New York is a destination filled with thrilling adventures. There is always something new, or old, to discover. Ellen Swandiak, co-author of The 500 Hidden Secrets of New York and editor-in-chief of Hobnob Magazine, continues to explore different ways to experience the city. She asked a few real New York personalities to share their favorite secret places in the city they call home. Here’s what they revealed:
More Hidden Secrets: New York City
Firstly, Ellen Swandiak shares her own favorite place for indulging in Eastern European treats, such as kielbasa: the East Village Meat Market. This institution, also known as J. Baczynsky, was opened by Julian Baczynsky in 1970. It was his slice of the American dream, and remains an East Village staple.
Melody Mudd is a photographer specialized in covering the world of burlesque. Melody loves the Grand Central Terminal. What makes this place special for her is the timeless atmosphere, and it is where her husband proposed. The Grand Central Terminal also holds a New York secret in its architecture: when you stand near the dining concourse arches, there is a ‘whispering wall’. To test it out, stand at the tunnel’s arched entryway, face the corner and whisper a secret. Have a friend stand at the other corner of the arch. They should be able to hear your secret loud and clear.
Dean Holdiman, Interior & Garden Designer, is especially fond of a place called Turk’s Inn in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This spot, unbelievably, was transported from Wisconsin, and now graces the streets of Brooklyn. It contains an art space, a rooftop garden and a kebab kiosk. Be amazed by its colorful and whimsical 1930s ode to foreign lands.
Tijana Ibrahimovic is a journalist and TV personality, and founder of Tijana Style. Her secret place is a hidden bar called Please Don’t Tell. This speakeasy is located in an unassuming hot dog shop on St. Mark’s Place. The way to enter is by locating a phone booth and talking to the host. Crif Dog (the hot dog shop) itself is an excellent place to spend your time while you are waiting. Besides delicious hot dog options, they have games and a see-and-be-seen type of atmosphere.
Jade Dressler owns a creative agency and is the author of ‘Immortal Beloved’, an illustration book for adults. Her favorite spot is a place located in New York’s Upper East Side, right on the Museum Mile. While not necessarily secret, Cafe Sabarsky is worth a special trip. It is located inside the Neue Galerie, so you won’t find it off the street. It is named after the Galerie’s co-founder, Serge Sabarsky. What makes it unique, is its old-fashioned Austrian atmosphere and excellent food. You must try their Viennese pastries.
Expert perfumer and owner of Aroma M Perfumes, Maria McElroy, shares a place in Staten Island called the Snug Harbor Botanical Garden. What keeps this garden hidden and special is its location. It is one of the lesser-known places to visit in New York, and therefore not as crowded. Inside you will find a Chinese Scholar Garden, of which there are only two in the entire United States.
Prasida Newman is a writer whose passion for scents led her to Fueguia 1833 in Soho. It is a high-quality perfume shop that sells naturally derived scents in engraved crystal bottles. Fueguia 1833 pride themselves on being pioneers in sustainable fragrance production.
Bob Hennessy is a retired L’Oréal executive, and current bon vivant. He shares his latest New York discovery, which occurred while he was entertaining relatives from out of town. Bob experienced the New York Media Boat Tour. The military-style boat, which is more like a raft than a boat, is meant for photographers and other media and takes you on a high-speed adventure. Seeing New York’s unique vantage points is an added bonus.
Joseph Heidecker is an accomplished New York artist known for his unique eye and a sense of humor in his embellished pieces. As an artist he sees New York in a way that others might ignore, which led him to the Mmuseumm on Cortland Alley. The show here is always a surprise. It is open on weekends only and by appointment during the week. If you happen to be walking by, take a peek in the window and see if there’s something on show that strikes your fancy.
These secrets were collected by Ellen during a themed soirée hosted by HobNob, you can watch a video of the New Yorkers sharing their secret spots here.
The Hidden Secrets of New York
New York City can provide an overwhelming amount of choices: let two locals help you weed through them. From cheap eats to hot shopping spots, ideas for entertaining nights out, and a handful of hotels that can make your stay even better.