The common hobby in New York is hustling. Whether it's work or play, New Yorkers are consistently at it. But what happens if you were to stop for just a second, tear your eyeballs away from your smartphone screens and actually look up? If you know where to look, you just might see some pretty cool/historic/bizarre ish that this city is thinly veiling from plain sight.
While we are flooded with touristy sights (and plenty of tourists to sight them), there are still tons of hidden secrets (some dating back to the birth of our fair town) lying just below the surface that would make even the most jaded New Yorker appreciate this amazing place anew.
Get your peepers on these sights:
Winnie-The-Pooh Lives at the Library
Children's Center, Stephen A. Schwarzmann Building, Fifth Ave and 42nd
Fan of the seminal childhood cartoon about a honey-obsessed bear and his circle of animal friends? While it's common knowledge that the books by A.A. Milne where based on his son Christopher Robin, it's less common knowledge that Pooh, Tiger, Piglet and Eeyore where also real. All these characters where based on Christophers real life stuffed animals, and they're all no just kickin' it comfortably at the main branch of the New York Public Library. Next time you have little ones in town and want to avoid the M&M Store, try hitting up this gem.
The Old Nabisco Factory
Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave
Whether you're a dunker, a twister or a soaker, if you're a fan of America's favorite cookie, the Oreo, you'll want to check out the original Nabisco Factory. Oh wait, chances are you probably already have! What today houses boutique eateries and shops under the guise of The Chelsea Market was originally erected in 1898 as a warehouse that housed the National Biscuite Company, or Nabisco for short.
The Lobby of Daily News Building
220 E. 42nd St
Super fan of the Superman comic? Then slip into the lobby of the building that housed the Daily News from 1929 to 1995, and set your jaw to awe. (The Daily News building was the setting for The Daily Planet where Clark Kent and Louis Lane worked in the 1978 movie.) Set into the floor of this art deco space is a 4,000-lb globe of the world, lit dramatically from below through tiers of frosted glass. Around it are mile markers to far off places like Johannesburg (7,988 mi), Bermuda (768), proving that New York truly is the center of the universe.
Vaults of Gold At The Federal Reserve Bank
Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 33 Liberty Street
If green is the color of your game, then you should probably take a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank and prepare to have your mind blown at the visual of $300 billion. In one room. The tour, not for the claustrophobic, takes you 80 feet below street level (NY's deepest basement) and behind a 230-ton revolving door (the only entrance). And there, behind thick wire mesh and stacked as tall as a man, is what makes the world go round.
Lenin Statue on Houston
Red Square, 250 E. Houston Street
Atop the luxyur apartment building appropriately named Red Square on E. Houston is a site that has Senator McCarthy frothing in his grave: an 18-foot tool statue of Lenin, hand extended, facing south towards the Financial District (Hmmm...) Seeing as how forced hero worship of the Communist leader ended a couple decades ago, and well, never really took off in this country, the statue ended up atop this building as an attempt to lend a little street cred to the space in order to attract those strange New Yorkers who wanted to live in a "hip, extreme and even dangerous neighborhood" back when Houston straddled the border between the sketchy Lower East Side and rapidly gentrifying East Village. Real Estate Marketing savvy at it's best.
Section of the Berlin Wall
520 Madison Ave, at the 53rd St enterance
Landmarks become all the more entertaining when left out in plain daylight to be mostly ignored. In a quiet courtyard of this office building on Madison Ave, next to a couple of cafe tables and workers on their smoke break thumbing away at their phones, lives not just a graffitied wall, but five-panel stretch of the Berlin Wall, the dreaded symbol of the Cold War. The panels display the work of French painter Thierry Noir and his renegade artist friends who risked their lives nightly to sneak into the "no man zone" and transform the bleak wall not as a way to beautify it, but in an attempt to turn it into a joke. Over a five-year period, Thierry and his friends covered two and a half miles of wall, the longest painting in history.
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