New York City is known for its iconic landmarks and popular tourist attractions, but hidden throughout the city are some truly amazing hidden gems. These lesser-known destinations offer a unique experience and a glimpse into the city’s history and culture. From an abandoned hospital to a glass waterfall tunnel, here are the top must-see hidden gems in NYC.
1. The Abandoned Smallpox Hospital
Located on the southern end of Roosevelt Island, the abandoned smallpox hospital is a hauntingly beautiful reminder of New York’s history. The Gothic-style building was designed by architect James Renwick Jr. and opened in 1856 to treat smallpox patients. The hospital was abandoned in the 1950s, and the building has since fallen into disrepair. However, it remains a popular spot for photographers and urban explorers.
Address: Roosevelt Island, New York, NY 10044
2. UN’s Meditation Room
The United Nations is a well-known international organization headquartered in NYC, but few people know about the UN’s Meditation Room. The serene space was created in 1957 as a place for people of all faiths to come together and meditate for peace. The room features a large abstract mural created by Swedish artist Bo Beskow, and the only natural light in the room comes from a single beam of light that shines down on a block of iron ore.
Address: United Nations Headquarters, 405 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
3. New York’s Glass Waterfall Tunnel
The glass waterfall tunnel is a hidden gem located in the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. The tunnel features a stunning 80-foot waterfall that cascades down the glass walls, creating a beautiful and mesmerizing display. The tunnel is free and open to the public during the center’s operating hours.
Address: Jacob Javits Center, 429 11th Ave, New York, NY 10001
4. Whispering Arch of Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station is a bustling transportation hub in the heart of Manhattan, but few people know about the Whispering Arch. The arch is located near the Oyster Bar and features a unique acoustic phenomenon. If two people stand at diagonal corners of the arch and whisper, they can hear each other’s words perfectly.
Address: Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
5. Time Square Sound Installation
Located in a pedestrian plaza in Times Square, the sound installation is a hidden gem that adds a unique and interactive element to the area. The installation features wooden benches equipped with built-in speakers that play a constantly changing soundscape. Visitors can sit and listen to the sounds of the city, or plug in their headphones and tune into the audio broadcast.
Address: Times Square, New York, NY 10036
6. The Little Tiny Doors
The Little Tiny Doors are a series of miniature art installations located throughout the city. The doors, which are only a few inches tall, are designed to blend seamlessly into their surroundings and are often placed in unexpected locations. Each door is unique and features intricate details and decorations. Finding these tiny doors is like going on a scavenger hunt, and they make for a fun and unique photo opportunity.
7. Pomander Walk
Pomander Walk is a hidden alleyway located on the Upper West Side. The walkway is lined with charming Tudor-style buildings and features a peaceful garden at the end. The alleyway was originally built in 1921 as a set for a Broadway play and has since become a beloved hidden gem in the city.
Address: Pomander Walk, New York, NY 10025
8. Old City Hall Subway Station
The Old City Hall Subway Station is a hidden gem located beneath the streets of New York City. This abandoned subway station opened in 1904 and was closed to the public in 1945 due to the curvature of the platform, which made it unsafe for modern subway cars.
Today, the station is used for special events and tours. It’s a unique opportunity to see a piece of New York City’s history that is rarely seen by the public. The station features a stunning vaulted ceiling, skylights, and intricate tile work.
Address: The entrance to the Old City Hall Subway Station is located at the intersection of Worth Street and Lafayette Street.