Ah, the Big Apple. New York City that never sleeps and always forgets to throw its garbage in the trash can. So it goes. Life moves pretty fast in Manhattan, if you don’t watch you, you totally get hit by a cab. While not everybody is meant to live in New York City, people from all over the world dream of the day when they get to make their first visit.
Everybody knows that the quintessential vacation to New York City needs to include a trip to at least three of the following places: Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the original Nathan’s Hot Dog stand, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, One World Trade Center, Broadway, and of course the bathroom in the Hilton Hotel in midtown (okay, so that one’s not mandatory, but most tourists end up going there anyway, sometimes more than once).
However, the next time you’re in New York, instead of taking the same trip that your mother AND grandmother took back in the day, why don’t you try out some of New York’s more offbeat tourist attractions. Isn’t it way more fun to be an original then just another wayward sheep? Here are a list of a few places that definitely aren’t in your grandmother’s guide book.
Green-Wood Cemetery. Okay, so graveyards a bit morbid, but hey, there’s a lot of history buried in that ground. The cemetery is the final resting place for numerous notable New Yorkers, including Jean-Michael Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein, and William “Boss” Tweed. That and it’s also home to one of the biggest points in all of Brooklyn: Battle Hill. Open daily from 8AM-5PM (sorry, no midnight visits).
The Troll Museum. The Troll Museum is exactly what it sounds like, and all you have to do to get there is walk up six flights of stairs. Located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Troll Museum is run by a self-proclaimed “trollologist” named Reverend Jen and her Chihuahua. Admission is free and by appointment only, so please remember to call ahead of time.
New York City – Roosevelt Island
Part of the joy of going to Manhattan is being able to get away from it all by jumping on a train. One such train will take you to Roosevelt Island, home to the ruins of the long-deserted Smallpox hospital. If you liked Green-Wood Cemetery, then you’ll love Roosevelt Island.
Socrates Sculpture Park. Whether you like to spend your free time looking at art or taking selfies in nature, Socrates Sculpture Park is the place for you. Developed in 1986 by a bunch of artists and activists (read: hippies), this 4.5 acre city park is always full of things to see and people to watch. You have to go to Long Island City, Queens to go there, but it’s definitely worth the trip. Open from 10AM-6PM daily.
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Okay, so maybe this one is in your grandmother’s guide, but since you’re going to so many weird places anyway, you might at least throw something her way. Even if you’re not traveling with anybody over the age of sixty, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are still really beautiful and close to Prospect Park (which is way better than Central Park) and a handful of restaurants that you’re going to want to go to. Come for the flowers, stay for everything else. Welcome to Brooklyn. Open from 8AM-6PM during the week, form 10AM-6PM on the weekend, and never on Mondays.
The 6 Train. New Yorkers don’t really like riding the subway, but the 6 train does pack a little-known secret: an old subway station that’s been inactive for 69 years, but doesn’t look a day past its prime. All you have to do to get there is hop on any Brooklyn-bound 6 train and instead of getting off at Brooklyn Bridge (the last stop), just stay on and enjoy the ride.