21 New York City secrets you didn’t know existed

Published On 07/28/2014 Published On 07/28/2014
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1. 77 Water Street Rooftop 77 Water Street, New York, NY 10005

This Downtown, 26-story office building in Wall Street has one of the best-kept secrets in New York: a World War I fighter plane. This aircraft, perched on 77 Water Street's rooftop, is and artistic re-imagining of 1916 British Sopwith Camel, and, sadly does not fly. This somewhat mysterious biplane, which was laid to rest on Wall Street in 1969, can be viewed from neighboring rooftops and high rises.

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2. Morbid Anatomy Museum 424 3rd Ave, Gowanus, NY 11215

You don't have to be a necrophiliac to appreciate this Brooklyn nonprofit's objets d'art. Exhibitions change, but the one thing that's certain about the items in this Gowanus death-tination is that they'll be exactly what the name promises: morbid. And if you want to collect your own specimen-in-a-jar, rest assured that yes, even a museum of anatomy comes with a gift shop.

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3. Coney Island Creek Coney Island Creek, Brooklyn, NY 11224

This Southern-tip-of-Brooklyn waterway features one of the little-known attractions of the area, a sunken submarine sticking out of the top of the water.

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4. Frank Lloyd Wright House 48 Manor Court, Staten Island, NY 10306

Also known as the Crimson Beech, this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed beauty from 1959 is still looking good, however it is a private residence so approaching it might not be the best idea.

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5. Rockefeller Center 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

Completed in 1933, RC was John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s gift to NYC residents and tourists alike -- a place where they could live, socialize, and embrace views of everyone's favorite city. Today, Rockefeller is home to NBC Studios, displays a giant Christmas tree and skating rink every Winter, shows off views from Top of the Rock, and more.

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6. Kissena Velodrome , Queens, NY 11355

Who needs the scenic French countryside to experience the thrill of bike racing when you can get the same (sorta) experience in Queens?

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7. Mott Haven Substation 415 Bruckner Blvd, Bronx, NY 10454

This is a Con Ed substation that was constructed in 2007 in the Bronx. It looks like a street of fancy row-houses you might find in a Florida subdivision, but it turns out that it's just a front for what keeps the neighborhood’s lights on.

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8. Schwartz Athletic Center DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The Long Island University basketball team use to play under the roof of the historic Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. Although the team now plays their games in a new facility, the gym still hosts the odd event now and again.

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9. Paley Park East 53rd & 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019

Paley Park and its cascading waterfall, which drowns out Midtown's hustle and noise, is a beloved secret gem in Manhattan. Hidden away on East 53rd St & 6th Ave, this tranquil pocket park features ivy walls, granite pavers, and marble tables nestled beneath a canopy of honey locust trees. Enter through an ornamental gate at 3 East 53rd and snag a table for a quiet escape.

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10. UN Delegates Dining Room United Nations Plaza, New York, NY

If you want to eat like a delegate but don't have the cash, there’s the UN Delegates Dining Room. For $35 you get a global lunch buffet -- assuming you can escape the office for a couple of hours on a weekday.

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11. Waldorf Astoria New York 301 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022

Declared an NYC landmark in the early '90s, the Waldorf-Astoria on Park Ave has long hosted eminent guests. But more important than the five-star, art-deco hotel's A-list clientele is its incredible all-you-can-eat brunch at its Peacock Alley Restaurant, which, though a bit pricey, is an experience in and of itself. The Waldorf is also home to La Chine and Bull and Bear Prime Steakhouse.

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12. Berlin Wall 520 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10079

Now covered in murals and serving as public art in a corporate Midtown public plaza are these sections of the actual Berlin wall.

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13. Wave Hill Garden 675 W 252nd St, Bronx, NY 10471

Despite the fact that Wave Hill Garden is situated in New York City, this somewhat unknown paradise supplies 28 acres of greenery and stunning views overlooking the Hudson River. The Wave Hill estate consists of public horticultural gardens and cultural center, along with shops, a small cafe, a number of flora-themed events and tours.

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14. Tabernacle of prayer 16511 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica, NY 11432

This grand palace was actually once a movie theater -- and it's kind of a bummer that you can't come here to see movies anymore, but it's worth dropping by just to see the beautiful interior alone.

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15. North Brother Island North Brother Island, Bronx, NY 10454

You're not technically allowed to visit this island (and by technically, we mean you are not allowed to visit the island at all), which is just as well -- the creepy bird sanctuary in the East River used to be inhabited by small pox- and other scary disease-laden patients.

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16. Forest Hills Gardens, NY Forest Hills Gardens, Forest Hills, NY 11375

You can walk or drive through this area, but the exclusive neighborhood is not a place you want to park -- without a permit, that is.