10 Weird Things to Do in New York City

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I’m Chris. I do travel guides that are fun, informative, and entertaining. And in this video, I’m going to be telling you not the things that everybody knows about New York City, like the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center. But I’m going to be telling you some things that are definitely off the beaten tourist path that are pretty weird. This is part of my series on New York City.

But here we go. The first weird thing to do in New York City is to visit New York City’s smallest museum. It fits inside a freight elevator and only fits three people. So you may be wondering, why am I standing in an alley?

Well actually, this is the location of the Museum. Two M’s at the beginning, two M’s at the end. It is located inside this freight elevator.

It has slightly odd hours. You have to check the website for when they’re open. But it has these little windows on it that you can actually see inside, even when it’s closed.

And because it is so small, you can see pretty much everthing, just from the windows. And if you want to know more about it, well, they’ve got a little sign on the outside that you can call this 1-800 number, dial an extension, and hear the audio guide for any one of the items in the museum. The second weird thing to do in New York City is visit The Evolution Store to pick up some gifts for all your friends. It’s kind of like the Natural History Museum, except you can buy things here.

Inside, they’ve got fossils, minerals, skulls and skeletons, taxidermy butterflies and beetles, and even home decor. If you’re looking for an alligator’s head, a shark’s jaw, porcupine quills, you will find it all here. Come back from New York not will a crappy I Heart New York tee shirt, but come back with something quite original from The Evolution Store. The third weird thing to do in New York City is visit Doyer Street in Chinatown. So why is this street weird? Well because it’s a 200 foot street with a 90 degree curved angle at the back.

And for a time, this street was named Bloody Angle, as it was the site of numerous murderous gang battles and street battles. There’s also an alleged network of tunnels that connect these secret buildings together. And again, this is all weird because Manhattan is a city of almost every street being straight. And so the fact that this one has a curve in it makes it seem very much different than the rest of the city. And frankly, it’s kind of weird that a curved street is a tourist attraction. But the curve and the narrowness of the street make it feel very removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Chinatown.

Also, it’s interesting to take a look at the storefronts here. It’s home to numerous Chinese barbershops and nail salons. It’s also home to the Nam Wah Tea Parlor, in business since 1920.

And it was the first restaurant to bring dim sum to New York City. Oh, and if you didn’t find any souvenirs to bring back from The Evolution Shop, check out the little souvenir store on the corner of Doyer and Pell Street. Lots of neat Chinese gifts. The fourth weird thing to do when you’re in New York City is to visit the abandoned city hall subway station.

This subway station was original from 1904, when they built the New York City subway. It was one of the most beautiful, but one of the least used. They closed it in 1945 because New York started operating bigger trains that couldn’t really operate at this station well because of the curved platform.

It has a tiled ceiling. It has a chandelier in it. It is quite impressive.

You can visit it two ways, one as a private tour from the New York City Public Transit Museum. You have to be a member. You can check their website for times. Or you can see it riding the downtown-bound 6 train after it leaves the Brooklyn Bridge station. The fifth weird thing to do when you visit New York City is to visit the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital ruins.

This is a crumbling hospital from the 1850s on Roosevelt Island, an island just off to the side of Manhattan. This hospital was built in the 1850s to keep smallpox patients away from the general population in Manhattan. The only way to get to this island at the time was by ferry. The hospital really was only in operation from 1856 to 1875. To get to Roosevelt island, take the F train to Roosevelt Island.

Or you can ride the tramway in. It’s an aerial tramway, which is pretty cool. An I’ve got a whole bunch more information about riding the tramway in my video on Roosevelt Island. Click the card to watch and find the link in the description. Or it’s a part of my New York City travel guide playlist. The next weird thing to do in New York City is to get in touch with nature at The Earth Room.

It’s located in SoHo at 141 Wooster Street, which is this building behind me. Up on the second floor, there is a room. It’s been there since 1977, and it is filled with 287,000 pound of, yes, earth, or dirt. It’s in a room 3,600 square feet.

Admission is free. It’s open early afternoons, and then in the evenings. Check their website for complete details. It’s closed in the summer, because I think they have no air conditioning, and it gets hot.

If you are coming, really only come here if you’re in the SoHo neighborhood. But if you are, it’s certainly worth a stop in, because it doesn’t cost anything. When you get to 141 Wooster Street, there’s a little doorbell.

Push the button that says 2B. They’ll buzz you in. You go up flight of stairs, and then you’ll be there to admire The Earth Room.

And the smell of the dirt, yes, it does smell a bit like nature in the middle of busy Manhattan. For a weird evening show, skip Broadway and check out The Slipper Room. This is located in the Lower East Side. It’s been in Manhattan since 1999, home to New York City’s neo-burlesque. Also home to circus acts, magicians, fire dancers, comedians, just lots of interesting variety shows here at The Slipper Room. Definitely a show you won’t find on Broadway.

They eighth weird thing to do when you visit New York City is to visit the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. Well Coney Island, in and of itself, is pretty weird. Though it’s not as weird as it once used to be.

But Coney Island is still one of the few places where you can see a proper sideshow with acts like a human blockhead, a sword swallower, a contortionist, and more. The ninth weird thing to do when you visit New York City is to dine at the Joe Allen Restaurant. Dine among Broadway flops at this restaurant. Many restaurants put up posters of great Broadway shows.

This restaurant puts up posters of shows that flopped and didn’t do well. It started one year when the restaurant’s owner, Joe Allen, was given a poster of the show “Kelly.” Where else to hang the poster, other than in his restaurant? Unfortunately, the show ran for one performance before it flopped.

Since then, it’s become a Broadway tradition, or curse, for those shows to accessorize Joe Allen’s walls. The tenth weird thing to do when you visit New York City is to visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion. It is known as one of the most haunted places in New York City. For the fearless, go ahead and explore the spooky mansion on your own.

I certainly hope you do not encounter its troubled, old mistress, who is said to haunt the mansion. When you go through, I don’t know if you’ll see any ghosts, but when I looked at the pictures, you will certainly see mannequins that are pretty creepy. But they are supposed to show what life was like in the 1800s. Thanks for reading.