When people outside of New York think of the Big Apple, they imagine rude taxi drivers – a stereotype I won’t contest – along with hordes of people walking super-fast on the sidewalk and a forest of glitzy skyscrapers. All of those are true at varying degrees, but sometimes people forget that it’s a city filled with history. After all, New York City was one of the original Colonies.
If you’re planning to visit this bustling metropolis, but you want to explore outside the beaten path, then you should check out these 5 interesting sights.
Fort Totten Park
Situated in the outer-borough of Queens, this park is a favorite of joggers and bicyclists. The Park is owned by the City of New York and is maintained with the help of the U.S. Army Reserve. Interestingly, the fort’s design was directed by Robert E. Lee when he worked as an Army engineer before the Civil War. Even if you’re not looking to burn calories, this piece of real estate offers remnants of New York’s past that are well worth exploring – especially during sunset.
Ft. Totten Park. Courtesy of abecedariumnyc
Staten Island Boat Graveyard
The words “Staten Island” and “boat graveyard” arranged together is quite possibly on the very top of a travel agency’s list of what you should never utter in the presence of clients, but the Staten Island Arthur Kill Ship Graveyard offers not only compelling scenery that is hauntingly beautiful, but fascinating stories of the unique boats that call the place their resting place. If you’re a photography enthusiast, I highly recommend taking photos here at dawn when the orange sunrise illuminates the rusted ships half-way submerged into the Arthur Kill Strait’s murky waters.
Roosevelt Island Tower (aka The Octagon)
Ah, Roosevelt Island, that little island surrounded by its alpha-male big brothers. If you’re commuting from Queens or Brooklyn, and are headed to the big city, you don’t even give Roosevelt Island much thought – but make no mistake: the Roosevelt Island tower is worth admiring. It was a derelict and abandoned gem for a long time, but it was recently resurrected from the ashes of history into a pretty nifty luxury residence.
This is one of the largest, and most beautiful, cemeteries in the whole State of New York. It is a national historic site and is the resting place of many famous New Yorkers, such as the late-great artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The architecture of the Gothic entrance will make you feel like you’re entering a kingdom of vampires, but the landscape will ease you with its beauty. Strolling through a cemetery has never been less macabre.
We go to museums to look at beautiful paintings by the masters, or awe-inspiring dinosaur fossils, but the Cloisters Museum is a place where you can unwind and learn about the interesting history of different types of monasteries built throughout the ages. Wander through the corridors or sit underneath one of the finely-crafted arches, and pause the New York minute for some temporary introspection.
I hope that this has been an illuminating look at some locations in New York City that you may not have known about. On your next visit, make sure you escape from the bustle of Times Square and seek out some locations with even richer historical backstories.