10 Non-Traditional Things to Do in New York City

Central Park

Millions of tourists visit New York City each year. Whether you love night life, food, or culture, there is always something to see and do. Even if you live in New York City for your entire lifetime, some say you’ll never get a chance to experience all this wonderful city has to offer.   Even if you are a local, there are some cool out of the way places to visit, and some don’t even cost a penny.  Here are 10 non-traditional things to do in New York City for both locals and tourists.

1. The Graffiti Hall of Fame

Graffiti Hall of Fame

For 30 years in East Harlem, amazing artists have added to the splendor and symbolic art which comprises The Graffiti Hall of Fame. Located at East 106th Street and Park Avenue, this is a cut above the bombing and tagging that appears elsewhere in the city. These murals of conceptual art represent the diversity, vivacity and rich history of Harlem. It’s open 24 hours to you can view it any time of day and this incredible outdoor art is free to view. You can learn more about The Graffiti Hall of Fame by visiting: http://streetartnyc.org/blog/2013/07/16/the-graffiti-hall-of-fame-2013.

2. New York Public Library

New York Public Libary

3rd Floor Rose Reading Room: Everyone marvels at the majestic lions, Patients and Fortitude who bookmark the library entrance on E42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, but some amazing treasures can be found inside the New York Public Library building. Bibliophiles can go back in time and explore this quiet haven that sits tucked away amid the city’s hustle and bustle. You can roam the stacks of classic literature and reference, or request a specific title to peruse under the old fashioned green banker’s lamps.

Featured in many movies and television shows, you never know which brainy celebrity writer or future scholar will be seated at your table. If you love the smell of old books and enjoy silent people watching, go up the steps and have a seat. Then go grab a coffee afterwards at beautiful Bryant Park, located right outside the library’s door. Visit the library’s website, http://www.nypl.org/, for more information about The New York Public Libraries’ cultural events and exhibits.

3. Little Korea

Little Korea

Just about everyone knows about New York City’s Chinatown and Little Italy, but there is another ethnic culture to explore at Little Korea, also known as Koreatown, located at 34th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. According to All City New York, http://walk.allcitynewyork.com/2009/05/little-korea.html, this little area caters to Korean Tourists as well as visitors who wish to explore their unique culture. If you want to sample some Korean cuisine, this is the place to find some savory Asian barbeque and other delicacies.

4. The New York City Marble Cemetery

The New York City Marble Cemetery

If genealogy or history is your thing, you can’t miss out on visiting the New York City Marble Cemetery, the second oldest non-sectarian burial place open to the public. Located on East 2nd Street, between First and Second Avenue, this cemetery is the final resting place of many famous New Yorkers, including President James Monroe. The gorgeous vaults and statuary makes this peaceful place a must see landmark. For dates you can visit with free admission, please seen their events calendar, http://www.nycmc.org/events.html.

5.Whispering Wall Grand Central Terminal

Whispering Wall Grand Central Terminal

Every day hoards of commuters and visitors walk noisily through this famous terminal, but a very cool thing to do is hiding in plain sight. The arch near the famous Oyster Bar restaurant has an area where you can stand on one side and whisper, and due to the strange acoustics of the curved ceiling, someone standing on the other side can hear your voice amplified. It’s one of the oddities that makes New York unique. You have to try it yourself to believe it!

6. The House of Death

House of Death NYC

Constructed in 1856, this Greek Revival Brownstone has a spooky history. The stately home at 14 West 10th Street in Greenwich Village has a tragic past where an impressive number of tenants took their last breath. Psychic Jan Bryant Bartell, wrote a book about this horror house in 1974 entitled, Spindrift: Spray From a Psychic Sea, chronicling her interactions with the dearly departed who still hang out there rent free. The house made headlines again in 1987 in the famous case of a father Joel Steinberg, who beat his child to death in the home. It isn’t open to the public, but just looking at the outside of the home, pictured at https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/the-house-of-death-on-west-10th-street/, is enough to give you chills. It is reported to be haunted by over 22 spirits.

7. Museum of Sex


Everyone knows there’s plenty of porn palaces still thriving in The Big Apple; however, if your sensuous cultural appetite is more highbrow, The Museum of Sex can be found at 233 5th Avenue at 27th street. You can see how every creature imaginable, including humans “do it” through paintings, sculpture and rare artifacts. For more information about this popular, yet not so mainstream publicized tourist attraction, click on http://www.museumofsex.com/. Admission is Adults (18+): $18.50 with discounts Students/Seniors/Military: $16.50. Keep in mind you will have to pay an extra three bucks to experience some of the more interesting “features” here.

8. Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market

No, this isn’t run by Chef Ramsey, but it’s an amazing place to treasure hunt for collectibles and vintage clothing. You can haggle, bargain and deal your way through all the fabulous merchandise at West 39th Street between 9th & 10th Avenues. It’s open every Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting, according to their website, http://www.annexmarkets.com/hells-kitchen-flea-market, and is conveniently located near New York City’s Port Authority.

9. Morbid Anatomy Museum

Morbid Anatomy Museum

If you’re bored to death with Midtown, hop the subway over to Brooklyn to get a bit of macabre culture at the Morbid Anatomy Museum, located at 424A 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn. There you will be able to feast your eyes on wax figures of the deceased, get an education in post mortem anatomy, and learn about “The Art of Mourning” though a historic lens. If you love pondering the afterlife, or have an appreciation for taxidermy or the craft of embalming, plan your visit by going to http://morbidanatomymuseum.org.

10. Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Ellens Stardust Diner

If nostalgia is your thing, and you love an old fashioned diner with a hip vibe, visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner, located at 1650 Broadway, With a retro theme, singing wait staff, and live performances from today’s rising stars, it’s an experience that can’t be missed. Reservations are required, so be sure to visit http://www.ellensstardustdiner.com/hello-world/ to plan your visit. Although this place has been featured on television and film, many New Yorkers and tourists don’t realize that you need not be a celebrity to get a booth.


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