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8 Unusual Places You Should See in New York City, Part 2

Dominique is the author of Boston Citywalks & New York Citywalks, two sites with 18 self-guided tours to visit Boston or New York on foot.

Introduction

If you came directly to this article, it's the 2nd part of a 2 parts article.

You can access Part 1 by clicking on this link; you'll discover 4 places in Queens, Lower Manhattan and Midtown.

The ones below are in Central Park and Upper Manhattan.

Cleopatra's Needle, Central Park

Walk in NYC # 12, from Central Park to the Upper East Side

Walk in NYC # 12, from Central Park to the Upper East Side

Located in Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, this obelisk is part of a set of 3 obelisks of the same name, another one being in France and the third one in England.

Historically, it is the last one to have been given, and it was erected in its present place in 1881. This one, like the one in England, comes from Heliopolis and dates from 1450 BC. That is to say about 1000 years before Cleopatra. The other one came from Luxor. It is said that Cleopatra had them moved to decorate a temple in Alexandria, yet the temple was never built and the obelisks remained buried in the sand. This is undoubtedly the reason why they made good gifts later!

In any case, it is now possible for you to see a part of ancient Egypt in the heart of Manhattan.

And not far from there you'll have the heart of Central Park, Bethesda Terrace, always bustling, then, if you fancy a bite to eat, the Loeb Boathouse with a view of the lake.

Unless it is the Museum Miles that attract you, also nearby.

You'll find all of this and more in Walk in NYC # 12, from Central Park to Upper East Side.

NY Central Railroad 69th Street Transfer Bridge

Walk in NYC # 11, the multiple sides of the Upper West Side

Walk in NYC # 11, the multiple sides of the Upper West Side

Located along the Hudson River and its promenade, the Transfer Bridge is what remains of a whole railroad grid that brought freight cars there to transfer them onto barges and bring them to New Jersey. Believe it or not, it was much quicker and much easier to do that than going around Manhattan and back along the Jersey shore.

This bridge dates from 1911 and it is now quite incongruous next to the postmodern buildings that have recently been erected there. Yet the contrast and the view of the river are a good reason to go and see it. From an abandoned and rusty industrial relic, it has become a contemporary modern sculpture with good opportunities for original photos. The whole walk along the corridor is a succession of small surprising and pleasant places, in fact.

Not far away, you will see one of the locomotives used at the time and you will also find a café-restaurant open seasonally if you fancy a meal or a drink with views of the river.

Strivers' Row, West 128th and West 129th Street

Walk in NYC # 13, from East Harlem to Central Harlem

Walk in NYC # 13, from East Harlem to Central Harlem

A historic district in Harlem, Strivers' Row, officially the St Nicholas Historic District, was originally a housing project for upper-middle-class whites.

Built by David King at the end of the 19th century, these rows of elegant rowhouses overlooked St. Nicholas Park and were supposed to create a self contained neighborhood. The private courtyards at the back allowed the delivery men to come without using the main entrance and the horses to be quietly put in stables.

The project was unsuccessful as whites began to leave Harlem around this time and developers did not want to sell to blacks until the 1910s.

The apartments then attracted the well-to-do black class, the successful ones, hence the nickname Strivers' row given to this place.

Today and after a dark period, the area is now on the National Historical Landmarks and has regained its character. Yet it is always compulsory to dismount to enter the inner courtyards!

At the end of the street, another curiosity, the Hamilton Grange, a National Memorial where you'll discover the house and the life of this Founding Father of the USA.

Sylvan Terrace, Washington Height

Walk in NYC # 15, in Hudson Heights and Washington Heights

Walk in NYC # 15, in Hudson Heights and Washington Heights

Sylvan Terrace is a cobbled street from another age; it's surrounded by 19th century wooden houses with at one end a small stone staircase that takes you to St Nicholas Ave and contemporary civilization.

The street looks like a movie set and it has indeed appeared in some movies but the current price of these houses, all identical and stuck to each other, is not fictitious: count a million and a half dollars to live ( almost) like in the old days.

Across that cobbled street is the Morris-Jumel Mansion, supposedly a now haunted house and New York's oldest house. Built in 1765, it was used as a summer residence and a farm.

On either side, the beautiful stone mansions of Jumel Terrace, a row of 50 residential houses also dating from the end of the 19th century and also inscribed on the registry of National Historical Places.

Some hidden gems in the north end of Manhattan!

An Afterword

That's it for this article, but New York City is full of hidden treasures once you go off the beaten path and you'll find many of them on my site! (search for New York Citywalks).

Happy discoveries!


Comments

Dominique Lecomte (author) from Medford, MA, USA on December 02, 2020:

Thanks again, Liz. Happy it can be useful and hopeful it will be.

Dominique Lecomte (author) from Medford, MA, USA on December 02, 2020:

Thanks Eurofile. Keep it handy when you (can) come!

Liz Westwood from UK on December 02, 2020:

This is an excellent series and a great resource for visitors to the city.