Secret Historical Landmarks and Hidden Gems in NYC
If you’re hoping to avoid the crowds at popular New York tourist traps, consider a visit to these secluded (but incredible) spots instead. There’s no denying the magic of visiting the Statue of Liberty, or spending a night out in Times Square. But let’s face it sometimes, you’re not in the mood to jostle elbows with the hordes of tourists that flock to these destinations. If you can’t bear the thought of standing in line at the MoMA or the Met, consider a visit to one of these hidden historical treasures:
1. City Hall Station
When you think of a New York City subway station, chances are the images aren’t pleasant dirty, sweaty, and crowded are all adjectives that might come to mind. A visit to City Hall station, however, could very well change that perception. This beautifully built (but since abandoned) stop is replete with glass tiles, skylights, and stunning chandeliers. Although you must be a member of the New York Transit Museum to receive a tour, a trip to this hidden gem is certainly worth the price of admission.
2. Abandoned Hospital on Roosevelt Island
Built in the 1850’s, this deteriorating landmark was originally a smallpox hospital, but has not been functional in nearly seventy years. Declared a landmark in the mid-1970s, the hospital was preserved in its dilapidated state, and is only now beginning to be renovated. So catch the F train to Roosevelt Island and admire this still unaltered piece of history before reconstruction begins in earnest.
3. Kings Theater
Although it first opened back in the 1920’s, Kings Theatre reopened following major renovations just last year, making it a perfect destination for those looking to avoid the regular theater crowds. Combining old world glamour with new-age music, Kings Theatre is the perfect venue for history buffs who also like to rock out.
4. Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill
If you find yourself overwhelmed by New York’s cutting-edge architecture, a visit to the quaint (yet quirky) Vinegar Hill might be in order. Named after a battle that took place during Ireland’s 1798 rebellion, Vinegar Hill boasts 19th-century architecture and cobblestone streets, giving it a vintage feel. Don’t let its old-timey visage fool you, though stop into one of Vinegar Hill’s well-loved restaurants (like the Vinegar Hill House), and make the most of your time in this edgy enclave.
5. High Bridge
Running from Manhattan to the Bronx, High Bridge is the oldest bridge in New York City. In 2015, after being closed for nearly 40 years, this historic bridge was reopened as a pedestrian walkway. Stroll across the Harlem River (and nearly two hundred years of history) as you leave bustling Manhattan for the dense foliage on the south shore of the Bronx.
6. General Theological Seminary
Nestled away in an otherwise crowded Chelsea neighborhood, the General Theological Seminary is an oasis, removed from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city. Behind the tall iron gates lies a peaceful, grassy courtyard in which you can pause for anything from a picnic with friends to a solitary moment of reflection. The seminary often plays host to special events, so check the schedule the next time you stop by.
7. Red Hook Grain Elevator
Located in Brooklyn, this century-old relic boasts some of the best views in all of New York. Featuring huge, windowless silos, this long-abandoned factory provides a serene overlook of New York’s famous skyline. Authorities are beginning to crack down on trespassers, though, so enter at your own risk unless you have permission to tour the premises, it might be better to admire the dilapidated building from afar. (Image Credit: Whitney Cox/Facebook)