Discover the 14 Best Kept Secrets of New York City

One of the most beautiful cities in the world and certainly one that many of us wish to visit is best known for Times Square, Manhattan, Fifth Avenue, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park. But did you know that there are also so many beautiful and interesting places in New York that are well hidden and only available if you know the right street/corner/phone number? Read on and find out how to find some of the New York’s best kept secrets suggested on Quora

1 – PDT (Please Don’t Tell)

Even the name of this bar tells you it is kind of a secret. Please don’t tell that if you go inside a phone booth in the Crif Dogs restaurant on St. Marks Place and press the buzzer once (only once!), one of the walls will open and let you inside a small bar. If you get your approval and sit here, not only will you get to enjoy the sense of adventure and great cocktails, you will also be able to order food from Crif Dogs’ kitchen. This cool cooperation between the two will make the feeling complete and you won’t regret trying to find it. It would, by the way, be a good idea to call up front to make a reservation – and do it as soon as the bar opens (at 3 p.m.). If you wait, you might lose your seat…

2 – Bathtub Gin

If you ever come near Stone Street Coffee Company in Chelsea, try pushing some walls and don’t be surprised if the back one moves and opens up to show you a bar. You can recognize the wall by the red light that marks it and, possibly, a bouncer who looks pretty awkward standing in front of what appears to be a wall. When you get inside you will find yourself in a fake Victorian bar (since it is a pretty new place) with a copper bathtub in the middle. Remember to take a photo with (or in?) it for Facebook! So get down to drinking the cocktails they have to offer – apparently, it is kind of a tradition to get drunk and then post the photo in the tub on all social networks…

3 – The Player’s Club

This club was founded by Edwin Booth. Does this name ring a bell? Well, it may be because this gentleman’s younger brother was Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Yep, well, it seems like the older brother (who was an actor as well) wanted to make a better memory of himself, so he decided to open a club. It started as a “gentlemen’s club”, and the idea was to help actors get in touch with men of other professions, like bankers, writers, journalists, lawyers and sport players. Booth equipped the place with his own furniture and works of art, and made a grand opening on December 31st 1888. The name came from one of the speeches from Shakespeare’s “As you like it” and was suggested by one of its first members. Some of the famous members of this club were Joseph Jefferson, Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain. By the way, if you become a member today, you will get the chance to play pool on Mark Twain’s table! You can find the application on their web page – and ladies, it is now open for you too!

4 – Angel’s Share

Something a little different when it comes to clubs is this Japanese speakeasy in the East Village called Angel’s Share. So if you are into anything that comes from Japan, and even if you are not, you should check this place outif you manage to find it. Don’t get confused if you go to the address (8 Stuyvesant Street in the East Village, between Second and Third Avenue) and find yourself in a restaurant with flashing red lanterns and loud music. Don’t worry, you are at the right place… kinda. What you need to do at this point is find an unmarked door on the left. Open it and you will see that there is actually a bar behind it – a bar with Japanese waiters in tuxedos and silent jazz music playing. Try some of the Japanese snacks and interesting drinks while enjoying the view (New Yorkers recommend the winter when there is a snowstorm outside).

5 – The Raines Law Room

Hidden behind a black unmarked door on West 17th Street is another one of New York’s hidden clubs, the Raines Law Room. Find the door and ring the bell to get in and have a really special experience of airplane service… on the ground. What does that mean? It means that each table in this bar has a button that you can use any time to call a steward… uh, sorry, server… and ask for whatever you need. There is a long list of different cocktails you may want to try. You can make a reservation anytime from Sunday to Tuesday by writing to their e-mail address and stating the exact time you will arrive and your phone number. Without a reservation you may end up having to wait for a long time for this unique experience.

6 – Employees Only

It was ranked one of the best cocktail bars in the world, the bar exists for ten years – is there anything else you need to hear? It may be a little hard to find, but it is worth it: other than amazing cocktails you don’t want to miss when visiting the Big Apple, you will also have a chance to taste some really amazing food. Recommended by many New Yorkers, the bar is practically always full. Like we mentioned before, the trick is just to find it, and here is how: look for the red neon sign for a psychic and live tarot reader in the Hudson Street, somewhere between Christopher and West 10 Street. If you are good enough to find it, you will be rewarded and also may have a chance to get a live tarot reading!

7 – Jim Mackin’s Weekday Walks

Now, if you are done checking out the secret clubs, how about some culture and history tours? Jim Mackin is there to take you around New York and some of its hidden secrets every Wednesday at 10 p.m. And he does it for free (although you can make a donation if you want). If you want to get to know the architecture, history and culture that of this city, especially the parts that are not so widely familiar, you should join Jim and see all that he has to offer. The participants of the walk meet in a different place every time, so be sure to check out his website in order to find out where the next one is going to be. Good luck discovering New York!

8 – This Is My Home

While we’re talking about great and super-nice New Yorkers, here’s another one. Anthony Pisano lives in the East Village and has probably one of the most amazing New York homes. His house is a kind of a museum featuring all kinds of antiques and artifacts from his journeys all over the world. Anthony is happy to show every stranger around the house, just warning them up front that nothing in there is for sale. There was also a short movie made about him by Departure Arrival Films, so take a look at it to see what it is all about.  The people who went to his place say that he is unbelievably friendly and always ready to show you around. Find his place somewhere on East 7th Street, between Avenue A and 1st Avenue.

9 – Shakespeare in the Park

Well we’ve all heard of Central Park, but have you heard of a manifestation that happens there every June and July? Basically it is a bunch of Shakespeare’s plays that you can watch out in the open, for free. The plays are held at the Delacorte Theater in the park and the only downside is that you have to wait in line to get your ticket. So the best advice that we can give you is to go there as early as possible and make sure you get your ticket for “Romeo and Juliet” or whichever is your favorite. If you hate waiting in lines, here’s another tip for you: there is a Virtual Ticketing lottery on the manifestation’s website, so you may also want to try there.

10 – Jefferson Market Garden

Jefferson Market Garden is a small community garden in the Greenwich Village that used to be a women’s prison. Now, you can go there to relax and read a book or just take a walk and enjoy the view. The neighbors and volunteers take care of it, keeping it as beautiful as ever. There is also a public library in the neighborhood – a beautiful Gothic Victorian building that used to be a courthouse. Don’t think that there is nothing to enjoy in this garden – the garden itself should be enough to make you feel peaceful and joyful, the colors and the nature around you in the center of a big and fast city can make your life slow down for at least several minutes. Enjoy it while you can.

11 – City Hall Central Station

This station was opened in 1904 and was intended to be the crown jewel of the New York subway. It was created to be the most beautiful station, sort of like the Grand Central Station, just smaller – it had brass textures along with skyline lights and many other features that became unavailable for everyone when it was closed only a few decades later, in 1945. There were some attempts to make a museum out of it, but … well, they were unsuccessful. Although there was so much money and imagination invested in this station, now no one can see it… except for a few people who know what to do. Prepare to become one of those people. There is a catch: the line 6 still uses this station as a turnaround point, and even though the drivers used to make everyone leave the train after the Brooklyn Bridge stop, apparently they have changed their minds. Now they will let you stay in and have a glimpse of this hidden beauty. So, what are you still doing at your computer?

12 – Audience Extras

It is not really a place, but rather a service – an awesome service to be exact. Sign up on their website and you can get plenty of complementary tickets for some shows that are under-publicized, expecting a reviewer to attend or just wish to benefit from a full house. So, when some of these situations happen, you can just pick the show that you like (there is over a thousand of them per year) and go to watch it for $3.50! It usually happens in some of the less popular theaters, but you never know, sometimes even some Broadway shows are available – so be sure to check their page regularly!

13 – Obscura Antiques & Oddities

If you have ever watched the show “Oddities” on Science Channel, this is where it takes place. The store is open for everyone who likes to buy interesting, odd and old stuff. So if you would like to buy an old set of tarot cards, ancient figurines, outdated toys and comics… or anything that is not commonly sold at the supermarket, this is the place to go. Many pleased customers will tell you that the owners are extremely friendly and open for negotiation, and they don’t even mind if you spend hours just browsing through the cool stuff they keep there… and even touch them (just be sure to ask first). How to find them? They have recently relocated to Manhattan’s 207 Avenue A, and are open from noon till 8 p.m. More info here.

14 – Economy Candy

For all of you sweets lovers, this may be the revelation of the year. This is a treat for both your eyes and your mouth. It is the greatest store in the world if you are interested in getting them cheap and being able to pick out of thousands of different kinds. It has been around since the Great Depression and the cool thing is that there you can find some of the vintage candy that is nowhere else to be found, like mega lollipops, pez and wax lips, as well as the modern ones like M&M’s. If you don’t believe it, just check out their website. And – they are not going to be too hard for your wallet – just like the name says. This, of course, depends on your cravings, so if you plan to buy several of each kind, you might want to think of bringing some extra cash.  So, next stop: 108 Rivingston Street, Economy Candy.


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