While visiting the major, most popular attractions of New York City can be fun, it can also be stressful, overwhelming and full of selfie-taking tourists. However, the great thing about the Big Apple is that plenty of other attractions exist that are far less known or even hidden in plain sight. To go beyond the tourist-filled sites and tour the city like you’re seeing it for the very first time, check out 6sqft’s list ahead of the 20 best underground, secret spots in New York City.
Photos courtesy of William Christ
Opened in 1863, and long known as the final resting place of some of history’s most notable figures— Irving Berlin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Robert Moses, F.W. Woolworth, and Herman Melville, to name a few–the Bronx’s Woodlawn Cemetery and Conservatory is also home to many treasures of the living variety. When one of Woodlawn’s trees (of which there are a whopping 140 different species!) meets its ultimate fate, the cemetery doesn’t merely bury it but rather celebrates its life by carving it into an animal that can be found on the grounds.
The Salt Lot is a triangular piece of land just south of the point at which all three branches of the Gowanus Canal meet. The city-owned site hosts a NYC Compost Project facility, as well as the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s nursery and educational facilities. However, the EPA has mandated a new four-million-gallon retention tank be placed there to manage combined sewer overflow. Gowanus by Design (GbD) saw this new infrastructure requirement as a catalyst for sparking conversation about much needed public urban space in the area. They’ve therefore created a conceptual proposal for the Gowanus Salt Lot Public Park, which includes three buildings constructed with materials that reference the Canal’s industrial history, along with sloping hills and wetlands.
Rendering via Future Green
Related Companies announced last year plans to add 15 new gallery spaces around their Zaha Hadid-designed condo at 520 West 28th Street. One of the galleries tapped for the project, the Paul Kasmin Gallery, will serve as the anchor tenant and expand into a 5,000-square-foot space. In addition to boasting 22-foot ceilings and 28 skylights, the single-floor gallery will have a sculpture garden designed by Future Green on its roof. Because it sits alongside the High Line, “the garden serves as a verdant extension to the elevated park and showcases outdoor artworks in a rich seasonal tapestry,” according to the landscape architects.
Rendering via OLIN
The Hudson River Park Trust and landscape architects OLIN have released a fresh set of renderings of the Pier 26 transformation, a project aimed at turning the Tribeca pier into an ecological park. As Curbed NY learned, a portion of the pier will have a wooden deck, with the western end rising up to 15 feet high in order to look at the wetlands. The pier’s eastern side will include a large lawn and an indigenous tree-filled forest. The revamp of Pier 26, projected to cost over $30 million, is scheduled to wrap up in the fall of 2020.
Almost a year to date since the first renderings were revealed for Domino Park, the 11-acre park and waterfront esplanade that will anchor the three-million-square-foot Williamsburg mega-development at the Domino Sugar Factory site, a new batch of views has been released by developer Two Trees, and they showcase everything from an urban “beach” to a better look at how preserved artifacts from the historic factory will be incorporated throughout. Designed by James Corner Field Operations (of the High Line fame), the park is scheduled to open this summer, ahead of most of the buildings.
Photo of Arrochar Playground via Department of Parks and Recreation
Tomorrow, March 20th, the first day of spring–otherwise known as the day before another half-a-foot of snow gets dumped on us–NYC will celebrate five park re-openings, one for each borough (h/t amNY). The Department of Parks and Recreation’s ribbon cuttings represent a total of $23.9 million in capital improvements ranging from park landscaping, new play areas, exercise spaces for adults, water features, and new comfort stations. The parks are: Staten Island’s Arrochar Playground; Queens’ Grassmere Playground; Brooklyn’s Hilltop Playground; the Bronx’s Lyons Square Playground; and Manhattan’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Playground in Harlem.
Photo by David Lloyd/SWA
Long Island City is getting five more glorious acres of waterfront park space, with the city expected to complete Hunters Point South Park in the coming months. The second phase of the park, which stretches below 54th Avenue and wraps around Newtown Creek, is nearing completion after three years under construction, according to LIC Post. The city’s Economic Development Corporation says the opening date will come by late spring or early summer, so New Yorkers will have a whole new outdoor amenity to enjoy when the weather warms up.
Photos via Central Park Conservancy
The Belvedere in Central Park was conceived as a miniature castle by Calvert Vaux, co-designer of the park, in 1869. It opened with some of the best views of the city’s prized green space–the name Belvedere was chosen as it is Italian for “beautiful view.” But the years have taken their toll on the stone structure, which has not been renovated since 1983. Now the Central Park Conservancy will close it to address issues like cracked pavement, a leaky roof, and plumbing issues. Starting this Monday, February 26th, Belvedere Castle will be off-limits to the public for its restoration, and will not reopen until 2019.
Rendering via Pier55, Inc
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer appointed Douglas Durst on Friday to the board of the Hudson River Park Trust, a group he has frequently criticized over their proposed Pier55 project. Durst admitted last year to funding a lawsuit to stop the trust’s plan for an off-shore park on the Hudson River. While billionaire businessman Barry Diller, who is funding the $250 million project, halted construction in September, the plan was restored a month later, with pressure and financial help from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Brewer told Crain’s that Durst didn’t volunteer, she asked him to join the board. “I think he loves the park,” she said.