Things to Do That are Uniquely New York

Eight things to do in NYC that are Unique to New York

There are tons of museums and exhibits that are unique to New York City, but there are also a bunch of off-the-beaten-path museums, exhibits, and tours to explore that are uniquely New York. We found eight places and things to explore with your kids, from gold bricks and knishes to an old subway stop and pianos.

Check out one of Manhattan’s smallest museums.

Housed in a former freight elevator, Mmuseumm’s exhibitions aim to engage, educate, and inform the public in a unique cultural approach to looking at the current world. The tiny museum is located at 4 Cortlandt Alley in Chinatown, Manhattan, and the 2017 season opened May 11.

See a lot of gold.

Tour the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, located in Lower Manhattan, where you’ll learn about the role of the New York Fed and the Federal Reserve System through displays and interactive exhibits, as well as the U.S. economy and how money is made. Plus, you’ll descend into the Fed’s Gold Vault to see the gold bricks housed there. Unfortunately visitors can’t take pictures. Visit to reserve a free tour; children must be 16 and older.

gold bars federal reserve bank of new yorkCourtesy Federal Reserve Bank of New York

See real gold bricks at Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Ride the subway through an abandoned stop.

There are two ways you can see the restored City Hall station on the 6 subway line in Manhattan: be a member of the New York Transit Museum and sign up for tour tickets quickly, or stay on the downtown 6 train as it turns around through City Hall station to head uptown. Look out the windows on the right side of the train as you’re facing the direction the train is moving (and make sure you double check with the subway attendant that it’s okay with them for you to stay on the train).

Catch a ride to City Island in the Bronx.

Adventure to City Island, which is reminiscent of a small fishing village, via the City Island Land Ferry. Ride the 6 train to the Pelham Bay Park station, and on the first Friday of the month (April-December) from 5:30-9:30pm, you can hitch a ride on the shuttle for free. While there, you can play at the Ambrosini Field playground, enjoy dinner, stop by Lickety Split Ice Cream for dessert, and watch the sun set before taking the land ferry back to Pelham Bay Park station.

city island land ferryCourtesy Paul Klein

The City Island Land Ferry is free on the first Friday of the month, April-December. 

Watch a giant chess match.

A larger-than-life chessboard is affixed to the north wall of 212 E. 48th St., Midtown East, Manhattan. Each Wednesday at 12pm, one piece is moved using a cherry picker, in a recreation of some of history’s greatest matches. You can learn more about the current match by visiting the concierge in the building’s lobby.

See the stuffed animals that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

The original stuffed animals of Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and T-I-double Guh-Errr are housed in the New York Public Library’s Children’s Center at 42nd Street (Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 476 Fifth Ave., Midtown, Manhattan). While you’re there with your little book lovers, check out a few books or participate in a story time.

winnie-the-pooh stuffed animals nyplJonathan Blanc/The New York Public Library

The original stuffed animals that inspired the stories of Winnie-the-Pooh are housed at the New York Public Library in Midtown, Manhattan.

Enjoy a knish.

And not just any knish. Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery, established in 1910 and located at 137 E. Houston St., Lower East Side, Manhattan, is the oldest knish bakery in the United States. And, man, are they delish!

Learn how pianos are made.

Participate in a Steinway & Sons Factory Tour and learn what goes into making a piano by going through the working factory in Astoria, Queens. Tours are free, and children younger than 16 are not allowed on the tours. Tours are offered Tuesdays, 9:30am-12pm, September-June. While tours are completely booked through December 2017, you can email [email protected] to be placed on a waiting list for this year’s tours.

steinway and sons piano tourChris Payne/courtesy Steinway & Sons

Tours at Steinway & Sons go through the working factory to show visitors how pianos are made.

Main image: Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery is the oldest knishery in the U.S.
Katelin Walling


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