Finding New York City's hidden gems

October 7, 2009 3:23:56 PM PDT
Looking for something to do in the Big Apple? There are likely places in New York City and its five boroughs you've never been. So Eyewitness News checked out some gems hidden right underneath your nose. And they're coming to light thanks to a new book. The author wrote it with tourists in mind, but New Yorkers will probably learn quite a bit from it as well.

For example, there is a whole acre 30 feet above ground. From the street, you'd never notice it. And that's one of the reasons Judith Stonehill likes the Acre in the Sky so much. It's located near South Street Seaport, and Stonehill has included in her book, "New York's Unique and Unexpected Places."

"You continue on the boardwalk and you approach this wonderful green lawn," she said.

It's a manicured spot for reflection or a picnic, and nearby, there's a path with flowering plants and wild grasses, all with view of the East River, right in the midst of lower Manhattan.

"On every side, there are tall, tall buildings," she said. "But you forget about them. It's a very serene, inexplicably serene place."

Not too far away, there's another of her unique spots. The Skyskraper Museum is 5,000 square feet devoted to the man's tallest creations.

"It's a perfect starting point to discover New York's architectural heritage," Stonehill. "Spend a morning here. Step outside and look at all the architecture, wonders."

And when you look around, you may uncover places like the hidden garden at St. Luke's and the rocky climbs of the Irish Hunger Memorial. Turn the corner, and you're at the Poets' House. Further uptown, there's the Grolier Club, devoted to books.

"People have no idea that they can go in for an exhibition or call for an appointment and see the library," Stonehill said.

The five boroughs are covered.

"I always say there could have been 500 places as easily as 50," Stonehill said. "So I chose 50 that would appeal, I thought, to the 47 million visitors who come to New York every year."

But the surprise has been that so many New Yorkers don't know about these uncommon places either. And perhaps that will lead to more discovery.

"That's what I really hope to hear, that people tell me about their favorite places that have not been so discovered," Stonehill said.

Stonehill's book is available at most New York bookstores. You can also find it here, on



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