What the guidebooks won't tell you

Our editors chose the city's most vital places, people and things-and then tracked down un-Googleable, ultra-valuable tips about each. Plus some quizzes to see what you already know.

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Michael Bodycomb

The Frick Collection



WHY ESSENTIAL:
The Metropolitan Museum has more Vermeers, but the one in the Frick Collection, Mistress and Maid (1665–1670), is why we love this museum. It shows the eponymous woman in a vivid-yellow dress trimmed in ermine—you may remember it from the biopic Girl with a Pearl Earring, in which the subject’s Philistine husband says, “You’ve glazed my wife in dried piss!”

The secret:
“If you stand in the Oval Room, you’re directly over a beautifully preserved 1914 bowling alley in our basement—it contains a snooker table as well as two lanes for bowling,” says the museum’s spokesperson Heidi Rosenau. The area (whose existence, we admit, is Googleable) is closed to the public because of building-code rules, but (and this you won’t get anywhere else) one lucky TONY reader and a guest can get a behind-the-scenes tour of the mansion. 1 E 70th St at Fifth Ave (212-288-0700, frick.org)

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