silva by Underground NYC
Ingrid Silva by Underground_NYC.

…there is just so much more, but we’ll leave it for a second article about the NYC subway secrets!

So, with all this, there are a few books and gadgets we’d like to recommend, if you’re into these secret subway stories and adventures like us:

1. Beneath the Streets: The Hidden Relics of New York’s Subway System
2. The City Beneath Us: Building the New York Subway
3. Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure: A TOON Graphic (Toon Graphics) (for Kids)
4. Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story
5. The New York City Subway: The History of America’s Largest and Most Famous Subway System
6. My Subway Ride (for Kids)
7. The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway
8. Sterling Industries 138-094 Double Sided Wall Clock with Map of New York Subway
9. New York Puzzle Company – New York City Transit MTA Subway Kids – 36 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle (for Kids)
10. Glossy Paper Subway Gift Bags
11. and still, a New York City Subway Map Poster Print

And last, we hope you enjoyed this post, as much as we enjoyed doing it!

Yup, we are fascinated with uncovering the NYC subway secrets!

Text Excerpts: History.com
Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Underground_NYC
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Union Square Subway Therapy Project: Leave Your Sticky Note

Curiosities City Secrets Subway Therapy Union Square Manhattan Post Its Art

New York City is an incubator for upcoming artists and inspiring ideas. Today, we are sharing more about the intriguing Union Square Subway Therapy Project that has surely called everyone’s attention! Go leave your sticky note!

Curiosities City Secrets Subway Therapy Union Square Manhattan Post Its Art

One of the reasons we love New York is because it it’s constantly booming are scene! Every day, every hour and every minute, you are able to see a new art work around town.

In addition, some of the most talented artists on the planet are based here (lucky us!), and we just love to know “what’s coming next”!

New York’s subway can be an adventure for many, but also hectic and confusing. That is to say, this week while commuting around Manhattan to our endless meetings, our eyes were immediately drawn to this fantastic, colorful, eternal wall with thousands and thousands of Post Its!

We promptly stopped to see what is was about and simply loved the idea! The Union Square Subway Therapy Project glued an infinite number of Post It’s to the subway walls.

The messages? Of Hope! Love! Life! Protesting! Defending! Inspiring! Thanking! Questioning!

“Subway Therapy is about making people smile, laugh, and feel less stress. It’s about peaceful expression and being part of a vibrant and diverse community.”

It was just so fantastic to stop and read these message. Many, of course, we resonated immediately. These were the very inspiring and loving. Others were very resentful and questioning certain relevant topics. We respect them too!

So, if you want to be part of this mural of ideas and messages, head to Union Square and leave your sticky note!

Check out their Instagram page (@SubwayTherapy) to see a bit more of what it looks like!

And, lucky us!!! This project transformed into a beautiful book!

“People have been asking me over the last few months if I will be making a book, and now I can say yes, I will be! On October 24th, 2017 people will be able to hold a piece of Subway Therapy in their hands. 

I’m very excited work with Bloomsbury and bring Subway Therapy to life in print. I started this project to help people feel less stress and connect with their community, and it is my hope that these books will inspire people to explore new pathways of expression and understanding. “

It is called “Signs of Hope: Messages From Subway Therapy” and you can buy it on Amazon, here!

Lastly, if you are an art fan and love exploring this creative universe, see what our Private Art Tours are about! We also cater for special Corporate Experiences!


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC
*Last Update on March/2020.*

The Strangers Project by Brandon Doman, so “What’s Your Story?”

Curiosities City Secrets Strangers Project Brandon Doman Night Lights

A few weeks ago we were at a Tech Startup event and ‘bumped’ into this amazing booth, where Brandon Doman was showcasing his project, called “The Strangers Project”.

The name instantly caught my attention and I stopped to learn more! The Strangers Project is a compilation of 20,000+ handwritten, anonymous and spontaneous journal entries from strangers. They share some of the most important moment in their lives.

The book is called “What’s Your Story?: True Experiences from Complete Strangers” and it’s certainly a unique piece of art to have at your home. Or even, give it as a gift to someone you love!

So, after falling in love with his project, we decided to interview Brandon. We wanted to disclose his amazing story and project.

So, here it goes:

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How did The Strangers Project start?

“Back in 2009 I was sitting outside of a coffee shop. Hundreds of people were walking by and I found myself curious about their lives. An idea crossed my mind! “What would it take to get these anonymous strangers to share something about their life with me? What might we have in common besides being strangers?”

I took a marker from my bag and the notebook wrote: “Hi There! Please stop and share your story!”

I felt a little nervous propping it up on the table at first. I had no idea how people would react. Within the first few minutes, two women stopped at my table and pointed at the sign.”

They asked me, “What are you doing?”

I told them that I wasn’t really sure yet, and then asked if they would be willing to write something about their lives in the notebook. I told them it could be anything as long as it was true… and they began to write.

This is how I started collecting stories from strangers. These stories are collected face to face in public spaces around the country with a stack of blank paper, clipboards, and a lot of pens.

During this time I’ve met tens of thousands of strangers, and so far, over 20,000 of them have handwritten stories while sitting across from me during this exploration of spontaneous intimacy.”

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What are some of the most amazing statements you’ve collected?

“This is always a hard question to answer because there are so many incredibly diverse and interesting stories that people have shared.

An important part of building the architecture of this project was creating something where people could share whatever they wanted without prompts—it’s simply a place to share, in your own words, something about your life.

They come in from all ages, all walks of life, and each end of the emotional spectrum. Some are short and silly, some are heavy and challenging, some are adventurous or exploratory.  Because of that, we end up with these stories that resonate with people for very different reasons.

Some people enjoy finding stories that share a common thread to their own experiences, others like finding ones that share views and experiences that are very different from their own. This diversity allows us to both find connection and exploration of the infinite ways our lives unfold.

I know that doesn’t exactly answer your question, but my point is: it’s best to just explore.”

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Has anything unique or surprising happened after you started this project, that you never really expected?

“I could talk about this for days. Nothing in the project is mailed in or sent in online, so that means I’ve had a chance to meet all 20,000+ people that have shared stories.

When I’m out collecting I always have hundreds of stories for people to read as well, so including the people that stop by to read, ask questions, and experience the project in other ways, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many tens of thousands of people I would have never met otherwise.

This in-person approach lends itself to all kinds of great experiences. Many people come back to read and share new stories over the years—some of them becoming good friends.

I’ve really enjoyed meeting fans from around the world who were following along online but then had a chance to find the project in the real world.

The Strangers Project has even been a part of three marriage proposals that happened through stories— one even spontaneously right on the spot.

I love being able to share the stories online, but my favorite part of the project is being able to create physical spaces for us to connect with our stories.”

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Anything else you’d like to share with us?

“Each year I try to grow the project in different ways. This fall I have some big news:

The first Strangers Project national tour and documentary. There are so many experiences I have that I can’t easily share online. And, with this new endeavor, we’re going to change that.

These stories offer a brief glimpse into the intimacies of everyday lives, bridging meaningful connections between strangers. By creating a place for stories, we create space to understand each other and ourselves.

My goal is to take these stories to new communities, and to have a film crew join along. We’re crowdfunding right now to make this happen, so I encourage you to check out our video and get involved!”

Thank you, Brandon, for taking your time to answer our questions! It was amazing to learn a bit more about this fantastic journey!

If you want to see more information, take a look here.

In addition, Brandon currently has a pop-up installation up at Fountain House Gallery with hundreds of stories on the walls. He’ll be there daily until August 25th but, most importantly, they’re having a reception and fundraiser on Tuesday,  August 23rd from 6pm – 9pm. You’ll be able to see numerous Stories alongside complimentary beverages, and more!

Lastly, if you’re a fan of buying photography books, you will probably love “The Borscht Belt: Abandoned Sites In The Catskills Region“.



Photo Credit: Courtesy images
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Caca de Souza: A Book For The Haute Jetsetters Worldwide

Curiosities Insider Interviews Caca de Souza Book

Caca de Souza is well known for being one of the world’s top jetsetters. Now, he launches a unique book with a compilation of his favorite spots in the major fashion capitals.

This is for the Haute Jetsetters out there!

To start, the Worldwide Brand Ambassador for Valentino and CEO & Creative Director of his jewelry design company, Most Wanted Design, Carlos Souza is known across the globe for his glamorous and fun-loving style.

Many know him as Cacá de Souza, a kind nickname given by close friends.

In addition, he told our Founder, Fernanda Paronetto, about his book, #Carlos’s Places, a guide to some of his favorite places around the globe.

From cities like New York and Paris to São Paulo, London, Rome, and Shanghai, Cacá shares all his top spots!

In each location, Cacá talks about the best the city has to offer. He lists his preferred places for dining, dancing, shopping, art visiting, or just going out for a good cocktail.

Plus, he also shares valuable information about the unique fashion, food, art, and design places of his interest.

With an introduction by the renowned British fashion journalist, illustrator, and filmmaker, Michael Roberts, the book was published by Assouline.

So, the book consists of 176 pages with 170 amazing pictures! The book goes for $50.

Now, here was the best news of all: Carlos did a book signing session at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to celebrate his book launch with Assouline.

Many of you were lucky enough to get your copy with his autograph, but if you weren’t part of this lucky group, you can at least purchase the book and guarantee your copy!

Also, follow his Instagram account (@CarlosSouza1311) to see all the breathtaking places he currently is visiting! His life is literally a dream for all the jetsetters out there!

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Cacá de Souza and Assouline
*Last Update on March/2020.*

The New York Public Library in Numbers

Curiosities City Secrets NYPL New York Public Library Paulleclerc

One of the most amazing renowned building in NYC is the one that houses the New York Public Library (NYPL)! Now, let’s talk about the NYPL in numbers.

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The New York Public Library (NYPL) was founded in 1895. It’s located at Bryant Park and a few blocks from Grand Central Terminal.

“It is the nation’s largest public library system, featuring a unique combination of 88 neighborhood branches and four scholarly research centers, bringing together an extraordinary richness of resources”.

But, we didn’t come to day to talk about the library’s historical facts. We are here to put the New York Public Library in number, so you can see how amazing it is.

So, here it goes:

  • Has been an education center for over 100 years
  • Housed in the iconic 42nd Street library, and 5th Avenue
  • 125 miles of shelving
  • 530,000 cubic feet of white Vermont marble
  • Façade has marble 12 inches thick
  • Unique combination of 88 neighborhood branches
  • 92 Locations: The Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island
  • 4 scholarly research centers
  • Has 3 other research centers
  • Serves more than 17 million patrons a year
  • Millions of other patrons are served online
  • Hold more than 51 million items that ranges from books, e-books, and DVDs to renowned research collections used by scholars from around the world
  • 125 miles of book stacks
  • Heaviest book weighs 61 pounds
  • The historical collections hold such treasures as Columbus’s 1493 letter announcing his discovery of the New World
  • More than 30,000 classic feature films, documentaries, and educational programs for free
  • More than 700,000 items in their award-winning Digital Collections
  • The Library’s new e-reader SimpleE app has more than 300,000 free e-books
  • 103,000 free programs annually, serving everyone from toddlers to teens to seniors
  • Educators can borrow as many as 100 books for 60 days, with no late fees
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley’s skull fragments are in room 319
  • 40,000 restaurant menus, the world’s largest collection, dates back to the 1850’s
  • Norbert Pearlrot visited the library almost every single day. For 52 years, he sat at the same table
  • For it’s 100th anniversary, it received a $1.2 billion renovation

If you want to read more details about the fact above, be sure to check out the NYPL’s website and an article from the New York Times, that also had some great secrets.

The NYPL is a place that you can visit countless times, since there is so much rich content to uncover!

Be sure to enjoy it as much as you can!

Location: 5th Avenue at 42nd Street


Text Excerpts: Facts compiled from the NYPL and NYTimes
Credits: Courtesy of Massimiliano Cerra, Paulleclerc, Bronx Banter Blog and Wikipedia
*Last Update on March/2020.*

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