tours

5 places in New York City that you never knew existed

One of the main pillars of my content here on the blog and on my Youtube channel is to show people that New York City goes beyond the Empire State, Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. In fact, New York City goes beyond Manhattan. This city is always reviving itself, it is a different city every season, it has new things every month. It is no wonder that most travelers, after visiting the city for the first time, keep coming back here. As a content creator and passionate about the city, I love to discover, explore and share these spots outside the tourist area. If you live in New York City and are looking for different things to do or if you are coming here and want to skip the traditional route, here are some tips for places that are worthwhile!

Flushing, Queens – It is a neighborhood in Queens which is about 30-40 minutes from Manhattan and provides an incredible cultural immersion. To give you an idea, the Chinese-immigrant population of Flushing, Queens, surpassed that of Manhattan’s Chinatown years ago. Roughly two-thirds of the residents in this bustling Queens neighborhood are foreign-born—the vast majority of them coming from Asia. You will probably feel like you are not in New York City. Unlike Manhattan’s Chinatown, I think Flushing is a much more cool and authentic region. And with several things to do.

My top picks:

  • Corona Park, to see the Unisphere;
  • Queens Museum, to check out Panorama, room-sized scale model of the five boroughs originally built for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and repeatedly updated since then;
  • Spring Shabu Shabu, hot pot restaurant.

To get there, you need to take the 7 train and get off at the last station – Flushing – Main St.

Plan your day:

Red Hook, Brooklyn – the area is home to smaller, artisanal businesses and factories. Its time-warp charm is still evident, and its decaying piers make a moody backdrop for massive cranes, empty warehouses and trucks clattering over cobblestone streets. If you never heard about it, it is where Ikea is located – but there is more than the famous furniture shopping at Red Hook! The quiet streets with cobblestones make you feel in a small country town. Rich in gastronomy, the area has restaurants and factories perfect for a day of tasting many delights. Because of the lack of nearby subway stations, the most convenient and fast way to get to Red Hook is using Water Taxi or NYC Ferry.

My top picks:

  • Wine tasting at Red Hook Winery;
  • Authentic Texas style BBQ at Hometown Bar-B-Que;
  • Ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery Factory and Museum.

You can catch Water Taxi or NYC Ferry at Pier 11.

Plan your day: 

City Island, The Bronx – City Island is a small island and a neighborhood approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long by 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide and a population of more than 4300 people. This island is part of The Bronx borough. Visit this place is to be transported to a small town with super beautiful landscapes and a great atmosphere. Because of its proximity to Long Island Sound, the island played a significant role in shipbuilding during the 19th and 20th centuries. It serviced boats traveling to and from the city, and its factories were instrumental in assembling minesweepers and tugboats for both World Wars. That changed in the 1980s when the already shaky boat construction industry all but evaporated. Today, the nautical history is preserved through the City Island Nautical Museum, which displays artifacts and documents that detail the neighborhood’s founding. City Island has retained a unique small-town, atmosphere frequently compared to that of a New England fishing village. The island is super famous for its seafood restaurants and antique shops.

My top picks:

  • Lunch at one of the seafood restaurants – my suggestion:  The Original Crab Shanty, with great portions and price;
  • Walking through the streets and seeing the charming houses;
  • Seeing the views from the end of Horton Street.

Hot to get there? Use the 6 subway line until Pelham Bay Park. Get the Bx29 bus.

Plan your day:

Governors Island –Governors Island is an island that opens only during a period of the year (between May and September). It is located in the southern part of Manhattan and has an amazing area for picnics and sports. The view is privileged: you can see Manhattan’s skyline and even the Statue of Liberty. The structure is great: there are restrooms, food trucks and bike rentals. Undoubtedly, a great place to spend a summer day! There are always special events there as well.

My top picks

  • Renting a bike to explore the island – there are CitiBike stations there;
  • Visiting the South of the island, known as The Hills. You will have 360 degrees views (like Manhattan’s skyline and the Statue of Liberty);
  • Having a picnic or event a drink at Island Oyster.

How to get there? The access to the island is made by a ferry every day during the season and the ticket (round trip) costs only $ 3! The place from where the ferry leaves – and where you buy the ticket – is next to the Staten Island Ferry, easy.

Plan your day:

Coney Island, Brooklyn –perhaps this place is known among tourists, but I thought it was worth the mention! Coney Island is a beach located in Brooklyn – and was featured on Beyonce’s video clip Xo (as well as movies and series). What makes Coney Island a special beach is the presence of the amusement park by the sea, with its iconic Ferris wheel, the environment, the vibe, the food. An unmissable thing to do in the spring/summer. I simply love it!

My top picks:

  • Walking at the boardwalk;
  • Trying the famous hot-dog from Nathan’s;
  • Ride the Ferris wheel – you can even see Manhattan from there.

How to get there? D, F, N or Q subway lines.

Plan your day:

 


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