Think You Know New York? Look Again…

~ Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:57 PM ~

After arriving at JFK or La Guardia airport and hailing a yellow cab or catching the subway into central New York, you’re forgiven for immediately thinking you know the place. Like walking onto a huge film set, you can look around at the numbered streets and the tip of the Empire State Building and the place seems so familiar.

However, instead of merely going for the typical sites to tick off – Times Square, the Natural History Museum, the Statue of Liberty – why not look beyond that skyscraper façade and try to find a slice of New York that hasn’t been in the movies? So as well as heading off to MoMA and collecting your Intrepid Museum tickets, we recommend that you seek out other not so well known places. Here’s my top 3 lesser-known NYC sights:

Church of the Intercession
On West 155th Street, you’ll find the Church of the Intercession, just next to the huge Trinity Cemetery. The chapel was built in 1915 and, although originally it was part of Trinity Church, it became independent in 1976. Enter the church grounds and marvel at the church exterior with carvings of gargoyles and distorted animals. Go through a door on the side of the church and it opens onto a staircase leading to an eerie, dimly lit gothic crypt.

La Plaza
A few blocks away, on the corner of 9th Street and Avenue C is the La Plaza Cultural Center. In the 1970s, the place was deteriorating and in need of much love and refurbishment. Enter the local community, however, and they transformed it - removing all the trash and brightening up both the inside and outside. Now it is used as a community performance space at the weekend and as a place of respite from the surrounding noise and chaos the rest of the time. Drop in and you’ll be greeted by some colourful characters and no doubt some dazzling cultural community event!

Washington Square Park
Located at the foot of 5th Avenue, in Midtown and on the way to what was Ground Zero, Washington Square Park is often overlooked. Many people rush through it on their way to explore Greenwich Village or stock up on some cheap footwear from the stores doted around. However, it’s well worth hanging around in the square, not only merely to people-watch, but also because it won’t be long before you’re propositioned to play a game of chess by the gents who frequent the square. For a couple of dollars they’ll sit down, tell you their story, make you believe you’re surely gonna win, before checkmating you and taking your greenback!

** Lorna Malkovic writes for several travel blogs and enjoys rooting out the undiscovered sights wherever she lands. She currently works from home in Essex, South England.

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