Tag Archives: Secrets

3 Hidden Coffee Shops In New York City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Swedish Seamen’s Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

Location: 5 East 48th Street

www.svenskakyrkan.se/newyork


Voyager Espresso

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

Voyager Espresso is underground – literally.

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

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

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

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

Location: 110 William Street

www.voyagerespresso.com


The Cobra Club

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

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

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

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

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

Location: 6 Wyckoff Ave

www.facebook.com/cobraclubbk


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

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

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


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

Piccola Cucina: A Charming Italian Restaurant in NYC

Dining Piccola Cucina Italian Restaurant SoHo

The smaller, the better! That’s how we like our restaurants to be! Piccola Cucina Enoteca is a charming Italian restaurant with a few locations around New York.

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I remember the very first time I went to Piccola Cucina on Prince Street. The place was not new – it was founded back in 2008 – but I only had a chance to visit them on September 2014.

Behind the Scenes NYC was just starting its journey uncovering the local New York scene, I had just hired my immigration lawyers to kick off my Visa process, so I wanted to start our explorations in grand style!

As soon as you walk in Piccola Cucina, you’ll be surprised on how tiny the place is.

There are maybe only around 10 tables, all pretty packed up together. But, no one really seems to mind, nor pay attention to what’s happening with their neighbor.

If you’re a visual person like me, the good thing is that you can peek around to see what the dishes look like.

I went there with a friend that I’ve known since we were 3-4 years old, that studied with me back in school and eventually in college. He’d been living in NYC for quite some time, working for a renowned bank, and knew about all my life changing plans of moving to New York City.

Since then, everything ended up well: I moved to New York and properly started my business. There is just so much to see in this city that, even though I do go to places I love multiple times, I always tend to look for new places to explore. It’s always good for new content for you guys!

That said, I hadn’t found a good opportunity to go back, until a few days ago with 2 good friends that also live here and have never been there.

We did a reservation for Sunday, at 2pm. The place is so tiny that if you don’t have a reservation, you’ll probably have to wait a while for a table.

I woke up a little later than normal, since Sundays are my lazy days. I had a light breakfast to actually arrive hungry at Piccola Cucina. I wanted to know how Chef Philip Guardione, a true Sicilian raised, would surprise me this time!

We all ordered different dishes:

  • To share: Bruschetta ai Pomodorini e Basilico – Classic Cherry Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
  • Cavatelli ai Funghi Porcini – Cavatelli with Porcini Mushrooms
  • Lasagna al Ragu – Lasagna with Meat Ragu, Tomato and Bechamel Sauce
  • Pasta alla Norma – Eggplant Rolls Stuffed with Tomatoes Spaghetti and Ricotta Cheese
  • Red Wines by the glass: Divus Ciavolic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Cembra Pinot Noir

All the dishes are super well served and came in beautiful pans that was pretty unique! I actually ordered the rest of mine to go. I literally was able to eat only half!

“I only came to New York for a visit, but the energy and vitality of the people bewitched me. Today the Big Apple has become my city, where this unexpected adventure all started, and my goal is to bring the joy and flavor of my country here”. ~ Chef Philip Guardione

We decided not to order dessert, but we did see the Cannoli with Ricotta Cheese and the Tiramisú at the neighbor tables. They looked delicious and the people eating them, seemed very happy with their order! Ha!

So, after some coffee, it was time to go! We had a fantastic time! The staff was ultra-friendly and solicitous, music was pleasant, and guests came from all over the globe. We could listen to them speaking multiple different languages.

Piccola Cucina is a perfect place for a brunch with friends. It’s also a fantastic idea to surprise your date on a trendy, intimate New York spot! But, not really fun for small kids though…

If you’re in SoHo, you can just take more time to explore.

So, go grab a drink at a speakeasy bar called The Ship, have fun at the famous interactive exhibit called Color Factory, or go for dessert and coffee at Sweets by Chloe. I love their Red Velvet cupcake – it’s vegan, but if I hadn’t told you, you’d never notice!

Hours: Please check details for each location on website.

Locations:
Enoteca – 184 Prince Street
Sicilian Osteria – 196 Spring Street
Estiatorio – 75 Thompson Street
Upper East Side – 106 East 60th Street

www.piccolacucinagroup.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Piccola Cucina

6 Under The Radar Museums In Manhattan

Curiosities Our Bucket Lisits 6 Under The Radar Museums Manhattan Spyscape Thumbnail

There is nothing better than exploring unusual spots around New York. So, we decided to share with you 6 under the radar museums in Manhattan! Have fun!

Curiosities Our Bucket Lisits 6 Under The Radar Museums Manhattan Spyscape Main
Photo: Courtesy of Spyscape

Yes, we know that New York City’s world-famous museums are definitely places to visit, but they aren’t the only ones around. There are some quite amazing under the radar museums in Manhattan.

Indeed, it’s now estimated there are about 100 first-rate museums spread throughout the Big Apple’s five boroughs.

If you have just checked out of your Airbnb, you’re not ready to check out some of New York’s hidden gems before heading out. So, be sure to read our guide.

Below, we share six under the radar museums in Manhattan with amazing experiences but that you can easily find.

So, fire up your Google Maps, store your luggage, and go explore!


1. Travel Back in Time at the Tenement Museum

Curiosities Our Bucket Lisits 6 Under The Radar Museums Manhattan Tenement Museum
Photo: Courtesy of The Tenement Museum

To get a feel for New York’s gritty past, definitely stop by the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, at 103 Orchard Street.

In addition to touring an authentic 19th century tenement house, this museum hosts highly interactive neighborhood tours with guides dressed in period costume.

All of the Tenement Museum’s exhibits are designed to illuminate the realities of American immigration from the 1800s onwards.

Oh! And before visiting the Tenement Museum, feel free to drop your heavy bags at one of the convenient Stasher locations in nearby SoHo or Chinatown.

Location: 103 Orchard Street

https://www.tenement.org


2. Tour the Teensy-Tiny Mmuseumm

Curiosities Our Bucket Lisits 6 Under The Radar Museums Manhattan Mmuseumm
Photo: Courtesy of Mmuseumm

Only large enough for three people, Lower Manhattan’s Mmuseumm won’t win any accolades for its extensive collection.

Despite the Mmuseumm’s amusingly small size, visitors rave about the constantly rotating selection of newsworthy artifacts.

We can’t promise you’ll feel overwhelmed by the Mmuseumm’s offerings, but you certainly won’t forget your visit.

The Mmuseumm’s is located close to the Canal Street Metro.

Location: 4 Cortlandt Alley

http://www.mmuseumm.com


3. See the Original “Winnie The Pooh” Plush

Curiosities Our Bucket Lisits 6 Under The Radar Museums Manhattan New York Public Library
Photo: Courtesy of New York Public Library

Despite protestations from British leaders, the stuffed animals that inspired A. A. Milne’s “Winnie The Pooh” remains in the New York Public Library.

In addition to Pooh Bear, visitors will get to see the original Kanga, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet dolls that Christopher Robin once played with.

Note: the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is the library branch that holds these treasured toys.

You can easily find this building near the 5th Avenue/Bryant Park Metro.

Location: 476 5th Avenue

https://www.nypl.org/schwarzman


4. Explore the Himalayas at the Rubin Museum of Art

Curiosities Our Bucket Lisits 6 Under The Radar Museums Manhattan Rubin Museum
Photo: Courtesy of Rubin Museum of Art

Looking for some Buddhist serenity in the Big Apple? Consider visiting the underrated Chelsea’s Rubin Museum of Art. We truly love exploring it!

This easy-to-miss museum houses thousands of ornate art objects from the mystifying Himalayas.

From Tibet and India to Nepal and Pakistan, you’ll need a few reincarnations to appreciate all the art on display here.

The Rubin Museum of Art is less than a mile’s walk south of Penn Station near the 18th Street Metro. Bag storage is limited, so be sure to check out Stasher’s convenient luggage storage options in Penn Station before your visit.

Location: 150 West 17th Street

http://rubinmuseum.org


5. Get Your James Bond on at SPYSCAPE

Curiosities Our Bucket Lisits 6 Under The Radar Museums Manhattan Spyscape
Photo: Courtesy of Spyscape

Get ready to live out your own James Bond adventure in the SPYSCAPE museum, launched back in 2018. It’s a pretty new addition to New York’s list of attractions.

After viewing dozens of espionage-related artifacts, visitors can test their spy skills through a series of highly immersive challenges, like solving encrypted codes and walking through laser sensors.

You might even be able to talk with resident hackers about the importance of Internet Privacy.

You can find this exhilarating museum on 8th Avenue, which is less than a mile from Carnegie Hall.

Location: 928 8th Avenue

https://spyscape.com


6. Soar to New Heights at the Skyscraper Museum

Curiosities Our Bucket Lisits 6 Under The Radar Museums Manhattan Skyscraper Museum
Photo: Courtesy of Skyscraper Museum

Honestly, what other city is more deserving of having a Skyscraper Museum?

Sure, the art of skyscrapers has now gone global, but New York City’s skyline will always remain the world’s most iconic.

Inside Battery Park’s Skyscraper Museum, you can learn the engineering behind all of New York’s famous buildings.

This museum also works hard to present the stories of the countless engineers and investors who made New York City what it is today.

Oh, a while back we experienced an amazing 2-day tour with Siemens where they showed us how their technology also helped build NYC! You might find this pretty cool as well!

You can easily reach the Skyscraper Museum on foot from the Wall Street Metro. Before visiting, please take a peek at Stasher’s convenient storage destinations in the Financial District.

Location: 39 Battery Place

https://skyscraper.org


If you enjoyed reading this post about the under the radar museums in Manhattan, you might want to see a few more hidden museums around the city!

Check out the 5 Offbeat Museums In NYC You Should Visit or read about the Most Different Museum In New York Of All Times.

If you’re looking for custom tours or need to put together a corporate experience, let our experts help you out!


Photo Credits: Courtesy of all the Museums
#Sponsored
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Secret Behind the Scenes Grand Central Terminal Tour

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Grand Central Terminal Secret Tour

Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City’s most amazing historical attractions. Even though it can be quite touristy, we always find a way to tweak it into a behind the scenes experience for you! Book your spot at our Secret Behind the Scenes Grand Central Terminal Tour!


BOOK NOW!

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Grand Central Terminal Secret Tour

If you’ve never been to New York, or if you’ve been here countless times, the city can be quite overwhelming with things to do and places to go!

Even though we are always covering the best hidden spots, events and upcoming brands, there are quite a few historical places that will never negate! The city is overflowing with history and our efforts in keeping it live are tireless and endless!

One of the most magnificent and monumental attractions is our beloved Grand Central Terminal! We always get lost in thoughts and emotions when we walk through it.

We definitely experience a timeless affair with it!

The story behind this grandiose landmark is more than amusing, but let’s starts with saying it’s name correctly, ok?

People have the habit of calling it “Grand Central Station”. But, the correct name is “Grand Central Terminal”! Why? Because a terminal is where train lines “terminate”. It’s the start and ending point for trains, hence, it’s a Terminal, not a Station. So, let’s start saying the name right!

BOOK NOW!

In the past, the Grand Central Terminal was seen as an embarrassment to the city of New York, and you can’t even imagine why!

This behind the scenes Grand Central Terminal tour will take you through the common areas. In addition, it will also give you so much rich, unpublished and private information of things people don’t quite notice while rushing by!

But wait, we want to tell you more! You’ll also finally be told where the 4 Whispering Arches are, if you haven’t found it yet.

Want something ultra top secret!? Ask about the M42, a secret sub-basement. Why it’s completely blocked by security and why its exact location is so closely guarded! The story is thrilling!

During the 2nd World War, even Hitler tried infiltration spies to gain access to destroy it, but was thankfully unsuccessful. It does not even show in the Terminal’s blueprints and maps, due to is secrecy.

So, expect not only to see many of the traditional spots – with secret information, but also experience some quite unique places within the building!

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Peek into the entrance of the glass walkways;
  • Locate its lost armchairs;
  • Learn about Grand Central Terminal’s backwards ceiling;
  • See its hidden tennis courts;
  • Learn many more of its secrets!

DETAILS:
Price: $35 / person
What to wear: Bring comfortable shoes.
What to know: The tour is 1.5 hours long; please consult with the MTA for weekend subway schedules and routing changes. Please note that due to enhanced security measures, Grand Central no longer allows access to places like the M-42 basement, FDR train car or glass walkways to non Metro-North or MTA employees.
Ticket Confirmation: After you book this experience, you will receive a confirmation email from our partner confirming you are attending the tour!

BOOK NOW!


To organize a behind the scenes tour for your team or a special group of clients, contact our experts to learn more about our Corporate Tours & Experiences.

If you enjoy this type of tour, be sure to check what the Underground New York Subway Tour is all about! Plus, for the music lovers, explore these secret music gigs that happen around town!



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

Patent Pending: One of our favorite speakeasy bars in NYC

Nightlife Bars Patent Pending Speakeasy Bars in NYC Full Bar

Patent Pending is truly one of our favorite speakeasy bars in NYC. It’s hidden behind a fake wall, inside a small Nomad coffee shop in Manhattan! As they say: “Paying homage to thinking outside the box.”

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Hidden behind a fake wall, inside a tiny coffee shop in the heart Manhattan, Patent Pending has one of our favorite speakeasy bars in NYC. And, with one of the most creative cocktail menus in town!

See our short and fun IGTV!

The specific neighborhood is Nomad and it’s housed inside the famous Radio Wave Building, a historical landmark in NYC. The building gets its name from the years that the world-famous inventor and engineer, Nikola Tesla, lived there.

During the day, you’ll just see a normal NYC coffee spot in action, called Patent Café. But, by night, the secret comes to life!

When you find the entrance, type 4-9-2-7 # so that the host opens the glass doors for you.

There are no lights when you walk inside and the coffee shop is closed, but just risk it and you’ll be fine! Ha!

As you walk down a few steps, it all seems odd, since there is no visual sign of a bar and it’s a bit dark. Unfortunately, they don’t accept reservations, so be sure to go early, otherwise you might just end up waiting for quite some time – over 1 hour!

When the time comes of you to enter, the host will lift the countertop and spread open a sliding door that leads to this beautiful, underground, dim lit bar…

…and the door closes behind you.

The place is quite small with only a couple tables, and the bar area is obviously always our preference to sit. ⁠

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⁠They just added 4 new Fall drinks to their menu, so we decided to go and try them.

Their names?

  1. Illuminated Manhattan: With Campfire Whiskey, Aged Rum, Scotch, Madeira…smokey, chocolatey, smooth;⁠ ⁠
  2. Emulating Edison: Their take on a traditional Mulled Wine…warm, spiced and silk;⁠ ⁠
  3. Static Pet Theory: Genever, Shochu, Islay Single Malt, Tomatillo, Egg White and Umami…smooth and savory;⁠ ⁠
  4. Flash of Inspiration: Roasted Corn Mezcal, Sherry, Islay Single Malt, Smoked Maple Syrup, Green Hatch and Chipotle…spicy, smokey and tart!

Cool, right?

We obviously also had some of their classics as well! And, if you get hungry, they have a few small bites, and even a vegan sandwich option. I tried it and it was delicious! ⁠

The spot is always full, but it’s definitely worth the wait!

Have fun and let us know what you thought of it!


More about the Radio Wave Building:

“This is the building in which Nikola Tesla lived and performed his experiments on radio waves, transmitting them to his laboratory near present day Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan.

The ‘waves’ which guided you here (GPS) and surround you now (WiFi) were envisioned by Tesla more than a century ago.  Born during a lightning storm, Nikola Tesla was a child of light.

An immigrant, an innovator and a patriot, Tesla dreamed of a world which few others could imagine. He was an eccentric genius, an ‘Electric Messiah’.

We toast to him and the countless others that think outside the box, persevering against all odds.”


If you enjoyed this post, take a look at these other 9 speakeasy bars in NYC!

Hours:
Sunday – Wednesday: 5pm – 12am
Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 5pm – 2am

Location: 49 West 27th Street

www.patentpendingnyc.com


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Patent Pending
*Last Update on March/2020.*

NYC Food Trends Taking The City By Storm

Dining NYC Food Trends Insects Black Ant

Yes, New York has every possible cuisine you can desire or imagine on Earth. That said, take a look at the NYC food trends taking the city by storm. Some are not super new, but probably came to stay!

Dining NYC Food Trends Insects Black Ant
How about a pair of crunchy insects in your dish? Lol! ©BlackAntNYC

New York is the restaurant capital of the world – just consider there are 24,000 eating establishments in Manhattan alone. So, we decided to talk about the upcoming NYC food trends!

It has been estimated that you if you ate at a different restaurant every day, it would take you over 22 years to dine at them all.

One of the reasons that NYC is so diverse for dining, is that there are influences and cultures from all around the globe. This means that there are always great new NYC food trends, which you can even try cooking at home.

Take a look at a few of the food trends below and let’s see how adventurous you are when trying new cuisines! Lol!


Glorious Grasshoppers

Dining NYC Food Trends Grasshopper Croquetes Black Ant
Croquetas de Chapulin: yucca-manchego Grasshopper croquetes with avocado and Chapulín salsa. ©BlackAntNYC

As we think more about sustainability and food ethics, insects are hitting restaurant tables in a big way. They are actually an excellent source of protein and delicious with a little spice.

If you head to Toloache, the Mexican restaurant headed up by Julian Medina, you can sample them in tacos, hot with chili and cooked with crunch.

The Black Ant, in the East Village, is another great eatery that is embracing grasshoppers. In fact, almost every item on their menu uses insects. The grasshopper-crusted shrimp however are a triumph.

If you want to have a taste at home you can easily buy grasshoppers online, they may even become a household staple.

Locations:
205 Thompson Street, Greenwich Village
166 East 82nd Street, Upper East Side
251 West 50th Street, Midtown

www.toloachenyc.com

Location: 60 2nd Avenue, East Village

www.theblackantnyc.com


Beautiful Baogels

Dining NYC Food Trends Baogel Black Seed Bagels
Baogel at Black Seed Bagels. ©BlackSeedBagel

The baogel is another wonderful cultural hybrid, featuring a soft pork belly filling, usually found in a bao bun, and of course combined with a soft, bagel.

It is the creation of Black Seed Bagels and Chinese restaurant Nom Wah Kuai, and usually served with a chili cream cheese on the side for ultimate dipping.

To try this at home, the pork belly cooks best in a sous vide machine, a beautifully gentle slow cook that will leave the pork tender and succulent, ready to be folded into bagel dough.

You can then return the bagel into the machine, to make a really soft baogel. This trend just goes to show how versatile water bath cooking is.

Locations: Several locations, see their websites!

https://www.blackseedbagels.com
https://nomwah.com


Raindrop Cake

Dining NYC Food Trends Raindrop Cake
The peculiar Raindrop Cake. ©RaindropCake

The raindrop cake is a thing of simplistic beauty. Originating from Japan, it is a beautiful dessert that is made from water, agar and sugar.

It is served in bamboo, alongside a flour that is made from roasted soybeans. The dessert is vegan, has very few calories, but it a textural delight in the mouth.

It’s all about feeling that sweet burst of liquid on the tongue. Darren Wong, who originally brought this cake to Smorgasborg food fair said that he wanted the raindrop cake to be reminiscent of the Asian jelly desserts he ate as a child.

You can now buy kits to have a go at making the raindrop cake at home. They are delicious with a little syrup and some fresh mint on the side.

Locations: Smorgasburg has 4 locations.
Thursdays: BK Bridge Park, 6pm
Fridays: WTC, 11am – 7pm
Saturdays: 90 Kent Avenue, 11am – 6pm
Sundays: Breeze Hill, Prospect Park, 11am – 6pm

https://www.smorgasburg.com


New York is a special place for dining – if you can imagine it, the likelihood is that there is a restaurant serving it. These fresh, new ideas and NYC food trends are also changing the way that we consider our home cooking.

So, come explore New York with us and don’t forget to share your discoveries in the comments below! We’d love to hear about them, so we can also check them out!



Guest Writer: Cindy Trillo
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Black Ant, Black Seed Bagels and Raindrop Cake

*Last Updated on Feb/2020.*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


#15 New York is NOT synonymous to Manhattan!

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Be brave…and walk in!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Your Friend’s Kitchen: A Dining Experience At The Chef’s House

Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Table

New York is a gastronomy haven for those that love food! I want to share a different NYC dining experience that will take you on a journey around the world, called Your Friend’s Kitchen!

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I was invited to enjoy a unique NYC dining experience, different from what I have already done around New York City. And believe me, I have done countless experiences around town.

But this time, I was called for a Vegan African Feast at Chef Linda’s home! I was intrigued from the start, considering that not only would Chef Linda cater a totally new menu, but she was going to open her home to host us for this super special night!

I was excited and extremely curious too!

Chef Linda (aka Linda Adria Sebisaho) is was born in the Eastern part of Congo, in Africa and moved to New York at the age of 15! Initially, she dreamt of getting into medical school, but totally changed her mind and became a math teacher! Her cooking talent  kicked in a bit later.

Today, she runs her own catering company. She loves these types of social dining experiences, having meals with strangers, that leaves as friends by the end of the night!

She says, “it’s a form of art”, and we couldn’t agree more!

That said, Chef Linda was thrilled to co-host this night with Your Friends Kitchen, created and founded by Meenakshi lala.

So, let me tell you a bit about how the night unraveled!

Chef Linda’s home is in Harlem, a neighborhood I love exploring with all its Jazz spots and amazing restaurants like Seasoned Vegan. I headed up with a friend, that was just as excited!

As we arrived, everyone there warmly greeted us! The table was decorated with colors inspired by the African culture, setting the mood of the night to come.

In addition, they printed a beautiful menu with what we were going to eat during the night! The menu had this beautiful illustration of an African woman wearing one of the gorgeous fabric head arrangements, already bringing us into the journey that was about to start!

Chef Linda introduced herself and in no time, the feast had started! The event is “B.Y.O.B. – Bring Your Own Bottle”, so be sure to bring any drink that makes you happy!


Here is what the menu looked like:

  • Starter #1: Yucca – Mashed Yucca stuffed with chickpeas or cheese
  • Starter #2: Sambusa – Fried dough filled with spiced carrots, peas and potatoes
  • Salad: Sachumbari – East African salad made from tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and lime
  • Main #1: Yassa Aubergine – Harissa spiced eggplants, pilau rice and ginger caramelized onions
  • Main #2 (a surprise!): Plantain with white beans, onions and tomato sauce
  • Dessert: Beignets – Savory fried African doughnut served with strawberries
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Each dish was explained by Chef Linda, where she would tell us a quick story of its meaning, influence and ingredients.

Portions were extremely generous, beautifully arranged and the best of it all: we had truly a great time, laughed all night long with the stories everyone shared and made some interesting business connections.

Chef Linda amazed us with her talent and we left having a new group of friends that we hope to stay in touch with and explore other dining experiences by Your Friend’s Kitchen!

Last, but definitely not least, I’d love to thank Meenakshi, for inviting us to be part of this special night! We are happy to be part of this new community she’s building and will definitely be back for more!


More information about Your Friend’s Kitchen:

How It Works:

Your Friend’s Kitchen is an authentic food experience, a new take on going out for a meal. Your Friend’s Kitchen aims to bring people together to share an experience that is comforting and familiar, yet not like any other.

Whether they are home cooks or food lovers, our hosts share a passion for bringing people together, one meal at a time!

The Founder:

Meenakshi is a passionate foodie, avid traveler and founder of Your Friends Kitchen. She discovered her love for cooking when she first moved to the United States from India. A foodie at heart, she has traveled to 25+ countries and explored street foods and fine dining alike.

Her passion for cooking food and hosting inspired her to create a platform for others to enjoy dining in the comfort of a warm, cozy, intimate setting and enjoy a delicious meal prepared with love and passion.

Her goal at your friend’s kitchen – Bring people together, one meal at a time!


For you to learn more about Your Friend’s Kitchen and also check out the upcoming events, be sure to go to their website where you can book everything directly!

In addition, if you have a corporate group coming to town and you need help organizing all the experiences, dinners, events, our experts can help you out!

www.yourfriendskitchen.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Shir A.

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

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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.

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©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! Why?

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!

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 large groups and specially for corporate groups, contact our team.



Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Nirosha Methananda
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Frevo: A Restaurant Hidden Behind An Art Work

Dining Frevo Restaurant Fernanda Paronetto

You all know how much we enjoy finding secret spots around New York, right? So, take a look at Frevo, a restaurant hidden behind an art work inside a tiny gallery in the Greenwich Village. It’s the new hot spot!

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Yes, so this is exactly what you read: a restaurant hidden behind an art work!

Frevo is one of the newest restaurants in town that officially opened its doors on May 16th, but the fun thing is that it’s actually a hard to find spot. Just like we like it and how our story began!

The contemporary French restaurant is hidden behind a beautiful art work inside a tiny gallery in the Greenwich Village, in Manhattan.

Created by the talented Brazilian Chef Franco Sampogna and his Portuguese business partner and General Manager Bernardo Silva, the restaurant’s launch was far from being an “easy one”. What I mean is, we all know that many of the restaurants out there are backed up by these big money investors, making the entire endeavor easier.

But, Frevo went down another path and was self-funded by the duo. Certainly, a challenge that brought its own characteristics, the main one being the idea of being a secret spot.

The concept of it being discreet and offering a unique experience had been thought out. But, a restaurant hidden behind an art work, happened by occasion based on a challenge they had.

Bottom line: the place they found was amazing, but too big, too expensive and above their budget.

Dining Frevo Restaurant Fernanda Paronetto Franco Sampogna
Our Founder, Fê Paronetto with Chef Franco.

So, after analyzing and deciding exactly what size restaurant they’d actually need, the remaining space was offered to the French painter Toma-L, which draws inspiration from Joan Miró and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Voilá! There, he’d be able to show and sell his art pieces, while creating the beginning of, what they call, “a unique cultural and culinary dining experience”.

As soon as you arrive at the tiny gallery in the Greenwich Village, you’re greeting by a hostess. Note: If you’re early, you might have the pleasure of being greeted by Chef Sampogna himself!

When the time comes for your reservation, you get a bit curious to know exactly where the entrance is.

Then, the moment comes when you’re just in “awe”! The biggest painting in the gallery opens up like a door, and you’re taken inside to your seat. The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming, plus you’re able to actually meet and talk to the talented duo behind it all.

There are 18 counter seats where guests can enjoy and see their dishes being carefully prepared. In addition, there is also a more private table for up to 6 people as an option.

Frevo offers a 5-course pre-fixe menu with: 2 appetizers, 2 main courses and 1 dessert. Oh, and you do get an amuse-bouche to wake up your taste buds!

This tasting menu costs $148/person and is definitely worth every cent! You can also request wine pairing, at an additional cost, of $96/person, tip included! Frevo is a non-tipping restaurant.

I’m vegetarian and at the time of my reservation, I was asked for any dietary restrictions or allergies. So, they were able to perfectly accommodate my request. (Note: They are just not able to accommodate vegan diets, as of now.)

So, this is what we had:

  • Lump Crab with Broccoli and Curry
  • Green Asparagus with Pistachio and coconut
  • Halibut with Fennel, Mushroom Marmalade
  • Long Island Duck with Spinach, Raisins and Potatoes
  • Chocolate mousse with Oreo crumbs, ice cream with a side of dulce-de-leche (aka caramel)

For me, the dished slightly different:

  • Quinoa Salad
  • Green Asparagus with Pistachio and coconut
  • Fennel, Mushroom Marmalade with a small bread soaked in the marmalade
  • Onion, Pear and Carrot, on top of a Carrot cream
  • Lemon pie with Vodka, Lime and Almond

And, to finish it off in grand style, and to celebrate the Brazilian culture (since I had mentioned that Chef Sampogna is Brazilian), we had a good strong espresso.

The menu is seasonal, so you can be sure to go back and re-experience this delicious secret journey into a contemporary French cuisine.

They do not accept walk-ins and even if you pass by the gallery, you’re not able to give that sneak-peek inside. So, be sure to get your reservation done in advance to explore this restaurant hidden behind an art work!

To get a sneak peek inside our experience, take a look at this IGTV Video!


Dining Frevo Restaurant Chef Franco Sampogna Bernardo Silva

More about the Co-Founders:

Chef Franco Sampogna and Bernardo Silva met at the age of 17 in France, even though they are from Brazil and Portugal, respectively.

They spent most of their early years studying in France and working at renowned Michelin-star restaurants. This, eventually, built up great knowledge and experience of the hospitality industry, bringing them to explore New York and start their journey away from France.

They duo is well-known for their former Long Island based restaurant, Jema. It won Newsday’s Best New Restaurant 2016, was listed among Best Long Island Restaurants 2017, and won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2017.

Chef Franco Sampogna entered the international San Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 competition, along with another 3621 candidates. Selected amongst ten French Chefs for the semi-finals at only 24 years old, he went on to win second place on February 10, 2015.

“The James Beard Foundation featured Jema and honored the culinary talents of Chef Sampogna at the Beard House. Dining on his food is a real pleasure.” — Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation.


Frevo is by reservation only, so be sure to get yours done: reservations@frevonyc.com.

And still, we work with corporate clients coming from all over the world that need local assistance in event planning and leisure experiences. If that is your case, contact us with your request! We are able to organize an amazing time for you and your team / clients in New York.

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm – 11pm

Location: 48 West 8th Street

www.frevonyc.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and courtesy of Charissa Fay for Frevo
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

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