You’re here. Whether you’ve been planning this trip for months, or if this is a spur of the moment thing, you’re here. New York City. Now, what are you going to do? There are so many options, so much to see, so you grab that handy NYC guidebook that helps you decide. But before you grab the book of the mundane, let’s try doing something that the other kids aren’t doing. Here are the six experiences taking you beyond the guidebook in NYC.
Exploring NYC Beyond the Guidebook
1. Have Your Own Paparazzi
Who says you have to be on the big screen to be followed by the paparazzi? NYC Tours & Photo Safaris will hook you up with your own licensed NYC sightseeing guide and professional photographer. Instead of following an itinerary that you don’t have a connection to, their Private Photo Safaris cater the tour to your unique interests — and include photos. And even though they could sell those photos of your beautiful self to Page Six and make a killing, they’ll give them to you instead to cherish, free of charge.
2. Explore History Through Oddities
Museums are must-sees right? But you’ve seen them all. They have different themes, but the same content. How about going to the City Reliquary in Brooklyn filled with some of the oddest things you could ever wrap your mind around. What things? I’m glad you asked. Old rat’s bones? You won’t find that in the MET, not on display anyway. Rotting birthday cake? I haven’t seen that in the MOMA, not even in the cafeteria. Also, there are exhibits on topics like Brooklyn Pizza, NYC Desserts, a great gift shop, as well as other awesome events. All of this with for a suggested donation of $5.00!
3. Sip Absinthe In A True NYC Speakeasy
“Prohibition has made nothing but trouble.” These are the words spoken by the number one trouble man Al Capone. When the government cracked down on alcohol consumption during Prohibition some hidden establishments, called speakeasies, still found a way to quench the public’s thirst. William Barnacle Tavern, which is a bar, museum, and a theatre in the East Village, operated as one of these and is still open today. This moody venue has a historic feel, even featuring the original bar and Manhattan’s only bar to have an authentic absinthe drip. They’ll dispel all myths about the green fairy, too, as wormwood — a main absinthe ingredient — is simply a mild muscle relaxant.
4. Immerse Yourself In Mustard At Maille
Have you tried every kind of mustard? I bet you haven’t. And if you have, I challenge you to visit Maille Mustard Bar. Located on the Upper West Side, this gourmet boutique is all mustard, even being home to a mustard sommelier. From spices to wines, this establishment explores the finer properties of the mustard seed. And you aren’t getting this mustard from a deformed bottle that has been left upside-down for weeks, but straight from the pump, in flavors like white wine, parmesan and basil, and fig and coriander. It’s a truly unique NYC tasting experience.
5. Bizarre Bar in Bushwick
Bushwick itself is one of NYC’s more bizarre neighborhoods. So to be in the land of the strange, and to be known as the Bizarre Bar in Bushwick, means you are the crème dela crème of weird. This fine venue produces shows that have people swallowing swords, naked people singing, naked people dancing, and acts blending whipped cream and fire. And this is a Wednesday afternoon. When you go also try their Bizarre Burger. And with beverages with names like “Blue Balls” and “Titties and Berries,” you will never look at Brooklyn the same.
6. North Brooklyn Farms
Did you miss Kara Walker’s grand exhibition at the closing of the Domino Sugar Factory two years ago and miss your chance to experience this legendary building? Sadly the moment is gone; however, North Brooklyn Farms has converted the factory lawn into a farm, hangout and space for free outdoor yoga on Tuesdays (as well as other cool events). Located right on the East River, this farm mixes country relaxation with city living. For those of us who missed the first party, here’s our second chance. And for those who didn’t, the early bird does get the worm.
Instead of following the protocol, experience New York the way any New Yorker experiences it: On your terms. So when those Bus Tour guides offer you that sight-seeing pamphlet, just brush them aside and say, “No thanks, I got this.”
By Eno Edet