New York City is a place full of secrets and with some the most intriguing hidden stories in the world. The more we learn, the more curious we become! Here are 10 top secrets of New York City that you probably don’t know!
We just love exploring the city and all the hidden secrets that are super well-kept! Many of these have been shared before, but every time we tell a friend about them, they always reply: “Wow! I never knew about that!”.
Well, this made us think that, even though many of these places have been shared before, there is still a whole bunch of people that still have never heard about them. So, we decided to share the 10 top secrets of New York City that we think are the coolest ones!
Check them out below:
#1 Pomander Walk
The Pomander Walk was built back in the early 1920’s, specifically in year of 1921. It was built as an homage to the famous English romantic comedy that has the same name. It was written by Louis N. Parker and was famous back then, in London.
It’s located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, between Broadway and West End Avenue.
Several famous names are known for having been residents there. Names like Humphrey Bogart, Rosalind Russel, and Lilian Gish. Unfortunately you can’t walk inside this special street anymore. They have closed the entrance and you’re only allowed in if you have a key, or if any of the residents there invites you in.
Nonetheless, you can still peek through the gate and get a slight view of this little Manhattan haven.
Location: 265 West 94th Street
#2 Tunnel below Columbia University’s Morningside Campus
Back in the beginning of the 1900’s, this tunnel was a passage way to and from the Bloomingdale’s Insane Asylum. It ran from 1821–1889, when it was renamed to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester and relocated to White Planes.
Then, it served as a meeting place for scientists during the beginning states of the famous Manhattan Project. From there, the 1st nuclear weapons were created.
Today, they are the tunnel right below Columbia University’s Morningside campus. This curious network of underground tunnels connects several school building.
A few tunnels are still open to faculty and students to pass between buildings, but most are closed down for safety purposes. Some of them are located under the Buell Hall and the Pupin Hall.
Spooky, hidden, but amazing!
Oh! You must be questioning about this naked girl on the picture! Well, that’s the super brave and bold, Miru Kim! Yup! She accesses some insane out of bound spots, and shoots..naked!
Location: 3022 Broadway
#3 Hidden bomb shelter in the Brooklyn Bridge
Discovered in 2006, this hidden bomb shelter in the Brooklyn Bridge, was one of the most amazing discoveries of the city. At least, in our humble opinion!
When it was found, they saw it was fully stocked with basic life necessities, in case of a nuclear attack. Everything from water supplies and medicine, to thousands of cracker boxes and blankets. These boxes were ink-stamped with the dates of 1957 – launch of the Sputnik satellite, and 1962 – the Cuban missile crisis.
That’s not the only secret space inside the belly of the bridge. Located within its base, a series of vast rooms known as the Brooklyn Anchorage were used for music and theater performances, readings and art exhibitions for nearly 20 years.
We would have loved going there for any of these gatherings!
Location: No need for it, right?
#4 Staten Island Boat Graveyard
Have you ever heard of a boat graveyard? Sounds interesting, right? In the past, the Staten Island Boat Graveyard housed a collection of over 400 decomposing and rusting steam vessels, warships, ferries and fireboats. Today, there are only a remaining 20-40 wrecks spread through out the place.
Furthermore, the graveyard was originally called Witte Marine Scrap Yard or Arthur Kill Boat Yard. In time, it earned the reputation of “a mecca for artists and photographers”.
Go to this spooky place while you can! It’s definitely worth it!
Location: Rossville, Staten Island
#5 New York Marble Cemetery
The New York Marble Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in NYC and dates back to 1831. We believe that today it might probably be one of the hardest burial grounds to find in New York City. Maybe, that’s why we love it so much!
Located in the East Village, right behind the Bowery Hotel, the cemetery gate can be found at the end of a narrow alley leading from 2nd Avenue. By the way, this gate is beautifully designed and worth the attention!
The cemetery is marked by plaques instead of tombstones. In addition, it can be visited for only a few hours on the 4th Sunday of each month, and during the months of April through October.
Location: 41 1/2 2nd Avenue
#6 Berlin Wall Remnants in Paley Park
The Berlin Wall Remnants in Paley Park is found inside a small Midtown plaza. It’s right at 520 Madison Avenue, and most of the time is unnoticed by the passersby.
I mean, New Yorkers are always in a rush, and passing straight by this monumental wall. So, it’s not a surprise people don’t even notice it.
The West side of this amazing piece of history is the work of German artists Kiddy Citny and Thierry Noir. It was put on display in 1990. On the other hand, the East side is pure concrete. It is meant to remember the oppressive political regimes of East Germany, back in the days.
Pretty cool, right?
Location: 520 Madison Avenue
#7 Rockefeller Center 620 Loft & Gardens
Ah! We love hidden gardens, specially if they’re located high up, up, up in the sky!
The Rockefeller Center 620 Loft & Gardens is secluded, and therefore, made invisible, a few hundred feet above the ground.
The garden was designed by Ralph Hancock, an English landscaper born in 1893. It came to life during the early/mid 1930’s and only three of the five gardens are able to be seen today.
So, be sure to head to the top of 610 and 620 Fifth Avenue!
The Rockefeller Center Channel Gardens are the ones on the ground floor, which people can walk by and photograph!
Location: 45 Rockefeller Plaza
#8 Whispering Gallery in Grand Central Terminal
The Whispering Gallery inside the Grand Central Terminal is located in front of the Oyster Bar & Restaurant.
Just a quick history: The Grand Central Terminal was build in 1913 and is the world’s largest train station. Plus, it’s definitely one of the most famous landmarks, being featured in countless movies.
This arch possesses a mystifying acoustic property. When two people stand at diagonal arches and whisper, they are able to hear each other’s voices. It seams to be “telegraphed” from across the 2,000 sqft chamber.
It is certainly a unique experience!
But the question still remains: “Was it constructed with the intention of producing the acoustic effect, or was it only an architectural mistake?”
It you are interested in exploring more the Grand Central Terminal, take a look at this secret tour.
Location: 87 East 42nd Street
#9 Underbelly Project
This is maybe our top favorite NYC secret! It’s probably because we not only love graffiti art, but also because it lives several meters underground, in mysterious and secluded subway stations!
Underbelly Project: Street Art Way Below the Street unites the intriguing work of 103 street artists from around the world.
But, collectors can’t buy the art. People can’t really see it, since it’s been done illegally, in an old long-abandoned subway station.
“Though rumors have circulated that the station is above the G train’s Broadway stop in Williamsburg, don’t try to see for yourself — not only is it dark and dangerous, but it is also illegal. Plus, there have been at least 20 arrests of trespassers trying to visit the space.” ~ Erin O’Hara
#10 Hidden Subway Station Beneath City Hall
Last spot part of our 10 Top Secrets Of New York City is another hidden subway!
This hidden subway station beneath City Hall is way deep in the belly of New York’s subway system. It’s a beautiful untouched station that has been forgotten for years. Today, only a limited few lucky ones know of its existence.
It opened in 1904 and remained open through December 31st of 1945. Some people explain that “it sounds like something straight out of Harry Potter”. What? Wait! We LOVE Harry Potter!
So, to see this amazing spot, just stay inside the 6 train that is headed to the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Station. When you reach the last station, don’t get off!
If you stay inside the train, it makes a turnaround – and that’s where the magic happens. Then, from inside the train you’ll be able to see this beautiful location with an amazing architecture. It has some gorgeous Roman bricks, tiled vaults, arches, stained glass and brass chandeliers.
Certainly a spot not to be missed! If you’re not sure how to do this, come with us to our Underground New York Subway Tour.
Location: Brooklyn Bridge City Hall Station
If you enjoyed these 10 top secrets of New York City, but is now curious to learn more, contact our exerts! We have some very cool tours to share with you. In addition, we work with customized concierge and corporate tours too!
So, come explore a little of this secret part of New York that just a hand full of people know about! Plus, you’ll certainly have some Instagram-worthy shots!!!
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Sonja Stark, Miru Kim, Reuters, Gordon Donovan/Cater News, Naked Apartments, Staycay.net, Katherine Lorimer (featured image) and courtesy of the locations.
*Last Update on March/2020.*