9 Spots in the City You're Probably Taking for Granted
But totally shouldn't
But in the search for the next best thing, it’s easy to breeze right past some of the best gems in the whole city, especially when they’re crammed with tourists.
Remember the library? Have you actually gone inside and marveled at how damn gorgeous that place is recently?
Let’s get back to basics: Here are nine NYC classics you’re probably taking for granted.
THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
In the digital age, it’s easy to pick up your Kindle and forget the library even exists. In the case of New York’s flagship institution, that’s a big mistake. More than a physical book-storage facility, the library hosts free daily events, panels, exhibitions and tours.
Fifth Ave. (at 42nd St.); 917-275-6975 or nypl.org
DOMINIQUE ANSEL BAKERY
Tourists are still mobbing the place to try the world’s most famous pastry mash-up, but don’t let the early morning line scare you away--this Soho bakery is still home to some of the best baked goods you’ll find in the city. Plus, New Yorkers with Cronut cravings know you don't need to wait in line to get your fix (and if you’re not getting a Cronut, you can bypass the line altogether).
189 Spring St. (at Sullivan St.); 212-219-2773 or dominiqueansel.com
THE COMEDY CELLAR
This West Village institution manages to be legendary without feeling gimmicky. More than just a venue on the TV show Louie, it’s long been a spot for New York’s favorite comedians to test out new material with an intimate crowd. Locals that hit the Cellar on weeknights have the best chance of spotting unbilled drop-ins like Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari and even Jon Stewart.
177 MacDougal St. (at Washington Sq. W.); 212-254-3480 or comedycellar.com
Mario Batali’s Italian mecca in the Flatiron District attracts tons of European tourists, but locals in the know appreciate the food emporium for the amazing charcuterie selection and one of the best and biggest cheese counters in the city. Just avoid the lunchtime rush.
200 Fifth Ave. (at 24th St.); 212-229-2560 or eataly.com
“SLEEP NO MORE”
It’s been around for a few years, and everyone you know has already seen it (including your aunt in Duluth). But this unconventional take on Macbeth, performed in the eerie McKittrick Hotel, is part choose-your-own-adventure, part haunted house and full-on weird fantasy--it never gets old, even for a hard-to-impress New Yorker.
430 W. 27th St. (at 11th Ave.); 212-904-1883 or mckittrickhotel.com
Before When Harry Met Sally turned it into a tourist destination, Katz’s was one of the few remaining old-school Jewish delis still dotting the Lower East Side. Though it still sees its fair share of out-of-town guests, it remains a favorite among late-night revelers and anyone looking for a tower of house-made pastrami and pickles.
205 E. Houston (at Ludlow St.); 212-254-2246 or katzsdelicatessen.com
GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL
It’s strange to think of a travel hub as a destination, but this historic city landmark is much more than a train station. The recently renovated ceiling--depicting a series of constellations high above the busy main hall--is reason enough to stop by, but free exhibitions in the Shuttle passage offer a cultural alternative most locals don’t take the time to appreciate. Imbibe at the historic Campbell Apartment or enjoy a meal at the famous Oyster Bar to get a taste of old New York magic.
89 E. 42nd St. (at Park Ave.); 212-340-2583 or grandcentralterminal.com
We love the energy and chaos of the city, but let’s face it--sometimes we need an escape. Enter Coney Island, home to the New York Aquarium, amusement parks, the Brooklyn Cyclones Minor League Baseball team and, of course, the beach. Located directly off the Stillwell Avenue subway stop, it's one of the easiest beaches to reach from the city, which makes it an ideal choice to get away, especially during the quieter off-season.
ONE WORLD OBSERVATORY
Standing inside the observatory of the city’s tallest building and looking out over the hectic, amazing and incomparable place you call home is an experience that only a local can appreciate to the fullest. After marveling at the incredible view, head to the One Mix bar and celebrate the world’s greatest city by sipping a Manhattan among the clouds.
285 Fulton St. (at Vesey St.); 800-416-7192 or oneworldobservatory.com