Beyond the Tourist Attractions: 16 Bucket List Must-Dos for ‘Real’ New Yorkers
Lately, a running theme on social media has been to remind New Yorkers just how amazing their city is.
But New York City has so much to offer beyond the attractions most known to tourists.
If you live here, there are dozens of options available to you at any time. If you’re visiting, and want to go off the beaten path a little bit, here are some suggestions for you.
1. Walk among the tombstones
Don’t be scared, and no, it’s not morbid. Greenwood Cemetery, south of Prospect Park in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, used to compete with Niagara Falls as New York State’s most popular tourist draw in days of yore.
It’s first on this list because this writer lives close by to it, and can personally attest to the beauty and incredible views of the surrounding areas the Cemetery’s vantage points provide.
2. Hang with history
The Morris-Jumel mansion (MJM) was built in 1765, and has been visited by a cavalcade of who’s who in American history, not the least of whom was George Washington himself.
It’s been a museum since 1904,and has been visited by Queen Elizabeth II amongst countless others. It serves as a solid reminder of how deep New York’s history really is.
3. Have a drink– if you can find it
It stands for Please Don’t Tell, and it's a bar hidden away on St. Mark's Place. You won’t find a sign for it, and you have to go in through another joint, Crif Dogs. Once you gain access to PDT, you will gain access to arguably some of the best cocktails in the city.
4. Visit your neighbors from the past
It doesn’t look like a museum; it looks like an old storefront. But The City Reliquary is one of the world’s best sources on colloquial New York exotica. It hosts block parties, movies, and even concerts in its backyard.
The City Reliquary is a non-profit civically funded connection to the people of New York past.
5. Explore a castle's grounds
James Bailey, of the storied Barnum and Bailey Circus, built this, well, castle in Harlem in 1886. There’s a freakin’ castle in Harlem! How awesome is that?
In those days, the feeling was that Harlem was going to be the next 5th Avenue, so that’s why this 80,000+ square foot citadel was constructed there, along with the grounds which would become known as The Grey Gardens.
It’s been a funeral home, and was once overrun by wild dogs, but Bailey House and the adjoining Grey Gardens are undergoing renovation for a new day.
6. Bask in greatness
There are 98 bronze busts of eminent people at The Great American Hall of Fame, including President Franklin Roosevelt, Eli Whitney, George Westinghouse, and Alexander Graham Bell. The Hall can be found on University Avenue in the Bronx. If you’re not a fan of breathtaking views of The Cloisters in an open air promenade, then you shouldn’t go.
7. Watch your favorite show
Formerly known as The Museum of Television and Radio, the Paley Center for Media was renamed for William Paley in 2007. The attraction is simple; if you like television, then you will like this place. It’s a shrine to, and a theater for, everything you are already familiar with, and it’s shocking that there’s nothing to match it anywhere else.
8. Buy clothes from a 'hole in the wall'
But first you have to find it. We’ll help you out. At 54 Clinton Street there is what appears to be an arcade. But that photo booth isn’t what it seems, it’s the entrance to Community 54. Inside you’ll find top-of-the-line vintage wear and the store’s own brand of shirts and hats, styled after the Brooklyn Dodgers logo.
It isn’t the cheapest, but it’s the coolest, and the shopping experience at Community 54 is like no other.