Secret NYC is the ultra-shareable online guide to news, events and things to do in New York City. From hidden bars and restaurants to fascinating museum exhibits and how to make the most of the city, Secret NYC highlights the best our vibrant city has to offer. A plant store by day, Cactus Shop in Williamsburg turns into a speakeasy Mexican canteen by night, with a charming outdoor patio perfect for the spring nights that have graced New York last week. It's clear that it's not a speakeasy in the truest sense of the word, but it certainly has the same kind of ambience.
Inside, customers will revel in a touching yet vibrant decor that is actually sourced directly from Mexico along with the equally authentic glasses (think black clay and hand-blown glasses). Pay special attention to the skeletons and sugar skulls that are placed all over the destination and call for Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. Daphne, a new underground location under the 50 Bowery Hotel in Chinatown by hospitality company Gerber Group, is a massive 2,500 square foot space. Customers are pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful installation of pink silk flowers made by the Floratorium art studio.
Dazzling disco balls also permeate the premises, reminding us of a time when the dance club you frequented was just as important as where your apartment was located. In addition to the club's exclusive bottle service, Daphne's waiters can serve some extraordinary cocktails ranging from classic to modern interpretations of form. For every dirty, old fashioned martini and margarita there is an Aphrodite (Malfy gin, fortified wine, pomegranate and fresh lemon), Lite My Fire (Patron silver tequila, ginger liqueur, fresh lime and flamed rosemary) and Cider Car (Hennessy, apple cider and apricot liqueur), among other options. Japan Village, which is both a food hall and a supermarket full of Japanese groceries, has expanded upwards with a second floor of 20,000 square feet called The Loft.
Here, visitors can basically enter a representation of Japan with cool stores with items straight from the country, as well as fun experiences such as tea ceremonies and cultural classes. It's not necessarily secret, but new and it's located above Japan Village. Chez Zou follows the story of Chef Madeline Sperling's popular and trendy Eastern Mediterranean restaurant, Zou Zou's, which was one of the most anticipated openings of autumn. The elegant place shares some of the original's design elements, such as arrangements of green vegetation and potted plants, vibrant jewel tones, and lush fabrics.
The cozy alcove bar seats six, and the armchairs, ottomans and curved stools are mapped onto a geometric black and white floor located a few floors above the restaurant. An outdoor terrace will also be used this spring. Chez Zou is on the fourth floor of Manhattan West Plaza at 385 Ninth Avenue. To enter, you'll drive past Zou Zou and take the elevator past the hosts stand, which opens to the VIP lounge.
Chez Zou is open for walk-in only. Dom (designed as DOM), an underground cocktail lounge in Gramercy, is a retro-future space, filled with high ceilings and elegant furniture intended to evoke “the image of a modern era The La Dolce Vita lifestyle can accommodate up to 50 people, exclusive to a private tasting room. The art program in various media is planned for a gallery space and an exhibition wall. Dom's opening cocktail menu is divided into Health & Beauty, Pain Relievers, Pain Relievers, Aphrodisiacs, Pharmaceuticals, Stimulants and Euphoric Enhancers categories.
Many beverages incorporate liquors such as walnut elderberry from owner Albert Trummer's namesake line. Cognac flavored cigar leaves in barrel-aged negroni (a pain reliever) and unspecified herbs from the south of France in large-format homemade absinthe (a euphoric enhancer) are among other notable ingredients. Trummer's Past Companies Include Final Headline by Apothéke. Dom is located at 287 Park Avenue South.
The entrance is on 22nd Street. Serafina, the Italian restaurant group with familiar yellow awnings and several locations in New York and beyond, quietly began operating its latest version, Serafina in the Sky, earlier this year. On Wednesday, February 16, the annex of the unprecedented Speakeasy theme show will be officially inaugurated. The new spot is a collaboration between Serafina and hospitality professional Karim Amatullah.
Unpublished is beyond a velvet curtain inside Serafina in the Sky, which is located on the lobby level of the Pod Hotel at 400 West 42nd Street, like the dolls nesting nightlife across Times Square. Share your menus with Serafina in the Sky, which serves crostini, charcuterie, and Italian guacamole to start with, as well as salads, pizza, pasta and general interest main courses. Beer, wine and cocktails are also available. Unpublished features a disco ball, candlelight velvet chandeliers and banquettes inside, and a retractable roof terrace outside.
It can accommodate 100 people, as long as they know the driveway. No, not through the curtain, the nebulous way in. Enter a four-digit code (es 492) in front of Nomad's iconic radio wave building to access Patent Pending, a dimly lit underground cocktail lounge inspired by a famous former tenant, inventor Nikola Tesla. Try Light Me Up with Bourbon and Rum, which powers mango and citrus black tea with a touch of bitter and Sichuan pepper.
Denny Daniel, from the Museum of Interesting Things, presents the Secret Speakeasy series, a museum benefit that takes place every month in a Soho loft. Each edition promises antique artifacts and 16mm films focusing on fascinating themes, along with the usual list of jazz music, antiques, delights of the past and a cash bar. While visiting New York City's top and most popular attractions can be fun, it can also be stressful, overwhelming and filled with tourists taking selfies. However, the best thing about the Big Apple is that there are many other attractions that are much less known or even hidden in plain sight.
To go beyond tourist-packed sites and tour the city as if you were seeing it for the first time, check out the 6-square-foot list before New York City's top 20 underground and secret spots. Photo by Shinya Suzuki on Flickr Photo by Jason Eppink on Flickr Located between the Marine Park and Jamaica Bay in south Brooklyn, lies a 20th century landfill known as Dead Horse Bay. Separated from the rest of New York City, the bay is covered with thousands of broken bottles, shards of glass and other indecomposable remains. The bay first received its name in the 1850s, when horse riding plants still surrounded the beach.
From the 1850s to the 1930s, corpses of dead horses and other animals from the streets of New York City were used to make glue, fertilizer, and other products on site. As more people started driving cars instead of horses and carts, the swamp became a landfill. Completely filled with garbage in the 1930s, the sink had to be covered. Then, in the 1950s, the cap broke and garbage leaked onto the beach and continues to do so today.
While not exactly a scenic harbor trip, visitors to Dead Horse Bay will take away treasures from New York's past, some even 100 years old. The Radio City Music Hall, opened in 1932, is an icon of New York City, home to the famous Rockettes. Designed by architect Edward Durrell Stone and interior designer Donald Deskey, Radio City is known for its Art Deco decor, luxurious curtains, gold leaf and incredible murals. While millions have visited the music hall since it opened, many don't realize that there is a secret apartment, built for Samuel “Roxy Rothafel”, a businessman who owns some of Times Square's first successful theaters.
In the middle of the East River, between Manhattan and Queens, is Roosevelt Island, known for its tram that takes it between the island and Manhattan. However, the land, formerly known as Blackwell's Island, has a bit of a spooky history. As a way to quarantine people with smallpox from the rest of the city, a hospital was built on the island to treat them in 1856. Designed by James Renwick Jr.
Patrick's Cathedral, the hospital had a neo-Gothic style. From 1856 to 1875, Renwick Hospital treated approximately 7,000 patients per year. In 1875, the building was converted into a nurses' dormitory and the smallpox hospital was moved to North Brothers Island. The hospital left behind quickly became useless and was abandoned by the city in the 1950s.
In 1975, the Commission for the Preservation of Historical Monuments declared it a monument to the city and reinforced. While there are rumors of ghosts escaping the ruins, the only creatures that take charge include a group of stray cats. In fact, the site has become something of a feline sanctuary. Photo via narcissistic tendencies flickr The CC The Freedom Tunnel, which runs three miles below Riverside Park from West 72nd to West 122nd Streets, was first built by Robert Moses in the 1930s to expand the park's space for Upper West Side residents.
It was used for freight trains until 1980, when its operations stopped and the tunnel became a haven for homeless New Yorkers and graffiti artists. Artist Chris “Freedom Pape” first arrived at the tunnel in 1974 and began painting works of art throughout. For those who want to learn more about New York City's graffiti culture, it's possible, but somewhat dangerous, to get to the Freedom Tunnel. Amtrak continues to use the tunnel, so explorers need to stay alert.
Find the entrance to the tunnel by taking the subway to 125th Street, sliding through a gap between a fence and following the tracks until you reach the tunnel. Photo by Britta Gustafson on Flickr While the hidden track stopped being used in the 1960s and 1970s, some believe Andy Warhol sneaked to the railroad to throw a clandestine party. In the 1980s, the abandoned track became the home of many squatters. While the station is now mostly made up of dirt and soot, an old train car remains parked there.
There are currently no public tours available on Track 61, but it is known that those trained to be Grand Central teachers are offered tours. Rhododendrites photo via Wikimedia Commons Lovers of America's hidden history should head to the northern section of Central Park. Blockhouse No, 1 or Blockhouse is still the second oldest structure in the park. First built in 1812 to defend against the British, the structure sits on the edge of a high precipice above the bottom of Harlem and Morningside Heights.
At its peak, the fort was home to 2,000 New York militiamen. Since the British never attacked New York City, the Blockhouse was never used during combat. Occasionally, Urban Park Rangers offer tours, but generally, the building remains closed and solo exploration trips are not allowed. In 1945, the newest and longest cars on the subway no longer fit on the curved tracks of the City Hall station, and it was out of service.
Nowadays, the New York City Transit Museum occasionally offers tours of the abandoned station, but you can also check it out if you stay on the Downtown 6 train after it leaves the Brooklyn Bridge station, when it passes through the City Hall station to return to the city. Photo via the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Photo by Gaurav1146 on Wikimedia After the Berlin Wall was torn down, parts of it were shipped around the world, including five pieces that fell in New York City. The pieces of concrete include works of art by artist Thierry Noir, who began painting the west side of the Berlin Wall in the 1980s, to make the wall a little less threatening. A 20-foot section of the wall is located at 520 Madison Avenue, which Jerry Speyer of Tishman Speyer originally purchased in 1990 from the East German government.
The five bright panels were visible from the street for many years, but were recently moved to the building's lobby in an effort to preserve the historic slabs. Fortunately, the lobby remains open to the public every day. The 26-story tower at 77 Water Street in the financial district is not your typical office building. At the top of the roof is a World War I fighter plane and in the lobby there is a one-cent candy store.
The William Kaufman Organization first built the office tower in 1970 and hoped to decorate the ceiling with something unique, allowing workers to free themselves from their confined office environments. While some speculated that the plane landed on top of the building, it's actually just an artistic replica of a British Sopwith Camel from 1916.Another whimsical touch to the building includes a turn-of-the-century penny candy store. The store remains open to the public, with signs for old brands and a striped awning. The Umbrella House roof garden, photo via Wikimedia Commons What began as squatters who seized an abandoned city building at 21 Avenue C on the Lower East Side, later became a successfully managed affordable housing cooperative.
When squatters first moved around 1980, they discovered a leaking roof. To prevent water from dripping on their heads, the inhabitants used umbrellas, giving way to the name of the building. Nearly 15 years ago, New York City granted the squatters of Umbrella House the rights to 11 buildings they had taken. After many years of renovations and improvements, the building recently built an 820-square-foot urban garden on its roof, run by volunteers.
Every year, residents paint old umbrellas and hang them from the fire escape as a way to honor the building's history. The city is full of secrets. You just have to know where to look for them. From forgotten mysterious events to modern secrets hidden in plain sight, Secrets of New York's mission is to uncover the mysteries of the city, both past and present.