Whether it’s your first time or your 50th time to New York, this city makes you feel the same magic with every visit. With its sea of yellow cabs, lights that never extinguish, and an unmatched energy from the hustle and bustle, NYC is unlike any city in the world. NYC has anything and everything to offer its visitors and residences from world-class shopping and museums to sporting events and Fortune 500 companies. Not to mention the universities, architecture, iconic monuments, filmmaking, and, of course, restaurants. Walking down the street and all the sudden looking up (or maybe you don’t know where to look because there is so much up and down!) and seeing the Empire State building, you get that excited feeling in the pit of your stomach because this is the stuff out of movies! It can also be overwhelming, thinking of everything that must be accomplished on your weekend trip to NYC, but there may be a few things you have never thought to try. We’ve asked the staff at Hotel Elysee for their favorite hidden gems around the city and complied a list of a few Secrets of New York that will spice up your trip!
1.Cheryl’s Find – City Hall Station on the 6 Train
Immediately, your first thought is probably to avoid the subway at all costs- that’s what Uber is for anyway. But now is the time to get over your public transportation/germ fears and hop on the 6 train (NOT AT RUSH HOUR!) heading south toward the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall and enjoy the ride. As the train pulls into the last stop you’ll hear the conductor tell you to exit the train, but embody your inner rebel and stay on! Soon, the train will begin to snake through the most beautiful stop as it turns around to chug its way north. Make sure to get a window seat and admire the magnificent architecture that is unknown, and slightly forgotten.
2. Juan’s Find – Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridian
This may not be a complete secret, but it sure is hidden! With elegant, Five-Star hotels and restaurants dominating the streets of New York, the last thing you would expect to see is a greasy, hole-in-the-wall burger place. Let alone, inside one of those luxurious hotels! Upon entering the Le Parker Meridian Hotel, you will be greeted by suited bellmen, top-notch service, beautiful marble floors, and gorgeous vaulted ceilings — but that’s not all. Continue to walk through the hotel and you’ll get to a black curtain. One may assume this is a restricted area to guests, but if you feel adventurous and peek around the curtain you will discover a delectable surprise! Burger Joint serves up only the essentials- burgers, fries, and milkshakes. If you’re in the mood, it’s one of those places that you just can’t resist. Neither can all the locals that stand in the wraparound line on their lunch break.
3. Jaron’s Find – Hidden Parks
The craziness of traffic and shopping on 5th Ave and Madison – well really any street in NYC- can get overwhelming and sometimes you just need a break. This is why there are a few hidden that just make cleanse your mind and prepare you for the rest of your trips’ jam-packed schedule.
a. Greenacre Park (217 E 51st St & 3rd Ave)
A short stroll away from Hotel Elysee, you will find your own waterfall in the middle of Midtown Manhattan! Avoid this gem at lunchtime, but definitely sip on your morning coffee here or enjoy a late afternoon snack beside this little slice of paradise. Another plus, it drowns out the noise from all the cabs racing around like NASCAR drivers, so you can enjoy a peaceful moment of meditation or calming atmosphere to add up all the money you’ve spent on your trip.
b. Teardrop Park (Warren St. at River Terrace)
You’ll have to take the subway again to get to this treasure. But once again, it’s worth the trip so hop on the 1, 2, or 3 trains towards Battery Park City then follow the path between two residential buildings to this- you guessed it- teardrop shaped park! It is a sanctuary nestled between apartment buildings and a fabulous place to entertain kiddos! There is a water playground, 2 sand boxes and a giant slide. Kids, or not, go for it! You know a giant slide sounds fun.
4. Graig’s Find – Museum of the City of New York (Madison Ave & 103rd St)
You’ve been a million times but you still can’t get over the brilliance of the exhibits in The Met, MoMA, The Whitney, and The Frick. Have you ever thought about switching your museum sights up a bit and visiting a museum that not only focuses on the art in the city, but the city itself? The Museum of the City of New York celebrates the diversity, culture and character of our ever-evolving NYC. Located not too far from Hotel Elysee (now you can use Uber), the museum sits on Madison Avenue between 103rd & 104th Streets. And a trip to the Museum of the City of New York tees you up perfectly for your last hidden gem!
5. Maria’s Find – Central Park Conservatory Garden (105th Ave & 5th)
A true escape from the city is nestled in the Conservatory Gardens of Central Park. High up on the Upper East Side, this is worth the hike! One block away from the Museum of the City of New York (you’ll already be up there), there is no better way to appreciate the flip side of NYC than to stroll up 1 more block. You’ll feel as though you stepped into the real Secret Garden with sputtering fountains, statues, ponds, green lined pathways, and of course, flowers! Taking in the sunshine and birds chirping may just inspire you to continue walking north 5 more blocks to the Harlem Meer lake that sits on the Northeast corner of the park with a lazy, winding path along its edge. Spring has sprung!
Our concierges at the Hotel Elysee, Casablanca Hotel, Library Hotel, and Hotel Giraffe look forward to helping you plan your weekend itinerary. Please feel free to stop by the Front Desk for more specific directions and tips for navigating NYC!