You may know the secret to getting invited to a posh party, or a reservation at a fully-booked restaurant, but you may not know about the amazing secrets New York has to offer. As always with Jonglez Publishing’s secret guides, Secret New York: Curious Activities by T.M. Rives will lead you to the best of the best finds, and show you secrets others overlook.
Secret New York: Curious Activities includes maps to pinpoint the location of over 100 curiosities to enjoy, from wild chickens living in the Bronx to the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan, an artistic mecca for over 100 years. Its building includes an entire floor dedicated to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. A typical little-known fact included in Secret New York: Curious Activities is that twice a week, the dining room is open to those who want to set up an easel and sketch a live model.
A native New Yorker or first-time visitor can experience the thrill of finding strange, fascinating places, as well as better-known ones like the quintessential New York City Hall library, found in the extravagance of the mosaic-filled Surrogate’s Courthouse on Chambers Street. The City Hall Public Library houses an immense archive. As Rives advises: “Go past the arm chairs and grated fireplace… browse the shelves for five minutes and you’ll be struck by the fact that New York is imponderably vast, and it saves everything.”
Times Square is home to gaudy, crowded spectacles, but just off 47th street, take a few moment to experience the awe that is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. This 19th century Gothic church, wedged in the middle of the block, is the first steel-frame church in the world. In this canyon, you will find beautiful architecture with the nave and side altars aglow with amber light through stunning stained glass windows.
Secret New York: Curious Activities is filled with unusual cultural and obscure activities, such as the tiny museum (five feet square) in an abandoned freight elevator shaft in a Manhattan alley. While most of the curious activities mentioned in the book are free, for a mere seven dollars, you can enjoy an evening at getyourcoatwereleaving.tumblr.comPunderdome 3000. This is competitive word play at its best, with presenters given only 90 seconds to create theme-based puns to present live to an audience of about 100 people. Results are judged with the help of a human applause meter.
Jonglez publishes “local guides by local people” guaranteeing that, in this case, even a New York native will be surprised by many of the great finds in this charming guidebook.