Tag Archives: History

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 and Jazz 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
*Last Update on March/2020.*

1st Cheap NYC Guide: 40+ Top Attractions

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Central Park The Pond

Our 1st cheap NYC guide features 40+ top attractions that you must-see! Touristy or not, these are the classics spots that have changed New York’s history. Come explore New York with us!

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Central Park The Lake San Remo
The Lake and The San Remo towers at Central Park © Behind the Scenes NYC

I have been living in NYC for more than two years now and considering that I always have friends and family visiting me, I’ve created my own touristic route to take them through the most iconic highlights of the city.

They are entertaining, fun and best of all, CHEAP routes that I want to share with you.

First Route: From Central Park down to Union Square

Before I start, it is necessary to give you some tips. First, NYC food stores and restaurants are not required to offer restroom services, so I have included this item in my tour routes. Second, you can access the WIFI networks in all subway stations, NYC Parks and Starbucks for free (which also have restrooms. YAY!).

Finally, if you like something you want to buy and you can afford it, just BUY IT. You probably won’t have time to go back or even remember where you saw that precious item.

I recommend you start with this route, since it’ll give you a broad view of the city and Midtown. The first day is always the most intense day of all. Or, at least it’s what I tell my friends to give them the illusion they won’t walk “that much” for the rest of the trip. By the way it’s a total lie. Hahaha!

Central Park & Plaza Hotel

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Central Park The Pond
The Pond at Central Park © Behind the Scenes NYC

This route starts at Central Park, on the corner of 5th Ave and 59th Street. Here you can access one of the most iconic areas of Central Park featured in several movies like Home Alone 2 or Enchanted. You will see the amazing contrast between nature and the city, giving you incredible pictures at The Pond and the famous Gapstow Bridge. If you’re lucky, you can even take a picture of the most famous bachelor of NYC today: the gorgeous Mandarin Duck who is living at The Pond! Also, close to this area you can walk around the Hallett Nature Sanctuary (be aware of the Raccoons that lives in a tree there), skate at the Wollmann Rink Ice and visit the Central Park Zoo.

For those that have more time to spend around Central Park, walk up to The Lake, to cross another famous bridge – Bow Bridge. Be sure to snap a picture with The San Remo towers at the back! You might also want to get a row boat at The Loeb Boathouse.

Now, if you are in a hurry, just walk around and keep going down 5th Avenue, heading South (downtown direction). How do you know you’re heading South if you’re in the middle of the 5th Avenue? Cars are moving South too, so just follow the flow!

*Restroom Spot: go inside the beautiful Plaza Hotel and down to the food court located at -1 level. They have restrooms you can use at the end of the left alley.

5th Avenue, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral & Rockefeller Center

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock © Behind the Scenes NYC

Between 59th Street and 42nd Street, when you walk through 5th Avenue, you’ll find the biggest and most fashionable stores in NYC. Be sure to check the 4th floor of Victoria Secret’s store, where you can see a small exhibit of the costumes used at their world-famous shows. Walk into the Neo-Gothic Saint Patrick’s Cathedral dating back to 187 and, of course, the Rockefeller Center. If by this time you are getting a little hungry, pass by the Lindt Chocolate, on 5th Avenue store where they will always welcome you with a delicious chocolate truffle. And La Maison du Chocolate at the on 49th also offers tastings. Yum!

If you are coming to New York for the Christmas holiday season, don’t forget to take pictures of the Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller and enjoy the Saks’ light show every night starting at 5pm to 11pm. It happens every 10 minutes. These shows gets really crowed, so try to come early to see it all. If you have time and have to pick one of the buildings to walk up – Empire State Building or Top of the Rock, go up the latter. It will give you the best 360º view of downtown, stretching to our Lady Liberty, and also Central Park. Plus, lines are much shorter compared to the Empire State.

Bryant Park & Food

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Bryant Park
Bryant Park © Behind the Scenes NYC

By the time you hit 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, I can guarantee you’ll be quite hungry. What I usually do is turn right at 42nd Street and walk to 6th Avenue to grab some food inside Whole Foods. They have a delicious food buffet with tons of vegetarian, vegan and organic food, if you enjoy, besides other options too. And, the best part is that they have a sitting area, where you can eat and admire Bryant Park. If the weather allows, I recommend you enjoy your lunch at Bryant Park, where they have several tables and chairs available. It might be a bit hard to find a spot during the warmer months though…

Now, during the winter season, you can also visit Winter Wonderland Village at the park that offers over 150 stores, surrounding the Ice Skating Rink. Skating and lockers are free if you own your skates and have a padlock, but you will have to pay if you need to rent skates, want to check bags, or need to buy a lock for your locker. By the way, this is the cheapest place to skate in the city, if you want to experience it.

*Restroom Spot: the Le Pain Quotidien, by Bryant Park is an easy spot to.

New York Public Library

When you’re done, head back to 5th Avenue and visit the New York Public Library (NYPL). They offer free guided tours at 11a and 2pm, Monday through Saturdays, and at 2pm on Sundays. Tours are available on a first come basis and are limited to 25 people, so try to be there early. It’s definitely a place to spend some time in and, of course, don’t forget to pass by the famous reading room.

It was renovated a while back and is stunning. Do remember be absolutely silent in there! Oh! The Public Library was featured in the Sex and the City movie, when Big left Carrie practically at the alter, remember?

*Restroom Spot: the Public Library has several restrooms in almost every floor.

Grand Central Terminal & Its Secrets

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Grande Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal © Behind the Scenes NYC

The next stop is Grand Central Terminal. To get there, just walk two blocks East on 42nd Street and you’ll find it. Atop the Grand Central Terminal is the world’s largest Tiffany Clock and the iron eagles. The best shots from the outside is on the corner of at 42nd Street and Park Avenue. When you walk inside the terminal, look for the Main Concourse where another Tiffany Clock is located right at the middle.

Take time to look straight up and admire the massive painting of the constellations on the ceiling and try to find a small, dark patch of brick next to Cancer, the crab. This brick reveals what the terminal’s ceiling looked like before it was cleaned during the restoration project in 1998. Yup, this place was the former home of homeless people and was even dangerous to walk in. Can you imagine?

Nestled between the Main Concourse and the Vanderbilt Hall is an acoustical architectural anomaly called Whispering Gallery. Here, sound is thrown clear across the 2,000-square-foot chamber, “telegraphing” across the surface of the vault and landing in faraway corners. Feel free to try it out!

*Restroom Spot: Grand Central Terminal also has restrooms located at the food court, on the -1 level.

Again, walk back to 5th Avenue and keep walking downtown. Between 33rd and 34th Streets you will spot the Empire State Building. To get the perfect picture of the building, I recommend to walk to 28th St x 5th Avenue. In addition, close by at 32nd Street, you will hit Koreatown. There are great places offering delicious food like Jongro BBQ, karaoke spots and countless beauty stores.

Flatiron District & Food

When you arrive at 26th Street, you’ll walk into the Flatiron District by Madison Square Park. Here, for the best picture of the complete Flatiron Building, go to the intersection of 5th Avenue and Broadway – right in front of the sculpture placed in the middle. It’s the General William Jenkins Worth Monument.

Walk into Eataly to visit! It’s the most famous Italian market in the city that offers several restaurants and all sort of food to buy. Its deliciously beautiful. If you’re not hungry, you can just order some appetizers and a glass of wine at an area with bar tables. There aren’t even stools there, since people are in an out pretty quickly.

* Restroom Spot: Eataly has restrooms next to the fresh pasta section.

On the other hand, if you are hungry already but don’t want to spend tons of money, try a traditional NYC hamburger at Shake Shack, located in the middle of Madison Square Park. They have vegetarian options that are pretty good too!

Down Through Broadway & Union Square

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Union Square
Union Square © Behind the Scenes NYC

Once again, keep walking downtown, but this time let’s change and take Broadway instead of 5th Avenue. Broadway is the only avenue that crosses the entire city from West to East. By the time you hit 17th Street, you will be close to our final destination for the day: Union Square!

Here you can enjoy a year-round Farmer Market every Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday, between 8am – 6pm. If you do intend in going there to shop, head there early morning, since vendors sometimes leave, once they have sold out).

Around this area you can find several stores and lots of restrooms: Whole foods, Burlington, Best Buy and Starbucks to name a few. If you are traveling on a budget, but still want to buy clothing and shoes, I recommend you go to Burlington and DWS located in 14th Street. They have great deals with amazing brands.

To finish the day with another food spot for a quick bite, try Maoz Vegetarian, serving Middle Eastern vegetarian food, with some of the best falafels in town!

So, our 1st Route has come to an end. And, believe or not, you have walked around 13km, or 8miles. Not bad for your first day, right!?

If you enjoyed the 1st cheap NYC guide featuring 40+ top attractions in the city, stay tuned for next week! I will share my 2nd Cheap NYC Guide starting at Union Square and ending at Chinatown. Oh, and take a look at 10 Top Secrets about New York too!

See you then!


Text Credit: Written by our contributor Magdalena S. Concha
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Lower East Side: Tenements, Tales and Tastes Tour

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Tenements Tales and Tastes Fruits

New York is known for its fantastic variety of cuisines from all over the globe. Plus, we know that there are certain iconic foods that you really have to try, when coming here! Explore with us the Tenements, Tales and Tastes Tour that will take you on a delicious journey around the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

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When people come to New York, not many know that all these delicious dishes and snacks were actually brought to New York by immigrates years and years ago. And, it definitely helped shape the diverse American food culture found in NYC! We are certainly huge fans!

As you already know, we are all about going where locals go, eating where true New Yorkers eat, uncover spots far away from the touristy scene! If you enjoy this type of experience too, then this tour was catered perfectly for you!

The Lower East Side of Manhattan has a fantastic history and countless stories of the immigrants that settled there. The neighborhood grew a lot, but you can easily find it’s origins.

You’ll enjoy the story of the millions of immigrants and taste several delicious dishes like pretzels, dumplings, potato knishes, waffles, homemade cheeses and even beer, of the many groups that have lived there.

Learning their origin in a fun, tasty way, is totally up our alley and is exactly what you can expect at the Tenements, Tales and Tastes Tour.

BOOK NOW!

Plus, you’ll also walk the narrow, tenement lined, streets of an area known by names like Kleindeutschland, Chinatown, and Losaida.

Whether they were Dutch, Jewish, or Chinese you’ll learn about and taste something from every group that has called the neighborhood home and you’ll leave happy and full!

So, come enjoy with us and have some delicious food throughout this experience!

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Discover NYC from a local perspective, with a local guide by your side
  • Visit bustling markets and sample the tasty treats on offer
  • Stroll through New York’s unique cultural historic sites in the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Little Italy.
  • Get a glimpse into New York’s immigrant heritage and how it is shaping the city today

TOUR DETAILS:

  • Price: $69 / person – includes food & guide
  • Duration: About 3 hours
  • Meeting Point: The fountain in City Hall Park
  • Schedule: Every day at 10am
  • Advanced purchase required

BOOK NOW!

OTHER INFO:

  • Dress standard: Summers can be hot and humid, autumn can be cool, and winters downright frigid with snow. Dress according to the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes
  • Exclusions: Items of a personal nature, tips and gratuities for your guide (highly appreciated, tks!)
  • Your Trip: The tour is offered on a “join in” basis.  Maximum group size is 12.
  • Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We’ll see you at the start point.  Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
  • Child Policy: This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page.

In addition, if you enjoyed the Tenements, Tales and Tastes Tour in the Lower East Side, but you’d like to book a tour for a private group, please submit a request. Furthermore, for corporate requests, let our experts help you out.

Don’t forget to explore all our other Tours & Experiences too!


Photo Credit: Courtesy of our partner
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

Brooklyn Bridge: Story And Secrets Behind This Massive Landmark

Curiosities City Secrets Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge has an amazing story and secrets worth telling! The secrets behind this massive NY landmark are very interesting and some, even a bit hilarious!

Curiosities City Secrets Brooklyn Bridge

This is probably one of the three top touristy spots in New York City! We know…not “behind the scenes” at all but, then again, some attractions are just impossible to ignore.

We are completely in love with this Bridge! When we commute into Manhattan through the Q Line in the morning, that goes over the Manhattan Bridge, it’s usually the highlight of the trip! We are able to see the entire Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan’s skyline. Plus, at the very back, the State of liberty.

Yes! A perfect way to start the morning and to remember “Why” we once decided to live here! It just feels…perfect.

Any way, lets getting back on track! Let’s talk about the story and secrets behind this massive landmark in New York.

The Brooklyn Bridge was opened to the public on May 24, 1883 and connects Manhattan to Brooklyn, passing over the East River. Back then, it was a separate city from New York, and only in 1898 it was formally merged and New York City started growing into the different Boroughs.

It’s hard to even guess how many years to took, back in the late 1800’s to build it right? Well, it was a total of 14 years.

Over 600 workers were hired to be part of this massive construction and it costed a total of $15 million. Today, if we convert this cost to, it adds up to $320 million! It’s a lot of money, right?

The engineers and architects responsible for this landmark are John A. Roebling, his son, Washington Roebling and David B. Steinman.

John A. Roebling was a pioneer and a fantastic German engineer specialized in suspension bridges back in those days.

Unfortunately, Roebling had a fatal work injury and died of tetanus. His son, Washington Roebling, took over the project.

The entire process was quite challenging for the time. Specially regarding the air tubes that took workers deep under water. When then resurfaced (probably too quickly), their bodies had severe pains, many irreparable damages and sometimes, even death. Washington himself had a lifetime partial paralysis due to this process.

Today, it’s calculated that more than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge every single day.

Here are also a few secrets facts of the Brooklyn Bridge:

1. In 2006, a Fallout Shelter was discovered inside the masonry of the bridge, most likely created during the Cold War. They found an infinite number of paper blankets, water drums, lots of medical supplies and even canned food.

2. John A. Roebling made a conceptualization of a shopping arcade. It never came to life, but became a storage for several years and, in the beginning of the 2000’s, it was closed down due to security reasons.

3. To help counteract the costs of the bridge, a wine cellar was created inside the bridge and was rented out to store products at a stable temperature.

4. This is actually a bit funny. George C. Parker is 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. It’s said that he even negotiated and sold the Statue of Liberty and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET). Ha!

5. The was a terrible and fatal day where a few dozen people died due to a bluff that the bridge was going to collapse. This was only 6 days after its opening – a disaster, for sure. Due to this, a while later, it is know that the showman P.T. Barnum organized the crossover of 21 elephants, to secure the population that the bridge was safe. This was, in essence, to promote the coming of his new circus. Smart guy.


In addition, after crossing the bridge, you can take some time and explore the area close by!

So, you can start by simply heading down below the bridge to the  Brooklyn Bridge Park. There are great food vendors, a stunning skyline view of Manhattan, Jane’s Carousel is for all ages, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is a great pitstop.

As we said, yes, it is quite touristy. But, nonetheless, it’s definitely worth checking off your list! We still love crossing it sometimes, despite the touristy mess.

If you want to cross, but you’re interested in booking a tour guide telling you more in depth details of the se stories above, or even, if you want to cross biking, contact our experts to arrange it for you. It’s also a great activity to do with Corporate groups.


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

Cortland Alley, In Tribeca: An Alley That Dates Back To 1817

Curiosities City Secrets Cortland Alley TriBeCa by Jason Homa

Cortland Alley dates back to 1817 and has had several lives. Today it is a walk through time, located at the tip of Tribeca in Manhattan.

Curiosities City Secrets Cortland Alley TriBeCa by Jason Homa
Photo Credit: Jason Homa

Cortland Alley is located on the West tip of Tribeca, almost bordering the neighborhood of Chinatown. Actually, some people may disagree, since Google Maps actually shows it’s in the last block on the East tip of Chinatown.

Well, regardless of this, the story today is different.

See what our friend, Jason Homa has to say about it’s history!


“It is one of the last true gritty alleys, particularly in an otherwise beautified Tribeca.

It feels like the New York City of the 1970’s or 1980’s. Loading docks falling apart, rusted metal shutters, a feeling of abandonment and graffiti best describe this three block stretch.

Tribeca is revered for its former warehouses turned residential and lofty living spaces.

Most of these buildings still feel like warehouses or manufacturing business that won’t give in.

But, that is certainly starting to change as evidenced by luxury developments like Six Cortland Alley, which does preserve the exterior of a building dating back to 1857.

I found the modern business person in an otherwise dank alley to be a sure sign of things to come.”


Take a look to see where exactly this alley is located!

In addition, if you search google, or even hashtags on Instagram, you’ll find out that may of the pictures taken by famous bloggers are in this Alley! So, be sure to pass by it to experience some time.

It’s definitely worth the time!

Lastly, if you are looking for a customized tours and experiences of the city or any other Borough, far away from touristy spots, contact our experts so they can tell a bit more about how they can help!

For Corporate tours and requests, we have worked with big groups of executives from the largest multinational companies across the globe. So, see what we can do for your team, or your clients.


Photo and Text Excerpts: Jason Homa
*Last Update on March/2020.*

8 Disappearing Districts And Neighborhoods By Untapped Cities

Curiosities City Secrets Garment District Bettmann Corbis Workday

See what our friends from Untapped New York have to say about the 8 Disappearing Districts and Neighborhoods of NYC!

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Our friends from Untapped New York posted a great article about the disappearing districts and neighborhoods in NYC!  Since we love to learn about the city’s history, we want to share the great work they’ve done!

Plus, maybe if we write about them here too, we are able to keep their story and their tradition alive!

Read the full post at Untapped New York’s website and breathtaking nostalgic pictures!!!


1) Music Row was located on 48th Street between 6th & 7th Avenue. If you were a musician in New York City, this area was the place to go. Whether it was rock & roll, R&B, punk, classical, jazz or whatever, this once thriving block was a one stop shopping for any instrument, sheet music and instrument repair.

2) The Meatpacking District, located west of 9th Avenue and south of 14th Street, once housed 250 slaughterhouses and packing plants. By 1930 it produced the third largest volume of dressed meats in the country.

3) Bookseller’s or Book Row was an area of used book stores located on 4th Avenue from 8th Street to 14th Street that had 48 bookstores. This mecca for second hand books started in the 1890’s and lasted until the late 1960’s.

4) The Flower District is located on 28th Street between 6th & 7th Avenue. This area became a magnet for flower and plant businesses likely due to its proximity to Midtown, Madison Square Garden and Macy’s, all a driving force behind recent low cost hotel development.

…and still:

5) The Kitchen Restaurant Supply District is located on the Bowery between Houston and Canal. The Bowery is the oldest thoroughfare in Manhattan and was once one of New York’s most elegant streets.

6) Shoe Row was an area of 8th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues that housed many mom and pop shoe stores. This was a bonafide footwear destination with over two dozen shoe stores mostly catering to the younger clientele that began to take off in the 1980’s.

7) The Garment District occupies one square mile between 35th & 40th Street west of 5th Avenue. New York is known as one of the world’s fashion capitals, so it makes sense that it has a vibrant Garment Center.

8) The Fulton Fish Market was one of the largest wholesale fish markets on the east coast. Started in 1822, at South Street, fish were delivered by boat right to the market from the East River.


It kills us to know that so much of New York City’s historical spots and facts are dying. We are part of the group of people that have as one of the goals, to keep it all alive!

The stories are endless, the details are breathtaking, the facts are infinite! Let’s spread to word to keep it alive!

If you area also a big fan of keep these stories alive, and you want to have a private tours and experiences of any Borough to learn more. Contact our experts so they can organize it for you! We also work with Corporate requests!

NOTE: The Image Gallery above illustrates only The Garment District – Place #7.


Text by: Untapped New York
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Andrew Herman Federal Art-Project/Museum of the City of New York, Arthur Brower/The New York Times via Redux, Bettmann/Corbis and Cyberwearz

The Borscht Belt: Abandoned Sites In The Catskills Region

Shop Specialties The Borscht Belt Book by Marisa Scheinfeld Catskills NY Green Bar Stools

“The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland” is a great book by Marisa Scheinfeld! It shows gorgeous shots of ‘abandoned sites where resorts, hotels, and bungalow colonies once boomed in the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York’.

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We love the Catskills region of upstate New York. Moreover, we are also fascinated in exploring abandoned spots where there once was an entire booming scene of people and life!

It’s incredible to learn what happened to these places. Why it became forgotten and to be able to walk through and register what it has transformed into.

If you L-O-V-E photography books and these abandoned locations, then you’ll love this book! It’s called “The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland”, by Marisa Scheinfeld.

It takes place in the Catskills Mountain Region, in upstate New York. In addition, it has some of the most intriguing images that will entice your curiosity.

Below is an excerpt from Marisa’s website where she explains with more details what this project is about.


“Today the Borscht Belt is recalled through the nostalgic lens of summer swims, Saturday night dances, and comedy performances. But its current state, like that of many other formerly glorious regions, is nothing like its earlier status.

Forgotten about and exhausted, much of its structural environment has been left to decay. The Borscht Belt, which features essays by Stefan Kanfer and Jenna Weissman Joselit, presents Marisa Scheinfeld’s photographs of abandoned sites. There, resorts, hotels, and bungalow colonies once boomed in the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York.

The book assembles images Scheinfeld has shot inside and outside locations that once buzzed with life as year-round havens for generations of people. Some of the structures have been lying abandoned for periods ranging from four to twenty years, depending on the specific hotel or bungalow colony and the conditions under which it closed.

Other sites have since been demolished or repurposed. This makes this book an even more significant documentation of a pivotal era in American Jewish history.

The Borscht Belt presents a contemporary view of more than forty hotel and bungalow sites. From entire expanses of abandoned properties to small lots containing drained swimming pools, the remains of the Borscht Belt era now lie forgotten, overgrown, and vacant.

In the absence of human activity, nature has reclaimed the sites, having encroached upon or completely overtaken them. Many of the interiors have been vandalized or marked by paintball players and graffiti artists.

Each ruin lies radically altered by the elements and effects of time. Scheinfeld’s images record all of these developments.”


Take a look at Marisa’s countless upcoming events. These are great opportunities to meet her and get your book signed!

She is an extremely sweet person, besides obviously, extremely talented.

You will love her!

www.marisascheinfeld.com


Text and Photo Credits: Courtesy of Marisa Scheinfeld
*Last Update on March/2020.*

NYC’s Iconic Empire Diner Will Reopen In Chelsea

Curiosity City Secrets Empire Diner by Untapped Cities

NYC’s iconic Empire Diner in Chelsea will reopen in November! Our friends at Untapped Cities tell us what’s going on with the iconic Empire Diner!

Curiosity City Secrets Empire Diner by Untapped Cities

We love keeping track of everything that happens to the most iconic places and businesses in New York City. As we’ve mentioned this before, we are huge fans of keeping the city’s history alive!

Our friends at Untapped Cities are great at keeping track of many of these spots and Empire Diner is one of them.

The place is scheduled to reopen in November of this year and is definitely a place work exploring. Plus, there is just so much to its story that you’ll be amazed!


“In 2015, Empire Diner, the iconic dining establishment in Chelsea, shut down after its second failed attempt at revival.

The windows of the restaurant are now covered in paper, but it’s slated to return under new management in November.

On Monday, we saw the doors open briefly with some activity inside, and we attended the liquor license hearing yesterday to get more details on the new iteration.

After 34 years of business, the original Empire Diner shut down in May 2010, when the landlords of the property refused to renew the lease.

At the time, the establishment had become the “latest hangout [for] artists, starving and otherwise,” as reported by The New Yorker. The classic rail car style diner became a poster child of the preservation movement to save the city’s vintage diners.

Today, the diner is located on the corner of 22nd St. and 10th Avenue, is one of the last free-standing diner spaces left in Manhattan.

Aside from new hours – it will now stay open until 2am – and brighter, more “friendly” decor, not much will change. The new Empire Diner returns with John DeLucie as chef.

Expect the same outdoor seating and another iteration of the classic all-American diner menu. DeLucie also tells us that because the exterior is a landmark, there will be no changes to the outside structure of the Empire Diner.”


We can’t wait for NYC’s iconic Empire Diner to come back to life!

Read the full, original post at Untapped New York and see more pictures!

For those coming to New York City or even living here, and wanting a customized tours and experiences, going through some of the most iconic and historical spots, contact us and we’ll cater it to you!

These tours have been a huge success for Corporate groups and delegations coming to New York! So, if you want to schedule an experience for your team, or wow your clients, let us assist you!


Text: Untapped New York 
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Untapped New York by Michelle Young
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Secrets And Fun Facts About Morningside Park In Harlem

Curiosities City Secrets Morningside Park in Harlem by Untapped Cities

A bit a culture and history with our friends from Untapped New York! We love exploring Harlem, so here are some secrets and fun facts about Morningside Park worth sharing!

Curiosities City Secrets Morningside Park in Harlem by Untapped Cities
Photo Credit: Benjamin Waldman

Every time we’ve been to Harlem, it’s been a fantastic experience. From the art and fashion scene, to all the delicious restaurants, the neighborhood is so rich and with so much to share!

Furthermore, one of their most famous parks is call Morningside Park and our friends from Untapped Cities shared a few secrets and fun facts about it!

So, come and check it out!


“Morningside Park is experiencing something of a renaissance in recent years, with booming real estate in Morningside Heights and Harlem surrounding it.

The picturesque park seems to have it all – grand landscapes, practical outdoor amenities, landmarked architecture, and commanding views.

Today, we’ll go through some of the most fun secrets and fun facts we came across while researching for a talk we gave with the Design Trust for Public Space inside Morningside Park last week.

10. Morningside Heights is Built Atop Manhattan Schist Up to 30 Million Years Old

9. Morningside Park Was Not Part of the Manhattan Street Grid

8. There Has Only Been One Road to Ever Go through Morningside Park, And It’s Long Been Lost

7. Until a Few Decades Ago, There Was a Blockhouse from 1812 in Morningside Park

6. Morningside Park Had a Vastly Different Original Plan

5. Some of NYC’s Most Famous Architects Worked on Morningside Park

4. There Used to be an Elevated Railway Next to Morningside Park

3. There Was a Massive Columbia University Protest Over a Gym in Morningside Park

2. The Remnants of the Gym Were Converted into a Pond and Waterfall

1. The Saga of the Statue of Lafayette and Washington in Morningside Park


See the original post of the Morningside Park, with many other pictures and infos!

Many of you love and are always craving for more secrets and fun facts about New York, right?

Well, to explore the area in style, contact our experts to cater a customized services and tour for you and your family & friends. For Corporate services and experiences, let our experts assist you and make the experience memorable!

Curiosities City Secrets Morningside Park in Harlem by Untapped Cities Benjamin Waldman
Photo Credit: Benjamin Waldman

Text: Michelle Young from UntappedCities
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Benjamin Waldman


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Benjamin Waldman for Untapped New York
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Ready, Set, Action! Sunshine Cinema In The East Village

Culture & Music Sunshine Cinema

Built in 1898, the Sunshine Cinema in the East Village had a quite turbulent and interesting historical path, going back to its first tenant. Now, unfortunately it closed it doors for good back in 2018.

Culture & Music Sunshine Cinema
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Landmark Theaters

UNFORTUNATELY THIS BEAUTIFUL HISTORICAL SPOT PERMANENTLY CLOSED!

The building where once was the famous Sunshine Cinema in the East Village was the home of a Protestant Church in its very early days back in 1844.

It had quite a few “lives” after that. A meeting hall for immigrants arriving in New York was there for a while and, for a short time, it was a venue that featured boxing nights. It was also a Yiddish vaudeville house, a hardware warehouse for over 50 years, within a few other things! Phiuf!

One of its most famous businesses was the Houston Hippodrome motion picture theatre. Charles Steiner purchased the place and in 1909 opened its doors to the public. The place didn’t have the necessary safety requirements to house a theater, but Mr. Steiner purchased the place and in 1909 opened its doors to the public. The place didn’t have the necessary safety requirements to house a theater, but Mr. Steiner promptly worked in figuring everything out.

It was a place that neighbors and people from all over came to have a pleasant and entertaining movie night. Unfortunately, something unexpected happen in 1913 that changed its future.

During a movie screening, a small (yes, small) fire started in the projection booth and a child from the audience got scared, yelling “Fire!”.

Panic spread throughout the theatre. Spectators rushed to flee the space, while staff went unheard yelling that everything was fine. The tragic death of 2 women in the middle of the chaos, plus over 30 injured people was deadly to it’s’ reputation.

After a $7,000 renovation in the summer of 2013, Houston Hippodrome operated for another 4 years. In 1917 is was permanently closed down.

The building was demolished to put together the new home that was finally named Sunshine Cinema. It was much bigger, now accommodating 600 guests (versus the previous 299 capacity). It was a dear cinema in the East Village

In time, the novelty died out and in 1945 it transformed into a hardware warehouse, owned by the Goldman family.

And finally the Landmark Theatres brought back to life Sunshine Cinema. Doors opened in December 21st of 2001.

“Landmark has restored the theatre back to its artistic roots and now offers the art-house film lover five state-of-the-art screens dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film as well as non-traditional studio programming.

The Sunshine Cinema has exceptional presentation and amenities including stadium seating, Dolby Digital Surround EX sound and gourmet concessions. The theatre also offers attractions such as a Japanese rock garden and a viewing bridge that offers breathtaking city views from the third story spectacular glass annex.”

Be sure to see their schedule of independent films. It will definitely be an unforgettable experience, specially after learning about it’s history, right?

Enjoy your night out in this cinema in the East Village!

Lastly, if you want to enjoy and explore the neighborhood, you have go to the Jamaican-inspired, Miss Lily’s Café.  You might want to have dinner at Avant Garden, a fine dining Vegan restaurant. Do you have a sweet tooth? Well, Ray’s Candy Store is opened 24 hours and they serve the best fried Oreos!

For the night owls, you can see what’s going on at Piano’s. And for the culture crowd, Nuyorican Poet Café is our top local pick! Be sure to ask for Raul when going there, and mention Fernanda Paronetto, our Founder, to him!


Unfortunately, our friends at Untapped Cities posted an update about Sunshine Cinema and informed that it’s slated to demolition.

Read to see why they are closing down.

We are devastated to loose, yet another independent cinema in New York City.


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Landmark Theaters
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

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