Tag Archives: City Secrets

New York City Before And After The Coronavirus [Part 1/2]

Curiosities City Secrets New York City Before and After the Coronavirus Madison Avenue John Arano Clara Kesser

Known as “The City That Never Sleeps”, New York City is now at rest. Come take a look at an amazing compilation of photos of New York City before and after the Coronavirus.

Curiosities City Secrets New York City Before and After the Coronavirus Madison Avenue John Arano Clara Kesser
Madison Avenue. Before: John Arano; After: Clara Kesser

The other day, I read: “For a city like New York, this is just a nap.” I have to agree.

Manhattan’s streets are practically deserted. Neighborhoods like SoHo, Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, large avenues like Park Avenue and areas close to Central Park remind us of that movie with Will Smith, I Am Legend.

The heart of New York, Times Square, continues beating with its countless electronic panels and thousands of colorful lights. However, the streets and avenues are simply empty. Nobody is there to look.

In such a fantastic city, loved worldwide, photographers have not stopped their work and their captures. The result is surprising, but also heartbreaking.

But, as everyone knows, New Yorkers are resilient and are more united than ever! Soon, the city will again pulsing in its “new normal”!

Before we start, thank you to ALL these talented eyes behind each lens, spread throughout our city!

Take a look at these shots of New York City before and after the Coronavirus:


Grand Central Terminal

Curiosities City Secrets New York City Before and After the Coronavirus Grand Central Terminal Behind The Scenes NYC Clara Kesser
Grand Central Terminal. Before: Behind The Scenes NYC; After: Clara Kesser

We love Grand Central Terminal, yes, Terminal! Not Station. It’s definitely one of our favorite top NYC attractions. Every so often, we change our itinerary, just to pass through it.

Now, the cool part is actually the Secret Behind The Scenes Grand Central Terminal Tour that we offer in collaboration with a fantastic partner! Once the city reopens, be sure to check it out!

Brooklyn Bridge

Curiosities City Secrets New York City Before and After the Coronavirus Brooklyn Bridge Dalia Maidi LittleKidNYC
Brooklyn Bridge. Before: Dalia Maidi; After: LittleKidNYC

The Brooklyn Bridge is certainly one of New York’s timeless attractions. Open to the public on May of 1883, it became one of the world’s most famous – and gorgeous – bridges! Similar to the Grand Central Terminal, we have a super cool Secrets Of The Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour.

Did you know that a guy called George C. Parker was known of having “sold” the bridge many times to different new prospect owners? He did a huge load of money out of this hoax and was eventually sent to jail for life. You’ll listen to this story and other pretty cool ones during the tour!

The Oculus (WTC)

Curiosities City Secrets New York City Before and After the Coronavirus World Trade Center Emmanuel Kontokalos Noel Y Calingasan
World Trade Center. Before: Emmanuel Kontokalos; After: Noel Y Calingasan

Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub, also known as The Oculus, is certainly a spot not to miss! Now, can you guess how much this massive construction costed?

No? Let us “wow” you then! The Oculus, in addition to the PATH station, costed $3.9 billion. The thing is, not everyone was happy with the outrageous cost.

Washington Square Park

Curiosities City Secrets New York City Before and After the Coronavirus Washington Square Park Behind the Scenes NYC Alex Carvalho
Washington Square Park. Before: Behind the Scenes NYC; After: Alex Carvalho

Washington Square Park is located in lower Manhattan and has a really great story! It’s the burial ground of thousands and thousands of bodies, was a farm land back when the Dutch had colonized NYC and was called New Amsterdam. Today, it hosts countless artists and creatives, has been the location of riots and important moments in history and yet…it’s a super important spot for the LGBTQ movement!

42nd Street

Curiosities City Secrets New York City Before and After the Coronavirus Tudor City Noel Y Calingasan Alex Carvalho
Tudor City. Before: Noel Y Calingasan; After: Alex Carvalho

One of the spots photographers love shooting and being creative, is 42nd Street. It’s been captured from all different angles and definitely has a unique view, starting with the beautiful Chrysler Building in the back!

Times Square

Curiosities City Secrets New York City Before and After the Coronavirus Times Square Noel Y Calingasan Dalia Maidi
Times Square. Before: Noel Y Calingasan; After: Dalia Maidi

If some asked if they’d ever imagine seeing Times Square completely empty, the universal answer would most likely be a big fat “No!”. Well, then again, I guess no one ever expected Covid-19, right? Many Broadway shows, that have been running continuously for decades, in addition to all the newest ones, have been cancelled until further notice.

Now, we have a pretty cool experience that you can look forward to! Have you ever imagined having a Private Diner and a Post Show Meet & Greet with the Broadway Stars? Surely a memorable experience to go home with, right!?

The Subway

Curiosities City Secrets New York City Before and After the Coronavirus Subway Victor Rodriguez Jenna Day
Subway. Before: Victor Rodriguez; After: Jenna Day

Ah, the New York subway. Home to all our friendly rats and roaches, but also so much loved, as hated by us New Yorkers. I have to confess that I’m personally pretty fond of it and aways enjoy me ride, regardless of the awkward odors and clear discomfort many times.

And, I love it so much, that we decided to offer a few different tours to share more about its story. So, check out the Underground New York Subway Tour and the Underground Art In The NYC Subway Tour, and let us know what you loved the most!

Now wait! The pictures of New York City before and after the Coronavirus are not yet finished!!

Take a look our Part 2 and what places like St. Patricks Cathedral, the Rockefeller Center, the famous and luxurious 5th Avenue, Radio City look like! Oh, and don’t forget about the East Village, Dumbo in Brooklyn and one of the most beautiful parks, Bryant Park!


(This piece was originally written for and published on Glamour Brazil Online.)

Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC, Courtesy of Clara Kesser (@PommePommeNYC), John Arano, Noel Y. Calingasan (@NycLovesNyc),  Dalia Maidi (@nyc.from.my.eyes),  Alex Carvalho (@AlexCarvalhoNY), @LittleKidNYC, Leo Macias (@LeoMacias) and Unsplash photographers

How New Yorkers Can Come Together During The Pandemic

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Grand Central Terminal

New York City, much like the rest of the world, is experiencing all of the stresses and strain of the coronavirus pandemic. Take a look at how New Yorkers can come together during the Pandemic.

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Statue of Liberty

In fact, the city has become an epicenter for the virus, and considerable efforts are being made to slow the spread.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, everyone will be affected in one way or another. Whether that is due to catching the virus or having to deal with the financial or emotional problems caused by the social distancing and restrictions put in place.

However, some people will feel the effects more than others.

It is essential that as a community, we all stop and think about others around us that may be experiencing financial, or mental health problems. And then, if possible, we all try and do something for those around us.

Here’s how New Yorkers can come together during the pandemic:


Look Out For Your Neighbors

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Help Elderly

In a city with over 8 million people, it is easy to overlook our neighbors. But during these testing times, we need to come together as a city more than ever.

Check-in on your neighbors regularly. If you’re able to phone them, do so. You may not see them or be able to talk to them face-to-face, however, you could always drop a note through their door and start communications that way.

There are lots of things that you can do for your neighbors, especially those that may be elderly or at risk. They might need your help with groceries and the basic healthcare products! They don’t have the technology to buy these things online, so be sure to knock on their door and ask if they need anything!

Offer to find out about the government stimulus for retirees, run to the store and get them some groceries, or just be someone that they can talk to when they’re lonely or feeling low.


Follow Social Distancing Measures

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Empire State

In a big busy city like New York, it can be hard to come to your distance from everyone else. However, during the pandemic, it is essential to curb the spread. To do this, everyone needs to play their part.

To help others who may be more vulnerable and at risk from the virus than you, limit your exposure to others by staying at home. We’ve seen that New Yorkers have been great with this which is, after all, respect for other people’s lives and well-being.

If you do need to go out, keep your distance from others, and make sure that you wash your hands often and avoid touching your face. Oh, and don’t forget to use your mask and take your portable hand sanitizer with you!


Take Care of Local Businesses

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Neighbors

During the Covid-19 pandemic and over the coming months, local and independent businesses will come under considerable economic pressure. A looming global recession will mean that people will be more mindful of what they are spending their money on.

During these times, it may be tempting to spend all of your money in the major chains that offer cut-price produce. But, in the best interests of your own city, it is time to make sure that you shop local and support the New York businesses.

We’ve created a Instagram Social Media campaign where we post about 4-5 small local NYC businesses every day and what you can do to support them. It can be help donate for a fundraiser, sign a petition or even just continue requesting their services and products through home delivery or pick-ups.

You may spend slightly more, however, you will be doing your bit to help local businesses stay open. That’ll mean that New York gets to retain its character, and you get to keep the options of different choices.


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Alexandra_Koch, Omni Matryx, Quinton Delmar, Gerd Altmann and Jon Tyson

3 Hidden Coffee Shops In New York City

Curiosities City Secrets 3 Hidden Coffee Shops In New York City Photo Toa Heftiba

New Yorkers are known for being great coffee lovers and it’s definitely part of their daily routine. That said, we also know that locals love going to hidden spots, far from tourists. So, we united both and explored 3 hidden coffee shops in New York City.

Curiosities City Secrets 3 Hidden Coffee Shops In New York City Photo Christian Koch

With over 3,400 coffee shops, New York City is surely the coffee capital of America. While other cities may claim better coffee, none can top NYC in sheer quantity.

A New Yorker who sets out to try a different coffee shop every day won’t be finished for over nine years – and likely longer that, since in nine years, another 1,000 cafés may have opened.

Yet, in knowing how many small, boutique coffee shops are tucked inside NYC, it’s inevitable that a New Yorker who attempts this coffee quest may miss a few.

Luckily, investigators have placed a pin in those shops whose hidden locations preclude them from fame.

So, take a look at 3 hidden coffee shops in New York City.


Swedish Seamen’s Church

Curiosities City Secrets 3 Hidden Coffee Shops In New York City Swedish Seamens Church
Photo Credit: Courtesy

If you think that this name is ironic – something that is young, hipster proprietors thought up – think again.

Inside the Swedish Church of New York is a coffee shop of the kind frequented by Scandinavian seamen and emigrants at the turn of the century.

Approximately 1.3 million Swedes settled in New York during the 19th and 20th centuries, churches and cafés were their oases in a foreign land.

Today, the coffee shop is connected to the church’s library on 5 East 48th Street. It would be concealed from passers-by if not for a small chalkboard sign. The clientele is still, for the most part, Swedish, and snacks and coffee are Swedish in origin and in name.

Smørrebrød sandwiches, lingonberry juice and aromatic, rich coffee are available and affordable.

Location: 5 East 48th Street

www.svenskakyrkan.se/newyork


Voyager Espresso

Curiosities City Secrets 3 Hidden Coffee Shops In New York City Voyager Expresso
Photo Credit: Courtesy

Voyager Espresso is underground – literally.

The shop is located underneath 110 William Street in a subway station hallway that is accessible via the John Street subway exit or the building’s lobby.

From both entrances, patrons must descend staircases before coming upon the rounded, austere space of Voyager Espresso, where staff roast their own beans and brew coffee and espressos with machines of the kind that Majesty Coffee ranks highly for small businesses.

The shop contains a Fetco batch brewer and a three-group Synesso Hydra machine.

In addition to delicious hot beverages that also include cappuccinos, lattes and hot chocolate, Voyager Espresso sells cold drinks, breakfast foods, salads, sandwiches and toast.

Location: 110 William Street

www.voyagerespresso.com


The Cobra Club

Curiosities City Secrets 3 Hidden Coffee Shops In New York City Thee Cobra Club Photo by 3 PHOTOGRAPHERS
Photo Credit: 3 PHOTOGRARHERS

The Cobra Club is part yoga studio, part bar and part café – a combination that you may only find in New York City

It’s located at 6 Wyckoff Ave in Bushwick and provides 2,500 square feet of room for yoga, partying and coffee drinking. However, you might actually have to enter the building to discover that it’s a coffee shop.

The coffee has been rated as excellent – as has the vibe. By day, patrons can get their yoga and coffee fix; by night, they can get their alcohol and entertainment fix.

Karaoke, self-defense classes, and heavy metal yoga are just some of the entertainment options offered by The Cobra Club.

Location: 6 Wyckoff Ave

www.facebook.com/cobraclubbk


Coffee shops are abundant in New York City, but some of the best and coolest cafés are easy to miss.

Swedish Seamen’s Church, Voyager Espresso and The Cobra Club are three coffee shops hidden from the hustle and bustle of NYC. Now that you know where they are, be sure to stop in and have a brew.

Finally, if you’re a coffee lover and an explorer that loves seeing other spots in town, take a look at our YouTube video on “The 5 Top Coffee Shops In Greenpoint Brooklyn”.


Photo Credit: Courtesy of 3 PHOTOGRAPHERS and courtesy of venues.

New York City: Pulse [The City That Never Sleeps]

Curiosities City Secrets Behind the Scenes New York City Pulse by Hawk Films

In the middle of the Covid-19, a global pandemic, we decided to share a beautiful video we named New York City: Pulse [The City That Never Sleeps]. Let’s share and pray for New York City!

We’re posting this video in homage to our beautiful and always dynamic New York City! LET’S ALL SHARE IT?!

The city that never sleeps, is now asleep. But, hopefully not for long!

While everyone should be doing their part during this crucial moment, staying at home and helping those that need help, we should keep blessing daily the NYC and the world!

Check out our Covid-19 Instagram Highlight to see how to help small local NYC businesses and share with us any NY business you’d like us to feature!

Help those in need, donate, share information, help the elderly, the sick! Do everything you can! This is a test and one of the lessons is to learn how to be of service to those around you! So, BE OF SERVICE!

We are in this together and this too shall pass…and we will get stronger and more united. Let’s awake the city that never sleeps!


This is not at all intended to be a religious statement, but there is a powerful and famous Prayer by St. Francis of Assisi that states:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

During this global pandemic we should all join and say these words with the intention of healing every person and every being, and Mother Earth! It’s our home, let’s take care of it!

If you enjoyed this, take a look at A Wedding Vow To NYC: “I Take You, New York City…”, the the city that never sleeps.


Thank you to our friends from Hawk Films (Brasil) that put this together a while back! We just found it in our archives and wanted to share with the world!

Disclaimer: This video has never been shown or promoted before and it was simply made for the love for New York City!

Biggest NYC Wine Trends Of 2020

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Wine Trends Friends by

These will be the biggest NYC wine trends of 2020. So, if you’re a wine lover like we are, keep on reading! And…enjoy!

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Wine Trends by Kelsey ChancePeople in the United States are drinking more wine than ever before, and New Yorkers are among the top 5 wine drinkers in the country. That said, we’re here to share with you the biggest NYC wine trends of 2020!

Whether it’s a gathering with friends at a trendy tapas restobar or just a regular night watching “The Witcher” on Netflix, nothing can be more celebratory or relaxing than having a glass or two of vino.

In 2020, wine drinking is about to get even better as insiders predict the arrival of new wine trends to shake up your drinking experience.

From innovative packaging to a fun and fizzy drink, these are the biggest wine trends to look out for in 2020.


Canned red and white wine

The latest wine trends in Australia made their way to NYC in last September’s Wine Australia Tasting at Union West in Chelsea, and the new wines have been a part of the city’s diverse wine culture ever since.

A vacation in Australia is the trip of a lifetime for many New Yorkers, and many celebrate it with local wines – you can buy Shiraz wine from Qantas to celebrate your first flight to the country or pop open a bottle of Australian Merlot while camping with friends on the Outback.

Australian favorites are widely available in NYC since the Union West event, and the availability of canned wine makes reliving vacation memories even easier for New Yorkers.

Even more distributors are predicted to release canned versions of their best-selling wines. Canned rosé was the drink of choice among millennials in the summer of 2018 and 2019. But, in the new year, expect to see more people enjoying traditional red and white wines packaged in portable containers.

These new canned wines, along with other innovations in the wine industry, will likely be showcased at the Vinexpo New York 2020 from March 2nd to 3rd, at the Jacob K. Javits Center.


Orange wine

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Wine Trends by Court Cook

We’re all familiar with red, white and pink wine, but orange wine is about to be big in the new decade.

Wine takes on the sunny hue when grape juice is fermented with the skins of the white grape. This is why orange wine is also called a skin-contact wine.

It has a slightly different taste from traditional white or red wines, and goes well with beef or fish. So, it’s a good choice if you have yet to master food and wine pairings.

You can taste this type of wine at some New York wineries such as the Red Hook Winery, Channing Daughters, and Chamber Street Wines.

Oh, and have you heard of Green wine? Try them at the cool hotspot, Beco, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn!


Fizzy and affordable Piquette

Sustainable wine is starting to become more popular nowadays, so make your wine drinking experience more eco-friendly by drinking Piquette.

This drink isn’t exactly classified as a type of wine, as it’s made by adding water to the pomace, which is the leftover stems, skins and seeds that the winemaker discards after extracting the juice from the grapes.

This means that you’re basically drinking a beverage made from the byproducts of the wine making process. And, what you get is a fizzy drink that has a slightly sweet flavor with a bit of a sour tang.

Insiders are predicting that Piquette will be a lot more popular in the new decade due to its low alcohol content. You can find this type of drink at wineries such as Henry’s in Brooklyn.

The NYC wine culture is about to experience some welcome changes in the new decade. Be on the lookout for these wine trends, and enjoy discovering new wines in 2020.


Curiosities City Secrets NYC Wine Trends by Renata Meirelles


Guest Writer: Cindy Trillo
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Renata Meirelles, Kelsey Chance and Court Cook

Open House New York Weekend: Exploring NYC’s Best Secrets

Events Up Coming Open House New York Weekend Brooklyn Army Terminal by Nicolas Lemery Nantel

Open House New York Weekend is just a few days away! You’ll be able to explore NYC’s best secrets in a weekend filled with excitement and access to out of bound spots!

Events Up Coming Open House New York Weekend Ford Foundation Center by Garrett Rowland Gensler
Ford Foundation Center – Photo Credit: Garrett Rowland, Gensler

By now, you guys probably have noticed that we are all about uncovering NYC’s best secrets and sharing it with you! So, today we will tell you a bit more about the Open House New York Weekend!

There is just so much history and hidden gems in the city that it’s almost impossible not to suffer from the dreaded FOMO syndrome (Fear of Missing Out).

Some of the secrets we love the most range from exploring the Secrets of Grand Central Terminal Tour, and attending a VIP tour of the famous Woolworth Building, to even walking through the grounds of Green-Wood Cemetery.

There is just SO MUCH to see and these secrets are certainly a big part of why New York is seen as one of the best places in the world to live and visit!

The upcoming weekend of October 18th – 20th, Open House New York Weekend opens up 300+ sites for you to explore, tour, photograph, and visit!

“Open House New York provides broad audiences with unparalleled access to the extraordinary architecture of New York and to the people who help design, build, and preserve the city.”

During this weekend, you’ll be able to access some of these top city gems!


More about Open House New York:

Open House New York, founded by Scott Lauer in August 2001, engages New Yorkers in the city’s architecture, public space, and the future of urban life.

With the help of a dedicated board and volunteers, OHNY became an important platform for celebrating New York at a critical moment in its history.

Following the events of September 11th, when much of the city was closing itself off through increased security measures, OHNY offered a countervailing force, one that advocated for openness and access as key components of an enlightened and vibrant civic life.

The first Open House New York Weekend in 2003 was part of the city’s first Architecture Week. With the help of three hundred volunteers, that event included 84 sites in all five boroughs.

Events Up Coming Open House New York Weekend Morgan Library Museum by Graham S Haber
Morgan Library Museum – Photo Credit: Graham S. Haber

Since the inaugural year, the event has grown exponentially, increasing its outreach and audience participation; the number of sites, talks and tours; and developing additional thematic and interpretive programming. The 2017 OHNY Weekend had more than 250 participating sites and tours. It’s estimated around 80,000 visitors and more than 1,000 registered volunteers were part of it.

Through its year-round programs and the annual OHNY Weekend, Open House New York celebrates the best examples of design and planning throughout the five boroughs.

From historic to contemporary, it helps foster a more informed conversation about how architecture and urban design sustain New York as a vibrant place to live, work, and learn. Open House New York is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

In addition to OHNY Weekend, Open House New York organizes year-round programs. These extend the conversation that begins during the two days of the Weekend.

Programs include Projects in Planning, an ongoing series of presentations that explore the design and development of major new projects in the early stages of their development.

In addition, Making Place is an annual event that opens a range of architecturally and culturally significant sites in one neighborhood to look at neighborhoods in the midst of change. Lastly, Urban Systems Series, a year-long thematic series, explores important issues in New York City’s built environment, from manufacturing, to food, to waste.

Open House New York’s year-round programs are a significant platform for fostering discussion about how the city might take shape in the years ahead. Plus, it addresses issues including planning, preservation, infrastructure, and contemporary design.


Be sure to book your ticket asap, since many of them sell out in just a few hours! Plus, you can always sign up to their newsletter and stay in the loop of what happens throughout the year!

In addition, if you’d like to support this cause and help them continue their work, see what you can do and how you can be part of their year round events, meet ups, tours and more!

https://ohny.org


Photo Credits: Courtesy of OHNY, Nicolas Lemery Nantel, Garrett Rowland, Gensler and Graham S. Haber

Making The Most Of NYC On A Budget

Curiosities-City-Secrets-NYC-On-A-Budget Coins

Yes, New York is an expensive city, but there are things you can do to try and make the most of NYC on a budget. Let us tell you how!

Curiosities-City-Secrets-NYC-On-A-Budget

It’s no secret that NYC is an expensive city — the average cost of living is 129% more expensive than the national average. But, when it comes to career development, nightlife, culture, shopping, and food, there’s no beating the Big Apple. Regardless of your level of income, it’s possible to budget and minimize your expenses while taking advantage of all the city has to offer.

Let us tell you how!


Cut out unnecessary expenses

Cutting out unnecessary expenses will free up money to spend elsewhere.

For example, if you have a car, consider getting rid of it. Insurance in NYC is expensive and monthly payments, gas, and maintenance adds up fast.

Investing in a monthly MetroCard ($127) is a cost-effective way of commuting every day. You can save on taxi fares by walking as much as possible.

Also, consider eliminating subscription services you may not need, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or the New York Times. Alternatively, look into sharing subscription costs with your friends.


Use credit

Make your purchases with a credit card, so you can take advantage of the rewards.

Most banks offer great deals on cash back at restaurants and stores, as well as travel points. Just make sure to track your spending and be in the habit of paying your card off every month.

If you have a debit card, belong to a bank with low ATM fees.

Moreover, if you have a larger purchase to make, consider using a personal loan. Personal loans have lower interest rates than credit cards. There’s also the opportunity for flexible repayment plans.


Free attractions

NYC has no shortage of free activities if you know where to go. Take a free yoga class at Bryant Park — free classes are held on Tuesday mornings at 10am, or Thursday evenings at 6pm.

Visit a free art gallery — there’s plenty in Chelsea (typically between West 14th Street and West 29th Street), such as, Milk Gallery, Gagosian, and David Zwirner. We can also help you to organize a Private Art Tour during your stay!

When you need some peace and quiet, escape to Brooklyn Botanic Garden by Prospect Park. Admission is free on Tuesdays and you can check out the zoo, the LeFrak Center, and Lefferts Historic House. Or, try exploring the New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx! Such a beautiful place!

Even if you’re on a shoestring budget, NYC is brimming with things to do and see.

Try a cheaper restaurant you wouldn’t normally eat at or seek out a new store with bargain prices. With a little thought and planning, you can enjoy a fulfilling life in NYC without breaking the bank.

You might also want to check out our 4 part Series about “Things No One EVER Tells You About New York” or our 2 part “Cheap NYC Guide”.


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

Louis Mendes: Renowned NYC Street Photographer

City Secrets Louis Mendes NYC Street Photographer Fernanda Paronetto Thumnbnail

If you’ve walked attentively through New York, you’ve probably crossed paths with Louis Mendes, one of the most renowned NYC street photographer. I have a cool story to tell you about the day I wrote about him for the first time.

City Secrets Louis Mendes NYC Street Photographer Fernanda Paronetto
Fernanda Paronetto with Louis Mendes, a renowned NYC Street Photographer. Clicked by Bruce Byers.

A little over 5 years ago, when I started Behind the Scenes NYC (BTSNYC) from my room, in my mom’s house in São Paulo, Brazil my idea (which still remains strong!) was to write about and help spread the love for small, independently owned businesses around New York that have some of the best products and services, far away from the touristy scene!

I also wanted to share the story of New Yorkers that have been leaving their mark around town!

My love for New York has always been something inexplicable that I myself can’t really describe.

Hence my decision of leaving a great job, a 3 year long relationship, my home and move to New York City alone, unemployed but super happy to start a new phase!

Before moving I worked 1 year on BTSNYC from (shocker!!!!) my room in Brazil late hours at night, that was the only time I had free.

With, of course, the help of a bunch on NY-based friends that were my “eyes” – until I was actually able to move!

The Queens-born, Harlem-based photographer, Louis Mendes always called my attention not only because of his flawless style and amazingly cool vintage camera. But, because of his passion to register people in public places and freeze a special moment in time!

I NEVER ask to take pictures with famous people, and New Yorkers know what I’m talking about, hahaha, but I really could not NOT take a picture with him, 5 years after writing about him on my Instagram, when I was still in Brazil!

Louis, it was SO NICE to officially meet you!! Such an honor and I love your work!

And, thank you Bruce Byers, another fantastic photographer, for taking the shot!! It was great to meet you and I’m looking forward to see more of your work!

If you guys are ever in New York, be sure to keep your eyes open! Maybe, you’ll be lucky enough to cross paths with Louis Mendes!


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC, clicked by Bruce Byers
*Last Update on March/2020.*

16 Things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC [PART 4/4]

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Rats

I compiled the 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC! New York City is super friendly city and pretty easy to find you way around. But, there are a few things you should know before visiting!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4
©Behind the Scenes NYC

New York City is super friendly city and pretty easy to find you way around. But, it also has a few particularities you should know before visiting!

So, I decided to share 16 things NO ONE ever tells you about NYC, for the 1st timers in NYC. There are a few rules and tips to make your NY experience seamless and memorable.

We split this topic into 4 different posts, so see below the final, Part 4! And check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, if you haven’t already!


#13 Don’t yell if you see a rat or a cockroach!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Rats
Photo Credit: Courtesy

This had to be #13! Hahaha! This will certainly identify you as a “tourist”.

Why? Well, let’s start from the basics! Did you know that there are more rats in New York, than there are people?

Ok, let’s do the math! It’s estimated that within the 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island), there are around 8.5 million residents. The number of rats is around 5:1, adding up to over 42 million rats below our very own feet!

Now, let me tell you something about cockroaches. They are smart little bastards! I was LITERALLY chased by a human-eater-roach back in 2014 when I came to visit New York before moving, in the middle of a subway station. I was running away from it in circles (no lie!) and the roach was running after me in circles too!

It was comic not to say, ridiculous! I was screaming and laughing desperately – as were all my friends – instead of helping me out. So, don’t do as I did. Try to chill and act as if nothing is wrong! That is…if you can!


#14 Shoot! I need to “pee” and can’t find a bathroom!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Bathroom
©Behind the Scenes NYC

The story of our lives! Manhattan is definitely not a bathroom-friendly place and you might get into some trouble if you don’t know where to run to in an emergency.

I do recommend going to every bathroom you pass by, just in case you don’t at some point! Also, I’ll give you a tip, there is a great APP called SitOrSquat that shares all the public bathrooms in New York. Might be good to downloaded to your phone, right?

Hint, hint! Some places that you’ll find bathrooms: Starbucks, Barnes & Nobel and department stores!


#15 New York is NOT synonymous to Manhattan!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Brooklyn
©Behind the Scenes NYC

And I’m tired of telling people this! I mean, most tourist are stuck between Central Park South and SoHo – which I call “the comfort zone”. But, all the other boroughs in New York are growing and you have just so much to see! It’s just great when you free yourself from Manhattan, and dive into exploring other corners of NYC!

We all know that Brooklyn is now the new “hot spot” with so much going on. So, you might want to start from there. The trendy neighborhood now, is Williamsburg and I love Greenpoint that is close to it. Queens is a paradise for foodies and each borough has its own charm.

And still, there are countless amazing day trips upstate, as well and breathtaking destinations in Long Island, from wineries to beach resorts.

Ok, so let’s start slowly just by crossing the bridge into Williamsburg or DUMBO? I guarantee you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find!


#16 Last by not least: When in doubt, just walk in!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Secret Restaurant
Secret Japanese restaurant hidden behind these doors. ©Behind the Scenes NYC

What I mean is, if you pass by a weird looking door, but apparently people are discretely walking in and out…you might just want to walk in too. I know…the first thought that comes to mind is: “This is part of a horror movie, and if I walk in, I’ll never walk out…” Hahaha!

You never know what you can expect and 99% of the time, you’re not crashing into anyone’s home. On the other side of that door, there might be something extraordinary happening for you to check out or some delicious secret restaurants.

What I mean? Well, secret speakeasy bars are spread all over town, like Patent Pending – that I always love going to, or high-end hidden restaurants with a hidden door tucked behind a hanging art work in a gallery, like Frevo. Regardless, these spots will create some of the most memorable moments of your New York experience!

Be brave…and walk in!


And that’s a wrap for our list of the 16 things NO ONE ever tells you about NYC, for the 1st timers in NYC! There are so many other tips, but I guess that starting through these 16, you’ll be fine!

There are just a few things that we remembered along the way, that we just have to share, and that are FREE:

  • Water in NYC is FREE! Yes, NYC’s tap water is known for being some of the best in the country, and there is even the rumor that our bagel is one of the best, because of the water! So, when you arrive at a bar or restaurant you might automatically receive cups with water that will be refilled all the time, or you can ask for still or sparking water, that comes in a bottle – and these are paid for!
  • Condoms in NYC are FREE! Yup, that’s what you heard! They are Free, so check out where to find Free NYC Condoms.
  • Fitness classes for FREE! The City of New York created the “Shape Up NYC Classes“, where you can find everything from Yoga in the Park and Hip Hop Fitness, to Zumba and Aerobics classes!

If you want a post about all the FREE things to do in NYC, leave your comment below and we’ll get right on it for you!

I hope we were able to help a bit more on your understanding of how the city functions!

Also, as mentioned, feel free to use the information we gave that makes more sense for YOUR trip! When we talk about tipping for example, we know that many people are traveling on a budget, so let’s just be reasonable, right? The idea was just to share a bit how things work!

And, if you’re looking for assistance for a corporate group coming to New York, don’t hesitate to contact our experts! We organize everything from dinners, cocktails to corporate events and unique experiences.


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

Resorts World Casino NYC & City Casinos

Curiosity City Secrets Resort World Casino NYC City Casinos

Resorts World Casino NYC if a high-end casino venue, in Queens, with countless hospitality and entertainment options. So, if you enjoy this nightlife style, be sure to visit!

Curiosity City Secrets Resort World Casino NYC City Casinos

Ask the average New Yorker if there are any casinos in town, and the response will probably be a no. New York as a whole isn’t known for legal casino gaming, save for in a few select places well outside the city. One would imagine that if the city did have a venue of this sort, it would be heavily publicized (not to mention visibly noticeable).

The truth, though, is that New York City actually does have a high-end casino venue – even if it’s out on Rockaway Blvd. in Queens. It’s called Resorts World Casino New York City, and it offers up to 6,000 games and a variety of hospitality and entertainment options.

Resorts World Casino New York may not be as easy or accessible as more traditional nightlife options when you’re just looking to walk a few blocks or take a quick subway ride to meet friends. With that said though, it offers a completely different type of evening entertainment, for those interested – not to mention it’s still more convenient, for most, than a jaunt to Atlantic City.

In addition to the aforementioned 6,000 games, which include both slots and table games, Resorts World Casino New York City has multiple dining venues. RW Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar is a must if you’re heading out for dinner before games.

There are shops that are open late, adding to the resort-like feel of the place. And, maybe best of all for a long night out, there’s also Bar 360. It’s a massive cocktail bar that can showcase sporting events on big screens one hour and morph into a live DJ-driven club the next. Plus, it’s a great place to spend an hour or two in between gaming sessions.

All in all, a trip to Resorts World Casino New York City can expose you to something of a hidden gem on the outskirts of the city. But, it will also make you wonder why, exactly, there aren’t more venues like it in the city, and perhaps closer to popular neighborhoods in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

We can’t answer that definitively, but if Resorts World NYC piques your interest, we should note that recent trends might in fact be hinting at expanding casino activity.

Curiosity City Secrets Resort World Casino NYC City Casinos Inside

For the most part this is because of how things are going just south and west of the city, in New Jersey. Recently, the state has made a major push to augment its somewhat-stagnant casino culture with the introduction of online games.

New Jersey now has its own casino platforms online, and some of the best mobile casinos operating internationally are, as a result, being enjoyed by American players. These online and mobile casinos have reportedly generated a great deal of revenue. And, some argue, have also helped to bring attention back to live casino tourism in the state (and primarily Atlantic City).

The thinking here is that this at least creates an incentive for New York legislators to explore their options.

The state is already in the process of following New Jersey’s lead on legalized sports betting. In a roundabout sort of way, could open the door to online casino activity. In addition, if significant revenue in this area becomes apparent, it’s conceivable that New York would look to capitalize on more in-person gaming venues as well.

Five or 10 years from now, that could mean more casino-related nightlife options in the city. For now though, Resorts World Casino is worth a look!

Location: 110-00 Rockaway Blvd, Jamaica, NY

www.rwnewyork.com


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Resorts World Casino NYC
*Last Update on March/2020.*

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