To visitors and native New Yorker’s alike the city provides an abundance of historical landmarks that make the city what it is. But past its more famous icons like the Empire State Building and Ellis Island, there lay a few hidden gems that tell a different story. Here are six locations that often get overshadowed by more famous attractions but are just as worth seeing.
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- US Customs House (1 Bowling Green)
- New York Historical Society (170 Central Park West)
- The Morris Jumel Mansion (65 Jumel Terrace, Brooklyn)
- Alice Austen House (2 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island)
- Cathedral of Saint John the Devine (1047 Amsterdam Ave.)
- Knickerbocker Door (Times Square Shuttle Platform, Manhattan)
US Customs House (1 Bowling Green)
The Alexander Hamilton US Customs House was built in 1907 on the same site as the first settlement on the island of Manhattan. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by enormous sculptors depicting international commerce. Inside is a large circular room with wood panels and large murals depicting New York marine culture.
New York Historical Society (170 Central Park West)
If you want to learn about specific periods in New York’s history, this is the place to go. Located just across from the National History Museum, the Historical Society has ever-changing exhibits that showcase the cities rich history from pre-revolutionary days to 9/11. It’s also New York’s oldest museum, having been founded way back in 1804.
The Morris Jumel Mansion (65 Jumel Terrace, Brooklyn)
One of New York City’s oldest homes, the Morris Jumel Mansion can prove a real treat. Built-in 1765 by British military officer Rodger Morris, it has served many famous residents over its 250-year history. It was a temporary headquarters for George Washington after his defeat at the battle of Brooklyn. In 1904 the city purchased it which now serves as a historic house museum. If you want to see what a New York home would have been like in the 1700s, it’s well worth a visit.
Alice Austen House (2 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island)
If the Morris Jumel Mansion wasn’t old enough for you, then you can head back to 1690 at the Alice Austen house. Built by a Dutch merchant and later remodeled in the Gothic Revival style in 1844, the house takes its name from Alice Austen who extensively photographed it in the early days of her photography career. It now stands as a museum to this noteworthy photographer.
Cathedral of Saint John the Devine (1047 Amsterdam Ave.)
In a city famous for its churches, Saint John the Devine is sadly often overlooked. It is the fourth largest Christian church in the world, and it still hasn’t been completed. Nicknamed Saint John the Unfinished, the church is a timeline of construction techniques and styles as each change reflects the period it, was built.
Knickerbocker Door (Times Square Shuttle Platform, Manhattan)
As the city’s subway has expanded over the last century some old relics of its past remains. If you make a stop at the Time Square station at the western end of the platform, you’ll see an ordinary door with the word “Knickerbocker” written above. At one time, a stairway behind the door leads to the Knickerbocker hotel. The connection was severed long ago, but the door remains.