My previous blog about New York talks about the most famous landmarks there, but I loved the New York hidden gems even more.
Here are my top 5 New York hidden gems, some secret spots that not many people know about!
New York hidden gem #1 – Hush Hip Hop Tours
When I visited New York for the first time it was with my sister who was a fan of hip hop in the 80s. She stumbled across Hush Hip Hop tours online and we decided to give it a go. It turned out to be the highlight of our trip and was a most entertaining, interesting and informative day.
You are guided by real hip hop artists; the guys who were there when it first evolved and who contributed to some of the biggest hip hop hits including Rappers Delight by the Sugarhill Gang (and hear the real story behind this classic track).
You get to visit iconic landmarks of hip hop history including the building where it all began, at a party in August 1973.
The Bronx Hall of Fame, which features the tour guide, Grandmaster Caz!
You learn about the origins of graffiti and visit a school which is designated for artists to decorate with their amazing street art.
You meet a b-boy, who demonstrates his amazing breaking and encourages audience participation, teaching us a few moves!
And finally you visit a proper authentic soul food restaurant, which is amazing value and absolutely delicious.
Even if you’re not the biggest hip hop fan I would highly recommend this New York hidden gem as it’s a trip down memory lane which documents a historic music genre from the artists who were there. You can find out about the tours and book one using TripAdvisor here.
New York hidden gem #2 – Cover Story harmony group in Central Park
When we visited New York in the summer of 2017 it was absolutely scorching so we were constantly seeking out cooler spaces to take refuge from the sun. On one of these breaks we happened upon one of the highlights of the trip under the arches near the Bethseda Fountain in Central Park.
Cover Story define themselves as a doo wop group and they sing soul classics with incredible harmonies. Accompanied by just a double bass, they take it in turns to supply lead vocals to an enthusiastic crowd.
I’m guessing that as much as the arches are a welcome relief from the sun, they also provide shelter from the rain in other seasons.
I’m would highly recommend checking them out as I could have listened to them for hours!
The group appear every day from Tuesday to Friday and also on Sundays. They appear elsewhere in the city on other days too – check out their website for details.
New York hidden gems #3 – Coney Island Cyclone rollercoaster
If you’re a thrillseeker then a visit to Coney Island is a must! Not only is it an iconic beach location with amazing street art, boardwalks and funfair, it is also home to the 90 year old Cyclone rollercoaster.
The Cyclone is one of America’s oldest wooden rollercoasters and is located in the Luna Park funfair. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is not for the fainthearted.
Anyone who thinks that an elderly rollercoaster is an easy ride can think again as this one gives its modern counterparts a run for their money. My husband and I, both seasoned riders, screamed and laughed all the way round as much as we would do in a modern theme park.
You can get the subway to Coney Island from Manhatten and I’d recommend one of the local delis for lunch as they are much cheaper than the main touristy areas. Read more Luna Park reviews on TripAdvisor.
New York hidden gems #4 – Washington Square Park
Another free hidden gem are the street performers in Washington Square Park, which you can find in Greenwich Village. We stumbled upon this area and it’s a great place to pass a couple of hours.
The square is dominated by the Washington Square arch and also includes a children’s play area, fountain, picnic tables and a chess playing section.
In the square itself you can buy refreshments, sit back and relax watching dancers and musicians perform. The crowd will often join in!
For more information see TripAdvisor here.
New York hidden gems #5 – revolving lounge and restaurant at Times Square
If you need a rest after a busy day sightseeing then head to the Marriott hotel which overlooks Times Square. Depending on the time of day you can get a nice view from the lounge bar, which is on the 8th floor. Buy a coke, or a coffee, and watch the world go by.
Alternatively, after 5pm you can head to the 48th floor and have a drink, cocktail or meal in the revolving The View restaurant which takes half an hour to completely rotate and get an amazing view of the surrounding buildings. It’s pretty spectacular at night, with fab views of the Times Square lights and nearby skyscrapers.
You can see the Top Of The Rock poking up through the other buildings.
There’s a cover charge after 8pm, but check TripAdvisor for tips on how to make the most of this relatively cheap experience.
I hope you enjoyed these New York hidden gems and get the chance to try them out for yourself. Please leave a comment below to let me know how you get on! If you subscribe to my mailing list then you’ll hear about new blogs and get access to exclusive discounts and offers.
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