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Your 24-hour itinerary: The Explorer

There’s something to do at every hour of the day in New York, and we’ve got the proof right here


Central Park? Pah. Broadway? Snort. What happened to the real New York? It’s a question you’ll do your best to answer as you investigate every hidden corner of the city on your quest to avoid the mainstream and uncover every delightful secret the city holds. Check out your personalized itinerary below for a guide to NYC’s finest lesser-known spots and adventurous activities. There’s a whole undiscovered city out there, so go ahead—get lost.

8am-9am—get ice cream in your latte at Bluestone Lane

Restaurants Coffee shops Financial District

You’ll have to wind around the confusing streets of the Financial District to find this Australian coffee shop, but the ice-latte—an Australian treat that plops a scoop of ice cream in your coffee—is worth it. So is the avocado smash, served on Balthazar bread.  

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/imjustwalkin

9am-11am—ride horses at the Bronx Equestrian Center

Things to do Cultural centers The Bronx

Horseback riding right off the 6 train? Yep! For $35/hour, hop on a saddle and explore the woods of Pelham Bay Park, where you’ll feel a zillion miles away from the hustle of the city.


11am-12pm—shop at a hidden men’s boutique

Shopping Menswear Lower East Side

The vintage arcade that hides this LES men’s store isn’t totally a front—the games all work. But after a round of Pac-Man, head through the photo booth to find Community 54, a secret back room full of vintage Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger and new pieces from local designers, such as Brooklyn’s Good Wood NYC.

12pm-2pm—watch old TV shows at the Paley Center for Media

Museums History Midtown West

Head to the fourth-floor library at this Midtown West broadcast museum to search (via computer) an archive of more than 100,000 TV shows and radio clips. Then, head down one flight to watch that classic Star Trek episode from an individual console—not quite as comfy as your couch, but the selection is worth it.

Highbridge Park
Photograph: NYCMTB Bicycle Geography

2pm-5pm—mountain bike in Harlem

Attractions Parks and gardens Washington Heights

One of NYC’s lesser-known green spaces, Highbridge Park in Washington Heights runs along the banks of the Harlem River and is home to legit mountain biking trails and BMX tracks. Rent bikes from nearby Tread Bike Shop ($8/hour) and get pedaling.

5pm-7pm—tour MoMa after it closes

Museums Art and design Midtown West

It’s not cheap, but $63 a person is well worth it for after-hours access to a world-famous modern art museum. Guided tours (your only option) run from 5:30-6:30pm and must be arranged in advance. Right now, special exhibitions include a Bjork retrospective, featuring three floors of sounds, video, costumes and more.

Photograph: Camille A Fernandez

7pm-8pm—picnic in a secret park

Attractions Financial District

Savvy Financial District workers know about Elevated Acre, a green space hidden about 30 stories up an escalator in an office building near Pier 11. Hang out here to gaze at the Brooklyn Bridge—an even better activity if you pack a cheese plate.

Hudson Clearwater
Photograph: Courtesy Che Stipanovich

8pm-10pm—eat at the West Village’s hidden restaurant

Restaurants Contemporary American West Village

Ignore the boarded-up storefront and head to the unmarked green door; if there’s space or you’ve made a reservation, the surprisingly unsnobby hosts of Hudson Clearwater will lead you to a table in a tiny, candlelit room or charming garden for modern American plates and top-notch cocktails.


10pm-2am—drink at an unmarked bar

Bars Cocktail bars Chelsea

Breeze through a fully functional coffee shop on 9th Ave at 18th St to find a dark, basement speakeasy with a copper bathtub in the middle. No, you won’t be the first to climb inside it and snap an Instagram after a few TKO cocktails like the Morning Daisy, made with Glenmorangie 10-year, yellow Chartreuse, absinthe and egg white.

Photograph: Courtesy Oleg March/Hill and Dale

2am-4am—eat secret ramen at Hill & Dale

Bars Cocktail bars Lower East Side

Secret ramen—are there two better words in the English language? Every night from midnight to 4am, Benkei Ramen takes over this LES bar to serve its salty noodles (salty is our third favorite word).

New York attractions
Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

4am-6am—take a trip to Staten Island

Attractions Sightseeing Financial District

The ferry to this island borough is free and runs 24 hours—the early, early hours are a wonderful way to take in gorgeous panoramic views of the skyline as it slowly begins to lighten.

6am-8am—run, then relax at Narrows Botanical Garden

Attractions Parks and gardens Bay Ridge

There’s nothing like a new running route to energize your ho-hum routine. Jog along the water on the charming Narrows Promenade Path in Bay Ridge before hitting this five-acre garden, which features a lily pond, a field of roses and animals from turtles to chickens.


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