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In a place like New York City, the most infamous city in America with over a million residents, it would appear that every avenue of the Big Apple has been explored. But don’t be fooled by the skyline. With a closer inspection of off beaten paths, you’ll find that New York is filled with strange secrets and unusual places not even New Yorkers know about.
Here are ten hidden gems Metro discovered in New York City:
1) Sinking of the Titanic Pier
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The Titanic was supposed to dock at Pier 59 in Chelsea on April 17, 1912. Some of the Titanic passengers were able to make it to the Chelsea Piers after being rescued by the Carpathia ship. The survivors docked at Pier 54 on April 20, 1912. After Pier 54 became out of use, it too began to sink.
2) Abandoned Smallpox Hospital
The Renwick Smallpox Hospital is an abandoned hospital located on the isolated southern tip of Roosevelt Island in an attempt to quarantine patients. A century after it was opened, the hospital closed. The building fell into ruin and in 2007 a section of the north wing collapsed. There have been rumors that after the hospital’s decay, prisoners were dumped there.
3) Beneath the African Burial Grounds
In 1992, construction workers discovered an African Burial Ground in the Civic Center district of Lower Manhattan. The site is now known as the African Burial Ground National Monument and contains the remains of over 400 Africans buried during the late 17th and 18th centuries in a portion of the largest colonial-era cemetery for Africans, some free, most enslaved. The monument highlights the history of African slaves in colonial and federal New York City who were integral to its development.
4) Luxury Asylum Apartments
In 1841, the New York City Lunatic Asylum opened on Roosevelt Island. Unfortunately, the hospital became widely known for its poor treatment. Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, a 19-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, went undercover by the name of Nellie Bly for her first newspaper assignment to discover this mistreatment first-hand. Her report known as Ten Days in a Madhouse caused the asylum to close. The real crazy part is that this spooky site is now a luxury apartment building.
5) Abandoned Train Still in Use
Built along with the rest of Grand Central Terminal, Track 61 is said to be an abandoned train permanently parked beneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. However, the infamous track is supposedly still used as a secret escape train for presidents visiting the city. Although the station is not much to look at, the antique train car is said to transport everyone from military generals to celebrities.
6) Mayor's Mansion (minus the mayor)
Gracie Mansion, located in Carl Schurz Park along East River, is the official residence of the Mayor of New York City. Only visiting public officials and the mayor’s family may reside with the mayor at the mansion, however, no one has stayed at night in the home for years. The only thing this mansion houses is a few city official meetings. Is it because the house overlooks Hell Gate channel in the East River? Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family say they plan on living in the mansion, but no plans to relocate have been set in place.
7)The Yellow Brick Bridge
The Wards Island footbridge located at E. 103rd Street in East Harlem connects Manhattan to Wards Island, also known as Randall’s Island. The bridge was used as the yellow brick road in the 1978 film The Wiz, starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.
8) A Kingdom by the Sea
There is a footbridge crossing the Harlem River from Manhattan to the Bronx. It was said, long ago, that a young solider stationed nearby fell in love with a girl there. The two could often been seen walking along the bridge to Manhattan where they spent their days by the sea. Several months later, the girl died from tuberculosis. The man is said to be Edgar Allen Poe and the woman Annabel Lee. In the opening line, “It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea, that a maiden there liven whom you may know by the name of Annabel Lee.” The kingdom by the sea is believed to be the large Manhattan building beside the bride overlooking the river.
9) Manhattan Forest
Inwood is the northernmost neighborhood on the Manhattan Island, located just beyond Washington Heights. Along the Harlem River sits the Inwood Hill Park, also known as the Manhattan Forest, the only part of Manhattan that remains untouched.
10) Sewage Park
Riverbank State Park is a 28-acre park built on top of Manhattan’s sewage facility. The well-kept park overlooking the Hudson River includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an ice-skating rink in the winter and roll skating rink in the summer, an athletic complex, an 800-seat cultural theater, and a restaurant.
Most of these strange locations can be found aboard the Circle Line 42 cruise, a two-hour boat tour exploring outskirts of New York City.