- Taina A./Yelp
New York City is packed with sites for tourists and locals to enjoy. Most – like the Empire State Building, Times Square, and the Statue of Liberty – are widely known.
But throughout the massive city, there are plenty of hidden attractions and secrets that might surprise even some locals. There’s a 25-foot waterfall flowing in the middle of Manhattan, for example.
In the midst of this exciting city with so many famous attractions, don’t be afraid to explore the hidden gems.
Courtney Verrill contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.
There’s a nearly invincible statue in Battery Park.
While the Twin Towers were completely destroyed during the 9/11 attacks, this metallic sphere sculpture, located in the middle of the towers, somehow remained standing. It was designed by German sculptor Fritz Koenig in 1971. Since 9/11, it has been moved to Battery Park, where it still remains standing to this day. The sphere has become a symbol of hope and strength.
You can still visit a subway stop that has been closed since 1945.
- Marc A. Hermann, MTA New York City Transit
Gaining access to the now-closed City Hall subway station is difficult. While the New York Transit Museum hosts tours through the facility, you still have to pass a background check just to get in, and the waiting list fills up quickly. MTA train conductors on the 6 subway line get to see it regularly, though – after the downtown 6 train makes its last stop at the Brooklyn Bridge station, it travels through the old City Hall subway to make its way back uptown.
There’s a place in Staten Island where old boats go to die.
- Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
On the edge of Staten Island lie hundreds of old, rusty boats at the Arthur Kill Ship Graveyard. Some boats and their parts date back to before World War I. The site is popular with both photographers and historians. It cannot be viewed on foot but is accessible by kayaks through tours by Kayak East. Be careful of trespassing – the boat graveyard has a residential neighbor.
A 25-foot waterfall flows in Midtown.
In Greenacre Park in Midtown, located on 51st Street between 3rd Avenue and 2nd Avenue, a 25-foot waterfall is a welcome respite. Built in 1971, the park and waterfall create some beautiful scenery in the otherwise urban area.
This cemetery in Brooklyn is the nation’s second most-visited tourist attraction, right behind Niagara Falls.
The beautiful Charlotte Canda grave at Brooklyn's historic @historicgreenwood the day after the storm! She died in a horse carriage accident in New York returning from her 17th birthday party at Waverly Place and Broadway. Near by, lies her fiancé, Charles Albert Jarrett de la Marie, who committed suicide. Found and photographed by @lukejspencer #atlasobscura #urbex #curiousity #adventure #hidden #amazing #photooftheday #picoftheday #travel #wonder #charlottecanda #greenwoodcemetery
Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn was one of America’s first rural cemeteries and is now a National Historic Landmark. It is 478 acres, and has 560,000 permanent residents – including Civil War generals and baseball legends. The site has spectacular scenery, beautiful sculptures, and even historical trolly tours for $15.
An original piece of the Berlin Wall is in Midtown.
- Jason Eppink/Flickr
After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, pieces were divided up and sold. A part of the famed wall made its way to New York City and has since moved to an outdoor plaza at 520 Madison Avenue.
There’s an aerial tram that takes you over the East River.
There’s a narrow island called Roosevelt Island in the East River. Since it’s mostly residential, it’s not very popular for tourists – but don’t let that stop you from going on the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram. The tram uses the same MetroCard system as the subway, and has the same fares ($2.75 per ride). Traveling at 3,100 feet, it holds up to 110 people and makes about 115 rides per day. The tram offers a unique view of Manhattan’s skyline.
The benches in Central Park tell a story.
Chocolate may be higher up on the list for me today.???? ???????????????????????????????????????????? #centralparkbenches #centralpark #sheepmeadow #instagoodmyphoto #justgoshoot #gramsbestcaptures #killeverygram #passionpassport #lonelyplanet #weekendwalkabout #createandexplore #discoveraround #peoplescreative #icapture_nyc #nycprime_ladies #thisisnewyorkcity #nyc #seeyourcity #postcardsfromtheworld #made_in_ny #instagramnyc #newyork_instagram #livewithpurpose #love #lovewithpassion #laugh #laughoften #chocolate #keepcalmandeatchocolate #gotchocolate
Central Park has thousands of benches for people to sit down and enjoy the view. As it turns out, each bench has its own story, literally. There are quotes written on the benches, ranging from beautiful love stories to silly limericks. The Adopt-a-Bench program started in 1986 to help fund and maintain the beauty of Central Park. Anyone can get any quote engraved on a bench with a donation of $10,000.
Alice can be found not only in Wonderland, but in Central Park.
A statue of Alice in Wonderland has stood in Central Park since 1959. Located on the east side of the park at 75th Street, the statue is very popular with children, who love to climb over it and explore its hiding places. Philanthropist George Delacorte had it built in memory of his late wife. His nonsensical poem, “The Jabberwocky,” is engraved on the statue.
There’s an interesting way to tell a secret at Grand Central.
Grand Central Terminal has dozens of stores and food shops, but there is also a secret archway where you can whisper secrets into the walls. When two people stand at the diagonal arches in front of the Oyster Bar & Restaurant, and whisper into the walls, the person on the opposite archway is able to hear the whispers clearly.
Want to let off some steam? Visit the gun range located in Manhattan.
- Taina A./Yelp
Hidden downstairs in the Dezer Building, located at 20 West 20th Street, is the Westside Rifle & Pistol Range. That’s right – a 50-foot gun range, right in the middle of Manhattan. They offer a membership, FFL services, rentals, and training.