In New York City, there’s always more to discover than meets the eye.
Within each neighborhood are the landmarks, businesses and venues that often go unnoticed by the broader public. While they can be harder to find, these places contribute to the community, culture and wellness of city-dwellers and visitors alike.
Our reporters scoured the five boroughs seeking out the stories of New York City’s hidden gems. Here’s what they found.
No longer illegal, New York City’s speakeasies look to other thrills
Bootleggers, gangsters, whispered passwords — long gone are the days when acquiring a glass of poorly-distilled whiskey was a clandestine affair. Welcome to the modern speakeasy.
Steinway Street is home for hookah lovers
Steinway Street in Queens is home to a plethora of hookah bars. Each location offers something a little bit different from the next.
The striking art featured in a Long Island City elevator
Visitors come to an office building in Long Island City daily not for the businesses housed within, but for a unique elevator.
North Coast: Hip hop, improv and pushing for diversity in comedy
North Coast is distinctive for its existence within the intersection of improvisational comedy and hip hop. Its members speak about diversity in their group.
Diversity Plaza: Gateway to a cultural melting pot
Jackson Heights is a crossroads of the city’s immigrant communities, and a pedestrian plaza in its midst magnifies the neighborhood’s allure.
Jazz nonprofit keeps late night jam sessions alive in Harlem
Musicians used to play shows all over New York, then head uptown to Harlem to jam – where the true innovation was born. Harlem Late Night Jazz wants to bring them back.
Historic Upper East Side park revered for generations
The 15-acre Upper East Side park is spread across a waterfront esplanade, overlooking the East River with winding paths and 135 types of trees.
All are welcome at Brooklyn’s Cambodian Temple
The Watt Samakki Temple, just off Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, offers a glimpse of stone statues, pagodas and saffron-robed monks presiding over ceremonies.
15 of the most zen places in New York City
It’s important for one to find a sacred space: a place to be still, relax and find serenity. Here are 15 Zen spots in New York City.
At Housing Works Bookstore, volunteering hard to put a price tag on
“I just like being here, I feel like I’m doing something good.” For volunteers, Housing Works Bookstore is a chance to play librarian for a good cause.
Beer, history and gymnastics at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
The Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall in Astoria, Queens, is different from other city bars. It acts as a community center for locals.
The New York Botanical Garden: Beauty builds community
Farming and the Bronx aren’t terms that normally go hand in hand. Bronx Green-Up is trying to change that by teaching local kids to grow fresh produce.
Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill: A tiny, international treasure on the water
The waterfront community of Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, features artists’ studios, temples and historic mansions.
The Cookie House: 39 years of cookies from generation to generation
The Cookie House at Kings Plaza mall in Brooklyn has been a staple since 1978. Learn about its history and why people keep coming back.
Women and LGBTQ community join forces against hate crimes
What started out as strictly a women’s self-defense karate class has expanded over the course of four years to include the LGBTQ community.