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Alternative New York City: What to see when you’ve been there before

New York City is packed with world-famous attractions; tell someone you’re going there on holiday and they’ll immediately start talking about sites like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center. But if, like me, you’ve been before and seen all the most famous attractions, you might be wondering, ‘what’s next?’.

So, I’ve put together a list of of some of the best lesser known places to visit in the Big Apple. And of course, if you’ve stayed here before you’ll also want to make sure you choose different accommodation to last time (preferably in another part of the city, too, for variety) so check out your options.

Socrates Sculpture Park

Where: 32-01 Vernon Boulevard at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens

If there’s ever been proof that a little effort can turn something everyday into something special, Socrates Sculpture Park is it. Back in 1986, artists and activists teamed up to create the park on a landfill site – and it’s still thriving today.

Exhibiting sculptures throughout the year, the park is also very much a community space, hosting a regular market as well as free fitness and relaxation sessions, such as tai chi and yoga.

Roosevelt Island

Where: East River

This little island is part of Manhattan, but has quite a different feel. Something that sets it apart immediately is that you need to hop on the only commuter tram in the metropolis to reach it – a journey that takes around four minutes.

This place is largely residential and it’s great for walking around, but there are a few places you shouldn’t miss, like the Gothic-style lighthouse at its northern end, and Southpoint Park. Head to the edge of the latter and you’ll be able to see the crumbling ruins of the smallpox hospital – a pretty eerie sight.

Paley Center for Media

Where: 25 West 52nd Street

New York’s fairly famous for its museums, many of which focus on high art. So, if you want to see something a bit different, it pays to come to the Paley Center for Media, which is instead dedicated to pop culture – particularly TV, radio and podcasts.

This interesting collection has more than 150,000 clips from various media, while it also regularly hosts talks from industry bods (like influential people behind major TV series). I’d therefore recommend checking out what’ll be on during your visit before deciding when to go.

Merchant’s House Museum

Where: 29 East Fourth Street

NYC photo by Kaysha via CC LicenseSeeing a preserved home in New York City is pretty rare. Actually, it’s so rare that the Merchant’s House Museum is the only 19th-century townhouse in the metropolis that’s been maintained just as it was both inside and out. Inside, you can see original furnishings and personal possessions dating back to 1835.

The Treadwell family lived here during this time, and it’s said that the ghost of Gertrude Treadwell haunts the place – she died alone after her father (reputedly) refused to let her marry her true love.

Hall of Fame for Great Americans

Where: Bronx Community College, 2155 University Avenue, 188 Street, Bronx

The US is home to its fair share of halls of fame these days, but the Hall of Fame for Great Americans is thought to be the original. It dates back to 1900, when it was built to pay tribute to Americans who have influenced the course of the country’s history.

Come here and you can see 98 bronze busts of key figures, including Alexander Graham Bell and Franklin Roosevelt. Plus, the building itself is impressive, being a 630 ft high open-air colonnade. As well as being a striking sight in itself, it’s also got some amazing views across the Harlem River.

 

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