Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Ruins
A moss-covered wall in the ruins of the old Smallpox hospital | Photo by Ed via Flickr.
There are a lot of abandoned buildings around New York but only a few of them have been officially designated New York City Landmarks. The 19th-century Renwick Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island is one of them and its one of the most atmospheric secret places in NYC. New York actually suffered more and longer from smallpox than many other places in America due to the density of its population and the fact that it received many immigrants from Europe every year. The hospital was built on Roosevelt Island because, at the time, it was only sparsely populated and could function as a de facto quarantine. The gothic revival architecture of the building is wonderfully spooky and its history makes it a must-see for any New York history buff. To get there you hop on the Roosevelt Island Tram at the intersection of East 60th Street and 2nd Ave. and soar over the East River onto Roosevelt Island. Its a short trip, but the views alone are stunning, and the ride costs the same as a normal subway fare . Once you get onto the island, head south and you cant help but run into it. At the time of publication, the ruins are still fenced off but an ongoing refurbishment project is stabilizing them and plans to have them open to the public though no opening date has been set. Given their propensity to spontaneously crumble, this is one hidden place in NYC that you want to view from a safe distance.
Wander Through As Many Museums As Possible
Museums play a huge role in New Yorks status as a hub of art and history. Locals love them just as much as tourists. They suggest visiting the Met and the MoMA of course, but also highly recommend branching out and visiting some of the less-touristy spotslike the Guggenheim, the New Museum, the Museum of Sex.
Meow Parlour Cat Cafe
Stop and make new friends at Meow Parlour Cat Cafe.
Unless youre living under a rock in an alternate universe, then you know that cat cafes are totally a thing right now and one of the new, super cool things to do in New York City.
So in my desperately vain attempt to be a mildly cool social media influencer:
I joined in on all the cat cafe fun and visited Meow Parlour Cat Cafe. Even though, full disclosure, Im more of a dog person than a cat person anyway. But shh, dont tell the cats that.
However, in spite of my trepidations:
I had a pretty good time since I got to chillax and pet a ton of cute kitties. And added bonus, none of them tried to kill me with their razor-sharp claws of doom, so I consider that a win too.
All the kitties here are up for adoption so this cafe really does help stray cats find good homes .
But How Does it Work?
Just go online and make a reservation for a 30-minute time slot.
When You Arrive:
Just check-in at the front desk, sign a waiver, take your shoes/coat off, go over the rules, and sanitize your hands.
Welcome to kitty paradise. Sit back, relax, order some food, pet some cats, and live the dream for about a half-hour. Just keep track of the time because they wont remind you when your half an hour is up. And if you go over your time limit, youll be charged another $7.25.
Address: 46 Hester St, New York, NY
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Go To The Statue Of Liberty & Ellis Island
The Statue of Liberty is more a symbol of the United States and the values embodied here than any other monument in this land.
It was most certainly a welcomed site for immigrants coming to the United States through Ellis Island which makes sense. If you havent seen it in person, its massive which makes it very cool to visit.
The Statue of Liberty is grouped into the category of Colossal Statues and the first on record was built in 280 BC in Rhodes. The Roman Emperor Nero, first century AD, also built a colossal statue in his own image in the valley where the Colosseum would later be erected. Youd never have guessed, but all three of these statues were about the same height!
The Statue of Liberty is far from the largest statue in the world today, this position is taken by the Statue of Unity in India which is over three times its size! However, it is arguably the most recognized statue on Earth in competition with Christ the Redeemer in Brazil.
Check out this article Statue of Liberty Tickets, Hours, Tours, and More! or check out our Statue of Liberty tours directly.
Statue Of Liberty And Ellis Island Guided Tour
Both islands have a unique experience to offer that you should discover for yourself at least once. You can always visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with a guide to make your visit that much richer adding in historical context and local insight but however you choose to visit, these two deserve top billing on your NYC bucket list.
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Whispering Secrets Into The Walls Of Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station holds many secrets, one of which we already mentioned above that included a secret train station that president Franklin D. Roosevelt used. But there is also a whispering gallery located right next to the Oyster Bar & Restaurant that you must check out with a friend or loved one. This whispering spot is located in an unmarked archway and when two people stand at diagonal arches and whisper, they can hear each other’s voices “telegraphed” from across the way. It’s a cool thing that not many New Yorkers even know about. It was also rumored that jazz legend Charles Mingus proposed to his wife, Sue, this way.
Take A Leisurely Walkthrough Van Cortlandt Park
Looking to escape the chaos of the city with a short jaunt into the simple beauty of nature?
If so then consider taking a scenic hike through the Bronxs very own, Van Cortlandt Park.
Because believe it or not:
This massive green space is 1,1146 acres in size, making it the third largest park in the city.
It is also home to more than twenty miles of hiking trails, including the picturesque Cass Gallagher Nature Trail, the John Kieran Trail, the John Muir Trail, the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, and the Putnam Trail.
A diverse array of fantastically fun hikes that will take your through the parks Forever Wild Preserve, Northeast/Northwest Forests, Croton Woods, Wetlands and Meadows.
Feel free to grab a map and enjoy this amazing, expansive natural landscape while doing fun things like barbecuing in the Shandler Recreation Area, walking your dog in the Canine Court, visiting the Van Cortlandt House Museum , and exploring the Van Cortlandt Nature Center.
The park is also home to four different playgrounds, as well as a variety of different sports fields where visitors can cycle, play basketball, and enjoy a friendly game of baseball.
Address: 3545 Jerome Ave, Bronx, New York, 10467
Hours: Open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the 1 train to 242nd Street station and walk to the park from there.
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Rockefeller Center Is In Many Ways The Epicenter Of Mid
It was the vision of John D. Rockefeller Jr., son of John D. Rockefeller, the oil magnate who founded what is today Exxon.
Construction of the Center commenced in 1931, with the majority of the complex finished by 1939. It is home to many of Americas most recognizable establishments. Radio City Music Hall, home of the world famous Rockettes. NBC studios where you can see live tapings of the Today Show, SNL and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. You can eat or have a drink at the iconic Rainbow Room, on the 65th floor, used in the movie, Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
Other prominent features to be found at Rockefeller Center, is the extraordinary artistic influences. The buildings design, art, sculptures, statues and color, are massively dominated by Art Deco, an extremely popular style of the early twentieth century.
Two examples of this are the statue of Atlas holding the world at the eastern side of the Rock Center, across Fifth Avenue from St. Patricks Cathedral. The other, is perhaps one of New Yorks most recognizable landmarks, the famed statue of Promethus overlooking the ice-skating rink.
I will continue my travelogue of Midtown again soon, but for now, these are some of the vast number of highlights to see when you visit New York.
If you have an experience in Mid Town to share, please email me, would love to hear about it. Until next time!
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Radio City Music Hall’s Secret Apartment
Everyone knows that Radio City Music Hall is the home of The Rockettes, and you’ve probably seen a show there, but did you know there is a secret apartment located in the building? The Art Deco-style apartment with 20-foot high ceilings covered in gold leaf was built for Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel, an entrepreneur who owned successful theatres in the city. Roxy would have some pretty famous people come over to his swanky apartment including Olivia de Havilland, known for her work in Gone With the Wind and The Adventures of Robin Hood and movie director Alfred Hitchcock. When Roxy passed in 1936, no one has lived in the apartment. Today, the swanky space is used for luxurious events.
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Broadway And The Theater District
Attending a Broadway show is one of the top things to do in New York City. Considered the pinnacle of American theater, this is the place to see the latest shows and the long-running classics.
Broadway usually refers simply to Broadway theater, which encompasses a large number of theater venues in the Theater District and along the street of Broadway. For the most popular shows, tickets should be purchased well in advance.
Shubert Alley is a famous pedestrian-only alley in the Theater District and home to two well-known playhouses: the Shubert on 221 West 44th Street and the Booth at 22 West 45th Street. Historically, aspiring actors would frequent Shubert Alley looking for opportunities to perform in a play sponsored by theater baron, Sam S. Shubert.
A Chorus Lineplayed at The Shubert for a record 6,137 shows. The musical Oklahomadebuted in 1941 at the St. James playhouse just down the street. Other legendary places include Sardi’s restaurant, where many famous actors met, and the Music Box Theater, where Irving Berlin staged The Music Box Revue in 1921.
Top 25 Touristy Things To Do In Manhattan
Lets face it, were all tourists once in awhile especially when visiting New York City. In such a large city with so many things to do, you should embrace your inner tourist and head out there to explore all the touristy things to do in Manhattan with a purpose and a mission.
New York City is one of my favorite cities in the world. It is like no other place so crammed and concentrated into one small island, yet offering a world of options and experiences. You cant possible dream of covering in just one trip, even if you fall in love and end up staying for years!
There is so much to explore in Manhattan, alone, that you could spend weeks seeing them all. That is why weve curated a list of the top 25 touristy things to do in Manhattan to give you a great head start when exploring this vibrant and amazing city.
Many of the attractions in Manhattan are included in the New York CityPASS, which can save you a load of money.
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Visit The Evolution Store
Quirky to the extreme:
The Evolution Store is tucked away inside of New York Citys ever-trendy, SOHO, art district.
Take some time to look past all of the posh AF, galleries du jour here, and youll discover this distinctive, wood-paneled shop, which is brimming over with natural curiosities like framed butterflies, animal skulls, seashells, fossils, medical models, and more.
All of the staff here are beyond helpful and are only too happy to answer any questions that you have about any of the high-quality items for sale here.
Because every beyond bizarre item sold here is of the highest quality and acquired from the same high-caliber businesses that supply some of the citys biggest museums.
Everything here really s totally legit.
Dont leave before taking a quick peek at the shops super-rad, giant sloth skeleton. Cuz all my fellow science nerds out there really will think this specimen is rad to the extreme.
Address: 687 Broadway, New York, New York, 10012
Admission Fee: FREE!
Hours: Open Sunday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the 4, 5, or 6 train to Bleeker Street and walk to the store from there.
Top Tourist Attractions In New York City
The largest and most populated city in the USA, New York City is often called the city that never sleeps because it is constantly buzzing with activity. Full of arts, culture, endless restaurants and a night sky where the stars are replaced by bright skyscrapers, New York is a magical place. Loud, boisterous and impatient, Manhattan especially, is a high energy place. Events dont just happen here, they happen with a bang.
With so much to see and do in the city, it can be overwhelming to a New York novice. This comprehensive list outlines the top tourist attractions in New York City that travelers wont find anywhere else. From Broadway to One World Trade Center, weve got them all here.
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Enjoy A Brief Moment Of Solitude At The New York Chinese Scholars Garden
The quiet beauty of the Chinese Scholars Garden in Staten Island, New York City.
One of just two classic, outdoor, Chinese-style gardens in the United States:
The New York Chinese Scholars Garden is a wonderfully tranquil place that is perfect for a bit of quiet, self-reflection.
Built for the Snug Harbor Cultural Center:
This recreation of a traditional, Ming Dynasty Garden was originally constructed by 40 Chinese artisans who used nothing but traditional building techniques to design this complex in Suzhou City, China.
Once the masterpiece was complete:
The entire garden was then shipped all the way to the good old US of A, where it sits today, thrilling guests with its enchanting rock formations, bamboo forests, beautiful lilac trees, rhododendrons, and soothing waterfalls.
Chinese-style pavilions and bridges also abound here and allow guests to traverse exquisite, koi-filled ponds.
If you happen to be in Staten Island, then take some time to enjoy the gardens vast beauty, which is only accentuated by a dizzying array of Chinese paintings, mosaics, and calligraphy pieces.
Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, New York, 10301
Hours: Open October 1 through April 15 on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. And open April 15 through September 30 Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Broadway And 42nd Street
If youre into musicals and theater, theres no better place in the world to be than 42nd Street in New York City, especially at the crux of Broadway and Times Square, where youll be surrounded with Broadway musicals on every corner. The options are immense!
If you arent set on a specific show in advance, visit the TKTS discount ticket booths to save 20-50% on same-day or next-day tickets for performances. The options fluctuate and its always best to arrive early!
To see a specific show at a specific time, be sure to book your tickets in advance. Broadway.com is one of the best resources for finding shows, times, and tickets.
Tours You May Enjoy:
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Where To Stay In New York City For Sightseeing
The best way to truly experience New York is to stay in Manhattan, rather than trying to commute from the suburbs, which can be time consuming and a little tiring. The hotels mentioned below are all centrally located in Manhattan and close to many of the major attractions.
- is located in a great position near the Empire State Building.
- Hotel rates vary considerably depending on the season, but it’s usually possible to find a few quality budget hotels offering reasonable rates. Some popular, modestly-priced hotel options include the Econo Lodge Times Square, just north of Times Square.
- A little removed from the main attractions but still within walking distance of Bryant Park, Grand Central Terminal, and subway stops, Seton Hotel is a quaint boutique hotel.
- Near Seaton Hotel is the more modern and affordable Pod 39 Hotel, with funky, compact rooms featuring en-suite bathrooms, and sociable common areas.
Must Visit Places In Manhattan
Who doesnt want to visit the Capital of the World, The Big Apple, Gotham, or The City of Dreams? Dont know what I am talking about? New York City! There are so many different names for this special place, that you can easily get confused. But lets take a closer look at the heart of New York City: Manhattan and discover some of the must-visit places!
Even though New York City is made up of 5 different boroughs, no other borough offers so many iconic landmarks and places than Manhattan. Especially when you are a first time visitor, Manhattan should be on top of your New York City To-Do list. In this post, we listed our 20 must-visit places in Manhattan for you. And since we know how expensive a trip to NYC can be, 13 out of our 20 must-visit places in Manhattan are FREE of charge.
Since there is so much to see in Manhattan, you can imagine that some spots on our list are very touristy and crowded. We dont always enjoy that but usually, there is a good reason why it gets so busy around those attractions: they are unique to Manhattan and stunning! You dont want to miss them!
We are lucky enough to live 1.5 hours outside of Manhattan which allows us to visit the city whenever we want. As you can imagine, we travel to The Big Apple a lot! Thats why right now you will get a real insight from a local to explore this fascinating city!
1. Central Park
2. Bryant Park
3. The High Line
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