Tag Archives: City Secrets

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 places to visit upstate, as well and breathtaking destinations in Long Island, from wineries to beaches.

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 a delicious secret restaurant.

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 them here.
  • 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 lets 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

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, which – 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

Seeing The Best Of New York City By Motorcycle

Curiosities City Secrets Seeing the Best of New York City By Motorcycle Sandra Frey

Have you ever thought of seeing the best of New York City by motorcycle? Let us give you a few pointers on how this could be an amazing experience!

Curiosities City Secrets Seeing the Best of New York City By Motorcycle Sandra Frey Cropped

New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in America, attracting more than 60 million guests each year. This, thanks to its world-famous landmarks, eclectic cuisine, and unique culture.

If you’re looking for something other than the typical take on the NYC experience, ditch the buses and walking tours! They are quite touristy anyway… Instead experience the best of New York City by motorcycle.

Exploring by bike makes it easy to see parts of the city that other tourists rarely get to enjoy, and it also makes it easy to snap pictures, grab some street food, or simply take in the view.


Exploring Landmarks Downtown

Downtown, you can find many of the major landmarks of Manhattan, including the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and Freedom Tower. You can also explore more hole-in-the-wall places, including small restaurants and specialty shops in Chinatown, Little Italy and the up and coming, South Seaport.

You can also see the filming locations of certain famous movies, including the Ghostbuster Firehouse, the Tiffany & Co. flagship store from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and many more. For a thrilling ride, you can cruise through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the longest continuous underwater road in the U.S.


Experience Uptown Scenery

Uptown is known for its stadiums, like the famous Yankee Stadium, and museums through out the artsy Museum Mile. But, primarily tourists head up to see the scenery.

From the perspective of an automatic motorcycle, you can get some of the best possible views driving up the West Side Highway along the Hudson River. You might also see the palisades that rise over five hundred feet above, cross the George Washington Bridge, head up to the Medieval inspired MET Cloisters and wander through the less well known northern areas of Central Park.


Tour Midtown Monuments

Midtown Manhattan is home to the Empire State Building, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, and other impressive bastions of culture and architecture.

Are you looking for something a little bit more out of the ordinary? You can visit sites such as the mysterious Rose Hill Historic House, the historic C.O. Bigelow Apothecary, or the quirky Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library.

You’re looking to avoid the crowds and experience New York City from a unique angle? So, simply tour the city by motorcycle. Traveling by bike makes it easy to get around. You’ll be able to find all of the hidden gems that NYC has to offer.

Whether you’re riding through the streets of downtown New York, enjoying the sights of midtown, or exploring the refined uptown area, touring New York City by motorbike gives you a unique and exhilarating look at the city.


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sandra Frey

16 Things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC [PART 3/4]

16-Things-No-One-Ever-Tells-You-About-NYC-Part-3 Cover

Ahh! New York City, I love you! But, there are a few secrets you must know before coming here. So, I decided to share 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC.

16-Things-No-One-Ever-Tells-You-About-NYC-Part-3
©Behind the Scenes NYC

There are a few rules and tips to make your NY experience seamless and memorable, and we decided to share a bunch of them with you!

We split this topic into 4 different posts, so see below Part 3 of 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC! And check out Part 1 and Part 2, if you haven’t already!


#9 Yes, yes, we are “behind the scenes”, but certain attractions are must-sees!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 3 The Pond
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Guys, I’m all about exploring the off-the-beaten-path spots and staying away from the touristy scene, BUT this is New York City. What this means is that there are countless attractions that you HAVE TO go see at least once in your life, after all it’s culture, right?

So, yes, you have to walk through once (or twice) the crazy streets of Times Square to see the infinite sea of lights, bump into the Naked Cowboy and Cowgirl, hear the never ending symphony of cars honking their loud, annoying horns, be in the middle of crazy people walking up and down and pushing you to the side, etc! Phiuf! I got stressed just talking about it!

But, after that, if you’re not actually going to a Broadway show or going to our Behind the Scenes Dining with the Broadway Stars Experience, then I wouldn’t recommend going back there too often.

To see which are the touristy locations we recommend in NY, take a look at our lists: 1st Cheap NYC Guide: 40+ Top Attractions and the 2nd Cheap NYC Guide: 30 Top Attractions.


#10 NEVER IN YOUR LIFE hop on a Central Park carriage ride!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 3 Horse Carriages
Photo Credit: Courtesy

And I’ll tell you why! It can seem like a nice activity to do, right? But, the reality is that most of these horses are super badly treated of over-worked during the day.

They barely rest, don’t eat enough, and many don’t have good hoof pads protecting their hoofs from the concrete streets. It’s not unusual to suddenly see a horse collapsing in the middle of the streets from exhaustion.

We need help from the tourists to stop with these silly horse carriage rides and spare these animals of being mistreated.

In addition, there is just SO much to do in Central Park, that you can surely skip this carriage ride. We can help you book bike rides around the main spots, or even explore the Secrets Of Central Park Walking Tour.

P.S. – I have talked to a company that does horseback riding inside Central Park. These guys told me that their horse have a max limit of hours or rides per day. They are securely transported in and out of the city and have a specific treatment. You can read more here. Aside of them, I don’t know any other company that has this type of careful approach with the animals.


#11 Never make eye contact! LOL!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 3 No Eye Contact
Photo Credit: Nirosha Methananda

Do you know these guys that are mostly around touristy locations like Times Square, Central Park, etc…calling you? They are trying to sell you on a tour or an activity! Unless it’s your life’s last craving going on top of that crowded 2-story touristy bus that roams around town, I’d just walk away.

If you do look, be sure they WILL approach you to try and sell something!

Also, if anyone is just randomly standing in the street, looking at people with an iPad in their hand…they are also going to ask for 2 minutes, that actually add up to 10minutes, to try and sell something else. In addition to getting your email and spamming you with promo emails.

The real New Yorker flies by these folks as if they were in the middle of that Olympic Speed Walking modality! Hahaha!

But, on the other hand, it’s an amazing feeling to walk around town – in non touristy areas – and just make eye contact with people! You’ll be surprise in how many will literally smile back!


#12 Holding the door can be polite, but….

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 3 Times Square
Photo Credit: Courtesy

Sure! I do super recommend you being polite and helping out someone by opening the door but, be smart about it. You might be holding the door all-day-long with an endless river of people flowing in and out, if you’re not smart, specially in places like Times Square!

I always encourage you to help moms with strollers, elderly folks, kids, someone carrying something super heavy with no spare hands or anyone that apparently needs help. Otherwise, be mindful and kind with anyone walking in and out, but just go with the flow.

Ah! And in the winter, don’t think about holding the door open for too long. The people inside will surely start starting at you with fierce eyes!


So, this was our Part 3 of the 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC.

But wait!

There is still a few last tips: Part 4! If you haven’t seen Part 1 and Part 2, you might want to check them out before heading to the last post.

There is just so much to know when coming to New York for the 1st time, that you might as well get ready to have the best time of your life!!!

And finally, if you need any type of assistance for big parties and specially for corporate groups, contact our team.


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Nirosha Methananda

16 Things NO ONE EVER Tells You About NYC [PART 2/4]

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Photo Sam Truong Dan

New York is a great city to visit and there is so much you can do! But, if you’ve never been, it can be a bit overwhelming. So, I decided to share 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC.

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Andre Benz

Yes, believe it or not, there are a few rules and tips to make your NYC experience seamless and memorable. This fast paced city certainly has its particularities. But, I can guarantee, that it’s what make this city so unique! You just need to learn a few tips and tricks, to survive in NYC!

We split this topic into 4 different posts, so see below Part 2!

And if you haven’t seen Part 1, go check it out!


#5 Why don’t yellow cabs just STOP when you signal!? And what are these green cabs?

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Taxi
Photo Credit: Courtesy

Many tourists don’t know that the light on top of the cab helps identify if they are free or with a passenger. When the light is ON, they are free for you to try and stop them. So, when the light is off, they are in the middle of a trip and will pass straight by.

Ah! Have you ever seen the green cabs in Manhattan before!?

Well, these cabs will never stop to pick you up in Manhattan, even if they are free. They are only allowed to get passengers in the other boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island), but they can commute anywhere, of course. So, you’ll only be able to grab a yellow cab, while in Manhattan.


#6 This is for the art lovers!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Free Museums
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Even though the city is known for being a very expensive one, there are several ways to save money.

Some museums can have pretty high fees, but most have free entrances a few specific days a week, or a few free hours. And still, others might be “pay what you wish”.

NYC residents: If you have that City ID or another document proving you live in NYC, be sure to tell them. Many paid museums are free for us! WUHU!

The NYC Arts website has a detailed list of all of them to help you out!

And the art galleries? They are all free to enter and see the current art works!

New York also offers countless free events, by the way. You just need to stay tuned to our IG Page or other pretty great accounts too like FomoFeed! Love them!


#7 Always have money on you!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Have Money Photo Jack Harner
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jack Harner

Why? Well, believe it or not there are countless places around New York that are “cash only” spots and will not accept any other payment method. For example, one of my all time favorite spots in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called Beco, is a cash only bar/restaurant. Well, they JUST recently added Amex credit card machine, but many others, have no other option.

Regardless, having a bit of money in your pocket, is always advisable during a trip. You never know what might happen, so you might as well be prepared. But, if you do forget, most of the “cash only” spots or have an ATM inside or they are close to one that you can run to.

Now, don’t come with a $100 bill. You’ll have a pretty hard time exchanging them or getting change if you’re purchasing something cheap. Plus, banks aren’t allowed to give you change for them. Bummer! I guess everyone is just skeptic it might be a fake.


#8 Tipping is CRUCIAL!!!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Photo Sam Truong Dan
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sam Truong Dan

This is something not all visitors agree with or feel comfortable, but it’s a reality! New York is a city where you tip for absolutely everything! You need to breathe? Tip! Just joking….but not joking.

So, let me give you the basics on how this goes. And of course, just be reasonable guys!!! I know many people are traveling on a budget, and that’s totally fine too, so just be mindful when you are at different places.

In general, restaurants vary with tips from 18% – 22%. I always end up tipping 20%, but you can feel free and pick what suits you best. For bigger groups, some restaurants will automatically include 25% in the bill, so be sure to see that.

At bars, I also just usually tip 20% to make it easier, but you can just consider at least $1 a drink, and for the pricier cocktails, at least $2. Guys, the tireless barmen and bar-women are working their asses off all-night-long to be sure you have a great time, so help them out too!

By the way, when the bar is super full, nicer tips might give you an extra attention when getting future drinks at the bar.

Now, as I mentioned, tipping is not limited to only restaurants and bars. If you’re getting an Uber/Lyft/Via/Juno, you can always tip the driver at the end of the ride through the APP, but yellow cabs also expect tips. Yes, even the lousy, dirty, smelly ones… You can tip 15% – 20% and if you’re paying with a card, you just pick the tipping amount on the screen.

Tipping at the hotel is also important. It’s always nice to tip the bellboy that helps bringing your luggage into the hotel and up to your room. Generally, it’s $1 per bag, but if you’re at a nicer hotel, be nicer too! Lol! When your leaving the hotel, and a staff grabs a taxi for you, yes, tip him like $1-$2. Oh, and most people most often forget: the cleaning lady! She was the one that kept your room super neat and clean during all these unforgettable days in New York. You might want to leave around $2/day for her at the end for your stay. I always also customize the tip with a smiley note!

So, as you can see….tipping is crucial and this is also one of the reasons you have to have cash on you!!! But, as I said, be mindful and reasonable within the budget you have too!


If you enjoyed our Part 2 of the 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC, be sure to check our Part 3 coming up next! There is still so much more to learn!

For any questions regarding travel or event planning for Corporate Groups, contact our experts to help you out!


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC, Courtesy of Jack Harner, Sam Truong Dan and Andre Benz

16 Things NO ONE EVER Tells You About NYC [PART 1/4]

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Subway

You’ve never been to New York but now you’re days from arriving and started feeling a bit anxious about it? Well, that’s super normal, especially when we’re talking about a city like New York. So, I decided to share 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC, for the 1st timers.

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1
©Behind the Scenes 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 check out Part 1 with the first 4 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC!

Let’s start?!


#1 Yes! New York is safe!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Safety
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Ok. Let’s start from the basics. We all know how dangerous New York was back in the 80’s and 90’s when the city was hit with a huge crack epidemic and we had the famous mobs roaming around.

Most of you have probably heard of the Zero Tolerance Policy, led by Mayor Rudy Giuliani when he was elected back in 1994. There is a lot to this topic and controversial statements, but let’s keep it simple. Bottom line, crime rates were drastically reduced.

It was published in The Economist, back in 2015, that New York was the 10th safest city in the world. Then, in 2017 it showed that we had fallen 11 places, today ranking 21st. But still, it continues a pretty safe place.

That said, like every other big city, there are pickpockets, you should be careful not to roam into some neighborhoods and be careful at night. If you’re in doubt, just ask a friend or talk to your hotel’s concierge.

In addition, most of the crimes in NY, happen in late night hours, so just stay alert, but enjoy the freedom that the city can offer us today!


#2 Use the Subway!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Subway
©Behind the Scenes NYC

I’m from São Paulo, a city with over 20 million people, hence many time bigger than New York, but our subway system is very limited (even though it’s starting to super slowly improve).

But, when you have a “small” city like New York, where you can commute almost anywhere, it’s an indescribable joy! Hahaha!

It’s also a great way to feel like a true New Yorker and experience our crazy lifestyle!

The subway maps are pretty easy: most lines travel North – South and only a few East – West. You can download one of the APPs like NYC Subway or City Mapper to help you out! I’ve been here for 4 years, and still like to check on them, depending on where I’m commuting to!

Now, this is very, very, VERY important! When train arrives, always wait for e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e to come out, before you try to walk in. If you’re just randomly daydreaming and standing in front of the door when it opens, you’ll most likely be run over or called upon. Yikes! (I talk more about this on the topic below!)

Inside a crowded train try and put your backpack in front of you to make space for more people (even if you feel like a sardine in a can). If you’re sitting down, sit in a way that more people fit beside you. For the Manspreaders (men that sit with their legs widely spread out, occupying more that 1 seat), please be mindful! And please, don’t eat on the subway – it’s not a restaurant!

Another tip! Some people get so happy when all the other subway cars are full, and they walk “miraculously” into an empty one! It’s like feeling you’re the smartest one around, right? Well, New Yorkers are not stupid or blind, my dears, that’s for sure…so there’s likely something very wrong with that car. Be sure to check it out!

Oh! And girls, be sure to leave you heels at the hotel. You can use them to go out at night, when you might prefer just getting an Uber.


#3 Walk! But don’t EVER block the passage way!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Walking
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Brendan Church

YOU might be on vacation, but many people around you are probably running to work!

Sidewalks are like freeways, in New York City! No joke…! So, when you’re walking down the streets and you feel it’s THAT time, where you want to take a selfie or an Instagram picture, be sure to step aside, out of the main passage. Otherwise you might hear a very loud “EXCUUUUSEE ME!”

People say that New Yorkers are rude and I strongly disagree! They are very solicitous if you’re lost and need help but, like every other busy human late for work, they won’t enjoy daydreamers blocking the streets. You can take a look at this post we did about “31 Curious Facts About New Yorkers We Just Love“, this way, you’ll get the hang of it!

Oh! This is also true for the subway escalators and stairs! If you’re walk up or down any stairs, but especially in the subway, be sure to follow the flow on the correct side, usually, your right side. On an escalator, if you don’t want to rush up, stay to your right side too, letting people that do.

And I forgot to mention. While walking on the streets, on the busiest ones especially, don’t just suddenly turn or stop. You have to look, and “kinda signal” your next move to avoid collision.

Lastly, if you’re waiting for the light to cross the street, but there’s absolutely no cars coming, even though it’s NOT the correct thing to do, many people just cross it. I mean, just be very careful if you do that or simply step aside for anyone that wants to go head!


#4 Understanding New York’s Map

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Grid
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Ok, let’s start with first things first. Number one is maybe noticing that most streets are named through numbers, making it pretty easy to locate yourself or how to get to your destination.

The street numbers officially start at 1st Street on the East Side and 3rd Street on the West Side of Manhattan. From there, numbers go up, up, up to 220th, but that’s all the way up in Inwood, on the very North tip of Manhattan. That’s where The MET Cloisers museum is located!

From North to South, street blocks are shorter to walk through, while East to West, the blocks are significantly longer. Also East to West are only the Avenues – starting from York Avenue, through 11th Avenue (a.k.a. West End Avenue). On the very extremes, you’ll find the highways: 12th Avenue and the FRD Drive.

In between the numbered Avenues, you have some of the famous ones like Madison Avenue, Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue. Broadway also crosses the city diagonally, starting on the Upper West Side, all the way down to Battery Park.

Lastly, just for your reference, Central Park starts at 59th Street (a.k.a. Central Park South), up through 110th Street (a.k.a Central Park North), in Harlem. “The Secrets Of Central Park Walking Tour” will give you some more insights and secrets about the park!

Don’t freak out…it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Just grab a map or check Google Maps along the way, and you’ll be fine!


If you enjoyed these first 4 tips about things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC, be sure to check our Part 2!

For any questions regarding travel or event planning for Corporate Groups, contact our experts to help you out!


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and courtesy of Brendan Church

4 Unexpected Places You Can Visit In New York [NYC Secrets]

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC FDR Track 61 Waldorf Astoria Fernanda Paronetto

Although NYC is one of the busiest cities in the world, it’s also the home of countless secrets. Take a look below to see 4 unexpected places you can visit in New York!

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC FDR Track 61 Waldorf Astoria
Track 61, underneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – ©BehindTheScenesNYC

New York City, or the “Big Apple” as it is well known, is one of the busiest cities in the world. It is home to millions of people, as well as thousands of tourists who come to see the wonders and marvels of its huge economy and millions of businesses.

There’s a lot to plan when you visit New York, from deciding which attractions are absolute must-sees to getting all your tickets and travel insurance in order. (Oh! Did you know that one week in a US hospital can cost $30,000, for example? It’s definitely not something you want to forget!).

Most tourists flock to the famous sites such as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. But, the experience in these places might not be as expected because of the huge crowds taking photos, walking around or just standing there idle.

There are, however, other lesser-known places where you can go and have a better, less tourist-centric experience.

Here are 4 unexpected places you can visit in New York:


Track 61

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC FDR Track 61 Waldorf Astoria Fernanda Paronetto
Fernanda Paronetto on FRD’s subway cart, at Track 61, underneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – ©BehindTheScenesNYC

You may well not have known, but there was a secret presidential train platform deep under the Grand Central Terminal, called Track 61.

It was mostly used by the heads of state to secretly commute to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, first in the late 1930’s by the then-president General John J. Pershing, and second by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the early 1940’s.

President Roosevelt hid from the public due to his physical condition, after he contracted polio at the age of 39 and was confined to a wheelchair.

The track has since stopped being used and is mostly abandoned. As of now, it’s currently completely closed to the public and the MTA doesn’t allow anyone to visit the location. But, there is an amazing tour of the Grand Central Terminal secrets that we love and you can explore too!

Location: Underneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel


Brooklyn Heights’ Hidden Subway Ventilator

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC Brooklyn Heights Joralemon Street Fake Subway Ventilator Credit: UntappedCities by Michelle Young
Fake Subway Ventilator at Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights – ©UntappedCities by Michelle Young

Joralemon Street; number 58, the faux facade, is in the middle. – ©UntappedCities by Michelle Young

A walk through Joralemon Street, in Brooklyn Heights, might seem like nothing out of the ordinary, from the beautiful brownstones to the relaxing environment and being steps from the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

However, what is unknown to many is that 58 Joralemon Street looks exactly like the rest of the houses, but is actually a subway ventilator used as an emergency exit. (OBS: In the picture above, the fake house is the one in the middle.)

It was a residential home before being converted in the 1800’s during the subway extension from Manhattan to Brooklyn. The house is heavily guarded by the NYPD, so getting close to it might be a problem. Yikes

Location: 58 Joralemon Street


The Blockhouse

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC The Blockhouse. Credit: Central Park Conservancy
The Blockhouse in Central Park – ©Central Park Conservancy

Located in the northern part of the Central Park, right by lower Harlem, is The Blockhouse. It is said to be the second oldest thing in the park and dates back to the early 1800’s during the war with the British.

The Blockhouse was supposed to help the Americans defend themselves, but was never used, because the British never reached the city. The building is always locked, in time lost it’s wooden roof and is totally abandoned.

While visiting it, take your time to walk to the East side of the park and take a peek at other spots like: Fort Fish, Fort Clinton, Nutteere’s Battery and Charles A. Dana Discovery Center…all located around the Harlem Meer. Oh! Meer means “Lake” in Dutch!

Location: West Side at 109th Street and Central Park West.


Tribeca’s Dream House

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC Dream House. Credit: IDK Tonight
Dream House – ©IDK Tonight

Established in the early 1990’s by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, the house is secretly located in Tribeca, just off Church Street. It acts a quiet peaceful space where anybody can go, sit, take a deep breath and just relax.

The incense, sound art and light installation in the room are therapeutic and will leave you calm and fresh. The mellow looped music changes depending on your position in the room, whether you are upright or relaxing on your back.

The place is currently under La Monte Young’s foundation known as MELA and is financed by the Dia Art Foundation.

Location: 275 Church Street

www.melafoundation.org/dream02.htm


If you want to explore other unique and unexpected places you can visit in New York, be sure to go to Industry City to see what this Brooklyn neighborhood is all about or plan to visit these 5 offbeat museums in NYC.

And,  of course, continue searching out website, since NYC secret spots away from the touristy scene, are totally up ou alley!


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC, Central Park Conservancy, ©UntappedCities by Michelle Young and IDK Tonight

NYC Renting: Need-To-Know Facts In 2019

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Rent 2019 Daryan Shamkhali

If you’re considering moving to New York City, here are some need-to-know facts for 2019 about NYC Renting. We all know that rents can skyrocket, but we have some good news for you!

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Rent 2019 Jose Alonson

New York City has historically had relatively high rent, but there is good news for would-be citizens. According to the New York Times, there has been a 0.7% drop in rent prices on the average one-bedroom property. While modest, this is a welcome change to years of inflating prices.

It’s still a matter of careful planning for would-be NYC renters. With that in mind, a few changes are afoot that will change rental opportunities. Pay close attention if you’re looking to move to the Big Apple; it could save you a few dollars for the good things in life.

More inclusivity in properties

Many NYC properties are very old and, resultantly, outdated. Fortunately, many landlords are making efforts, along with city regulators, to make homes accessible. 2019 will see this fast tracked with the federal case against the MTA.

According to the New York Post, the United States Attorney sued MTA for their inaccessible subway stations and the outcome of this could have wide ranging consequences, including more housing inclusive of accessibility requirements.

Changes in tax

When you rent in New York City, make sure you know about your property tax. Homeowners can expect to pay up to 10%, according to Bloomberg. What Bloomberg also noted, however, is that the individual tax burden is reducing.

As years progress, you can expect the tax bill to be less cumbersome as other counties pick up the slack. This means that your overall rental outgoings may be lower in the next few years, especially when considered with the ongoing trend concerning landlords.

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Rent 2019 Daryan Shamkhali

Landlords are settling down

Whether it’s because of the political climate, or some other source of uncertainty, landlords are staying put. According to CNN Money, more and more landlords are aggressively pursuing rent negotiation, rather than simply putting prices up and letting the tenants make a choice.

This is a nod towards more stability, as a renter. You can expect that, if you look after your property and have good behavior, that your rent will reduce over the years. You will also benefit from a continued relationship with the landlord, which is advantageous for the likes of maintenance and security.

Renting in New York City can still be expensive, but it matches the high average income in the area. Making the most out of your rental will be easier in years to come, through enhanced levels of accessibility, lowered levels of tax returns and more consistent landlords.

Keep yourself aware of these trends and work around them to get your feet in the door in the grand old city.


Guest Writer: Cindy Trillo
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jose Alonso and Daryan Shamkhali

Immersing Yourself in the Rich History of Greenwich Village

Curiosities City Secrets Greenwich Village 1900 Wiki Commons

Among New York City’s many fascinating sites, Greenwich Village is arguably the most storied. Come immerse yourself in the rich history of Greenwich Village!

Curiosities City Secrets Greenwich Village Sixth Avenue Wiki Commons
Greenwich Village’s Sixth Avenue. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia

Among New York City’s many fascinating sites, Greenwich Village is arguably the most storied. Albeit usually remembered as a haven for artists, its historic roots actually run deeper. Before it was anything else, Greenwich Village in the 1630’s was a marshland where Dutch settlers fed their livestock. It was initially developed into a village separate from New York City.

Curiosities City Secrets Greenwich Village 1900 Wiki Commons
Greenwich Village, 1900. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia

But as the urban sprawl consumed the area, Greenwich Village took on a new identity in 1857 at the founding of the Tenth Street Studio Building. It housed the first architecture school in the US and attracted artists from all over the world.

It was also the place where the so-called “bohemian” movement began, a subculture which was described in an 1858 article on The New York Times as “either an artist or an author, whose special aversion is work, and whose ambition is to excel in some particular walk.” The Village’s affinity to bohemians of all sorts has since defined its identity.

Curiosities City Secrets The Albert Hotel Wiki Commons
The Albert Hotel. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia

Decades later, the Hotel Albert opened in 1880 and attracted the best artists and writers of that particular time. A long list of creative people stayed here including Mark Twain, Anais Nin, Walt Whitman, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock.

In addition, the Village also saw the birth of American experimental theater pushed by Eugene O’Neil and Edna St. Vincent Millay, and it was integral in the transition of the global art capital from Paris to New York in the mid-20th century.

Various American art movements including Abstract Expressionism, emerged out of the Village.

Curiosities City Secrets Stonewall Inn NY 2008 Wiki Commons
The Stonewall Inn. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia

The Village has significant contributions to music and self-expression, too. It’s the place where the first desegregated nightclub in the country, Cafe Society, was built. The venue dedicated itself to the cutting-edge music of its time, bebop jazz. Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and other jazz giants graced it with their presence during its heyday.

The ferocious sound of bebop also lured the Beat Generation artists to the Village, with writers Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and others gaining the literary spotlight. In the 1960s, the Beats became an inspiration for different forms of counterculture. The progressive ideas of the Beats and the hippies informed the eventual rise of the LGBT movement and other civil rights groups. The LGBT movement found expression in the 1969 Stonewall Riot, which also happened in Greenwich Village.

Curiosities City Secrets Grace Church from the North
Grace Church. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Grace Church

Popular structures such as Grace Church and the Jefferson Market Library tower over the Village as reminders of the place’s creative tradition.

Another structure, The Westbeth, which was a former Bell Telephone Labs office, also became a popular residence for artists. It eventually housed the studios of choreographer Merce Cunningham, musical arranger Gil Evans, Robert De Niro Sr., and Vin Diesel.

Curiosities City Secrets Jefferson Market Library Greenwich Village NY Wiki Commons
Jefferson Market Library. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia

While the Greenwich Village of today has none of the rustic and bohemian charm of its past, it remains one of the most renowned places in New York, thanks to the preservation of its iconic buildings.

Greenwich Village’s longevity can be attributed mainly to local laws that help maintain its historic buildings.

In fact, a section of the Village made up of more than 50 blocks has been established as part of a Historic District, thanks to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Development in this area follows very strict rules, such as the requirement to preserve a historic building’s main facade if it is to be renovated.

NYC also implements Local Law 11, which indirectly contributes to the Village’s preservation. Local Law 11 is explained by real estate expert James McGrath in an article on Yoreevo. He states that the law mandates regular facade inspections of buildings higher than six stories to ensure their structural integrity. Although it’s primary purpose is for safety, the law also helps ensure that old buildings in the city are maintained. The excellent condition of most structures in Greenwich Village is a good example of how a bustling metropolis should take care of its historic buildings.

Just knowing the history of Greenwich Village and the people who have called it home are enough reasons to give this neighborhood a visit. To explore other interesting places in the Big Apple, check out our previous post about Astoria, a commercial neighborhood in Queens.


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia

Day 2: Siemens NYC’s Hidden Technology – A Behind the Scenes Tour

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Retractable Ceiling

This was Day 2 with Siemens USA! We visited some of New York City’s major attractions to understand how Siemens actually helped build our beautiful city! So, tag along with me to explore what happened during the “Siemens NYC’s Hidden Technology – A Behind the Scenes Tour”!

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Retractable Ceiling

As you’ve probably noticed, after reading our Day 1 experience with Siemens, I had a fantastic time! I always say that I’m not only extremely curious to learn historical facts about NYC, but I think it’s extremely amusing to understand how this amazing city operates and functions.

Siemens’ technology is literally scattered throughout the city of New York in places and world-famous landmark: from the Statue of Liberty, the subway system, the Amtrak and the beautiful World Trade Center Memorial Fountains, to the retractable ceilings at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the impeccable acoustics of Carnegie Hall and even, hidden within the top breweries in Brooklyn. The purpose? To make your NYC days eternally memorable and seamless experiences.

That said, let me start telling you about our Day 2 at Siemens “New York City’s Hidden Technology – A Behind the Scenes Tour”. If you thought that yesterday was cool, take a look below at where we went this time!

After a very early breakfast, starting at 7am at a hotel in FiDi, where me met the entire group, we hopped on the bus and headed to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, better known as the home of the US Open Tennis Championships that is actually happening now!


9am – USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

I’m a huge tennis fan and even played when I was younger for a couple of years.

If you follow tennis, you’ve probably seen how many matches have been cancelled or delayed during the years, due to bad weather, right? Such a bummer!

Not only is this a hassle if you’re there watching and enjoying the match, but specially for the athletes that end up cooling down and getting distracted, to then have to go back to court.

The Arthur Ashe Stadium is the largest tennis stadium in the world, with retractable ceilings that have ended the bad weather problems.

Siemens worked with Morgan Automation Systems, part of the Morgan Engineering family of companies, a world leader in automation of extreme large mechanization projects, to make this project become a breathtaking reality!

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Retractable Ceiling
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Mark Sharamitaro
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Screen
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Monitoring
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Heat Sensors
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Control Room
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Inside
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I listed some of the most curious facts that you should know about it, and that I thought were particularly interesting:

  • This ceiling is the largest structure in the world, over a tennis court, installed just earlier this year
  • The retractable ceilings are controlled and powered by Siemens
  • Each half of the roof weighs around 1 million pounds
  • The roof has 250ft long, each one being 125ft
  • It moves at approximately 25ft / minute. It opens within approximately 6 minutes 10 seconds and closes in approximately 5 minutes, 35 seconds. Why does it close faster? Well, when a storm suddenly pops in, they have to be quick to preserve a dry court, so the game continues.
  • Everything happens through the push of 1 single touchscreen button
  • It has the power to resist winds that reach 125mi/h
  • There is a team that is exclusively monitoring and controlling the air temperature and moisture
  • They have to be careful for not 1 single drop to fall on court
  • The Stadium is regulated to have the same temperature as the outside weather, so every player is performing under the same conditions
  • The stadium is used only 3 weeks during the entire year, with 4 yearly maintenances

 Now, understand the Siemens cutting-edge automation technologies onsite:

  • The ceiling is powered and controlled by Siemens’ Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
  • The S120 Safety System is totally integrated
  • Easy to use with access comfort panels
  • These industrial equipment and systems can be seen not only in factories, but also throughout the entertainment world like: Cirque du Soleil stages, rides at Walt Disney World parks, shows in Las Vegas, the Orlando Eye 400-foot observation ferris wheel, and even Broadway shows.

12pm – Other Half Brewery

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Other Half Brewery Tasting
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Other Half Brewery Tanks
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Other Half Brewery Packaging
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Other Half Brewery
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It’s amazing how Siemens is literally spread throughout New York! What do I mean? Well, we had lunch and a great beer tasting experience at a brewery in Brooklyn called Other Half.

The place is amazing and the aroma of their beer is all over as soon as you walk in! They incentivize people to do the tour and learn about the entire brewing process.

In the case of breweries, Siemens’ technology is seen through different components that are inside other equipment. Their tech ranges from increasing efficiency in the overall process, to controlled bottling process and modeling & managing the complete workflow.

They have a few other breweries in Brooklyn using their systems, as well as most of the Coronas you’ll drink in the US! Cool right?


3pm – LO3 Energy

It’s literally hard to point out the highlight of these 2 amazing days, but I can say that LO3 was certainly a different experience.

What is LO3 Energy?  Well, they’re a pioneering blockchain startup that is changing the way we think about our electricity and how it works. Plus, we are seeing more and more, the importance of having our own data protected and encrypted, and with their program, by creating and applying a token, it creates a business model that gives value to data, so can buy a key to unlock and also secure your data while directly managing the purchase of power.

In addition, it’s also great to see that the big shark companies like Google and Facebook are also now going 100% renewable, with wind and solar tiles.

People are literally starting to care about energy!

Where does Siemens come in? LO3 Energy is working with Siemens Digital Grid and Siemens’ startup financier next47, on the Brooklyn Microgrid project.

“In an energy market that is becoming increasingly distributed – whether based on wind, sun, water or biomass – intelligent grids are becoming increasingly important. Siemens microgrid technology is helping communities pioneer the movement toward a self-sufficient energy future.” (Siemens)

But wait! What is a microgrid? The correct, dictionary definition is: “a small network of electricity users with a local source of supply that is usually attached to a centralized national grid but is able to function independently.”

The purpose of a grid is to balance electricity: not too much, not too little.

The idea is for a community to be able to produce, consume and purchase power from within their own community. And, the cool thing is that people will be able to consume from a distributed energy supply system that draws on renewable-generated sources for a more resilient, customer-driven economy.

Being able to choose where to buy your energy from and be sustainable is now a reality!

You can also read more about them.


And, this wrapped up these 2 amazing and truly surprising days that we explored New York through different lens.

It was extremely interesting to see and understand a bit of how the engine works “behind the scenes” to make our New York City function so properly and seamlessly, giving us locals – and also visitors – a priceless, memorable experience!

I can’t wait to see more about how Siemens technology is impacting our lives, without us even knowing!

Thank you Siemens, once again, for this breathtaking experience with endless interesting information!


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