When visiting New York City for the first time, there are certain top recommendations for the most important things to do on a New York trip, but there are also many alternative New York City, off-the-beaten-path attractions. Here are a few more things ready to be discovered in NYC that aren’t your typical tourist destinations but which are amazing in their own right and reveal so much about this great city.
Trinity Church in the Financial District
If you’re based at a downtown New York hotel, take a side step into Trinity Church. It’s opposite the New York Stock Exchange and there has been a church on this site since 1698. The beautiful current building was finished in 1846. Take a stroll through the cemetery to see picturesque old tombstones, including the graves of founding fathers such as Alexander Hamilton and other prominent members of 18th and 19th century public life. Imagine what it was like when the 282-foot spire was the tallest point in New York City! Time your visit to hear the famous bells ring.
Neighborhood: 75 Broadway in Lower Manhattan
Subway: Wall Street Station
Image by Gryffindor
The C-Squat in the East Village
In the East Village you’ll find a cultural phenomenon that is very NYC. Squatting was big in the 1970s and ’80s and despite attempts to kick them out, a number of squatter buildings have successfully survived. C-Squat is the most well known and while NYC is famous for its robust sporting venues, this place has a basement skating half-pipe, as well as graffiti walls and a music venue. You can do neighborhood tours of NYC squats via the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on the Lower East Side.
Neighborhood: 155 Avenue C, Alphabet City
Subway: 1st Ave Station
The Red Hook Grain Terminal
New vantage points to view New York City’s famous skyline are always welcome and the Red Hook Grain Terminal is just that. In 1922, it was constructed as part of the New York State canal system but was neglected from the late 1960s. The factory features a huge grain elevator that has survived while other parts of the industrial landscape have been torn down for development. At 12 stories high, it has an amazing view of the city.
Neighborhood: Gowanus, Brooklyn
Subway: Smith – 9th St Station
Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill
This cobblestoned village in the heart of Brooklyn has rejected attempted development and staunchly maintained its heritage look of Federal-style and Greek Revival style residences built in the 1800s. Vinegar Hill is named after a famous battle in Ireland that took place in 1798. This charming community is truly a hidden gem of New York City attractions.
Neighborhood: On the East River waterfront in Brooklyn between Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Subway: Smith – York Street Station
Image by Emilio Guerra
Steinway Piano Factory Tours
If you’ve heard of pianos, you’ve heard of Steinway, and the Steinway Piano Factory in New York City is where some of the best instruments in the world are created. A tour of the factory in Astoria is a fascinating look into the process of hand-crafting a piano, as well as the proud history of Steinway & Sons, which has been in the business since 1853. Tours are run by the employees and take up to two hours. Email the factory on to arrange a tour at [email protected] as booking in advance is essential.
Neighborhood: 18-1 Steinway Place in Astoria, Queens
Subway: Smith – Astoria – Ditmars Blvd Station
Enjoy your next trip with these alternative New York City travel ideas and avoid the tourists by visiting one or more of these great attractions.
By Natasha von Geldern
If you’re interested in more travel ideas for NYC click here.