Secret Underground Spaces Around Crown Finish Caves. A brewery first appeared in Brooklyn at the intersection of Bergen Street and Franklin Avenue in 1849. Back in Manhattan, the Financial District (FiDi) offers several hidden experiences that the casual observer can't easily miss. There is the Federal Gold Reserve, the largest concentration of gold in the world, locked under the streets in the legendary vault.
Few would expect these well-protected assets to be open to the public, but public tours are a common feature; however, visitors should request one month in advance for security reasons. Meanwhile, nearby 77th Water Street is full of unexpected finds, including a replica of a turn-of-the-century penny candy store that is actually open to the public. 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. It's no surprise that New York retains its fascination for many travelers, with its iconic skyscrapers and landmarks, yet for those who are content to delve deeper and away from the most obvious tourist traps, the city opens its doors to a real understanding of what it means to be a New Yorker. They had now been to almost every borough in New York, and Duncan and Kagge wanted to walk through a storm sewer that emptied into Jamaica Bay. In the past, the city sometimes tried to calm concerns about New York's water system, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted in a 2003 news conference that old pipes were “very vulnerable” and that “this city could get on its knees if one of the aqueducts collapsed.”.
With its huge skyscrapers, striking Broadway performances and endless traffic, it's easy to forget that there's more to New York than its shiny surface, literally. . .