New York is a subway city. In 2013, ridership exceeded 1.7 billion, and car ownership is incredibly low—less than 44% of New York households have their own car, and on Manhattan that number falls below 25%. The system (mostly) works well, but the downside is that for many people, places off the subway might as well not exist. The upside, however, is that New York is full of ever-so-slightly hidden treasures for those with a little persistence. Here are a few of them.
1. Queens County Farm Museum, Queens
The Queens County Farm Museum occupies the longest continuously cultivated land in New York State. The area has changed, needless to say, since the first crop was sown in 1697—today the farm is between the Cross Island and Grand Central Parkways, just within the boundaries of New York City.
The farm offers tours, farm animals to pet, historic farm buildings to admire, and over the summer, hayrides. It’s still actively farmed, and focuses on sustainable farming practices, with produce sold at Union Square Greenmarket. And if you make the trip out there, general admission is free.
2. Staten Island Zoo, Staten Island
A long way from the Staten Island Railroad, Staten Island Zoo is one of New York’s more affordable zoos. It features an extensive collection of reptiles, which won’t appeal to everybody, but it also has some seriously weird smaller animals, such as a cassowary—the world’s most dangerous bird—Galapagos tortoises, and insanely adorable Patagonian cavies.
Philanthropists and dictators alike have contributed to the collection over the years, and it’s also home to New York’s official groundhog, Staten Island Chuck, who this year predicted an early spring. (This year’s groundhog is a replacement, as Mayor Bill de Blasio may have killed the last one.)
3. Red Hook, Brooklyn
An industrial area on a peninsula in southern Brooklyn, Red Hook is isolated by the Gowanus Expressway and by the lack of a subway connection. Getting to Red Hook by public transport requires some combination of the F or the G, a bus ride, or IKEA’s water taxi.
Red Hook has a fascinating past: formerly the busiest freight port in the world, it lost business to container shipping and rapidly declined. Badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Red Hook has rebounded—there are great festivals in the summer, and a huge range of quirky and independent food options, which include a winery, a key lime pie bakery, not one but three distilleries, and restaurants ranging from seafood to Korean fusion.
4. City Island, Bronx
Over the bridge from the mainland, City Island is a tiny fishing village inside the Bronx on Eastchester Bay. It was once a shipbuilding hub—as in, old-school ships with sails on them—and it’s still a great place to sail. It’s also a popular location for film shooting—parts of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums were shot there, as well as the movie City Island (unsurprisingly). But most of all, City Island is a picturesque location in which to stuff yourself with seafood at one of the numerous restaurants on City Island Avenue.
5. Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn
In the south-east of Brooklyn on Jamaica Bay, Floyd Bennett Field was the site of New York’s first airport, which opened in 1930, and the original terminal and hangars are still on the site. Once LaGuardia Airport opened, the city decided to sell Floyd Bennett field to the Navy, which used it as an air station during World War II.
It’s now within the Gateway National Recreation Area, and a place where you can enjoy almost any outdoor activity you can imagine—canoeing, kayaking, sports, ecological walks, urban camping, and workshops on gardening. There’s even a volunteer group that runs the Historic Aircraft Restoration Project, rebuilding old airplanes in one of the old airport’s hangars.
6. LaGuardia Airport, Queens
Public transport stories about Joe Biden’s least favorite airport tend to be heart-in-the-mouth horror tales of almost missing/actually missing a flight. It’s not much better when you get there, either, since LaGuardia finished in last place in a survey of airport amenities for passengers. Better buses have made the journey somewhat easier.
7. 10 Gracie Square Penthouse, Manhattan
It’s hard to argue that there are places in Manhattan that you can’t reach by subway, but you can find the hardest place to get to. The answer, however, will not make you feel sorry for anyone.
I Quant NY analyzed New York lot data against MTA subway entrance maps, and found that the Manhattan apartment most distant from the subway is 10 Gracie Square, an Upper East Side building at the very end of 84th Street. And since the penthouse apartment is furthest distance from the ground, it must also be the furthest away from the subway.
If you can tolerate the 0.8 mile walk to the 6 train, and you have $16.95 million on hand, this penthouse can be yours. And that’s a steal when you consider the $23 million the sellers wanted originally.
There’s an endless amount to do and see without leaving the subway—but hopefully this encourages you to go (literally) off the rails and try a few new things.
About the Author
Luxor Limo helps passengers get the most out of New York City with its range of high-end cars and limousines, offering superior service, professionalism, and comfort. Visit us at:http://www.luxorlimo.com/.