New York City is full of unique experiences and places to explore. For a truly unforgettable day, here are some of my favorites:
- A plant shop that transforms into a bar in the evening
- A weekly underground rap battle at a local bar
- Tour of catacombs
- King’s Country Distillery visit
- Riding the Wooden Escalators at Macy’s
Discover the unique and fun side of NYC!
Experience the city’s vibrant culture with a Broadway show. Or, take a tour of Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens for some stunning skyline views.
Plant Shop That Turns Into a Bar at Night
During the COVID-19 pandemic, house plants were prevalent, bringing life and vibrancy to many homes. In Denver, some bars have taken advantage of this trend and are now selling plants alongside drinks.
At the Plant Pub, Katie and Alice Peterson have transformed a single-room bar into a beer-and-wine-licensed garden shop downtown Battle Ground. The bar, which opened in November, is full of plants. [learn about best outdoor planters for your home]
The pub is cozy yet not cramped. It is adorned with cacti and flowers, covering an entire wall. It is a great place to relax and socialize, with various seating options. The chalkboard lists the drink menu.
In addition to a selection of drinks that changes regularly, the bar also hosts “workshops” led by local people. For instance, you can learn how to tie macrame, paint and design theming boards, or build moss poles for climbing plants.
Broken Cage’s business’s plant-based side may not generate much revenue, but Nguyen has noticed that some customers ask for specific varieties that she doesn’t offer. She started selling them wholesale to meet this demand, which helped her keep prices low.
Little Green is a popular, interactive retail space where people come together to plant, shop, and enjoy coffee. Its plant bar allows customers to create unique plant arrangements and choose from various containers and soil toppings.
If you’re searching for something special in New York City, you must visit a plant shop that transforms into a bar in the evening! This one-of-a-kind store offers entertaining events, delicious food, and refreshing drinks – guaranteed to please. [BTW, find out about the difference between an NYC-style pizza and a Chicago style pizza in our comprehensive guide.]
Weekly Underground Rap Battle
Whether you’re an experienced hip-hop fan or a newcomer, New York City is a hub for some of the best rap talent in the world. From the boastful lyricists of Harlem to the straightforward Brooklyn MCs, this city is a blend of unique styles and influences.
But one thing that binds the city’s various boroughs is the unbridled, boundless audacity that characterizes its hip-hop culture. This confidence and boldness have powered the underground rappers who have shaped hip-hop for decades.
It’s the penultimate Friday of November, and the Legendary Cyphers crew has just reached their usual spot in the southwest corner of Union Square. It’s just after 8 pm, and the audience is swelling. However, the group’s organizers are struggling to locate a place to set up. They’ve attempted to relocate but run out of space and must keep the cipher here.
Residents of the Bronx have been gathering for four seasons to express themselves and connect with other hip-hop fans. This year, the group is incredibly saddened by losing a beloved member.
Hustle, the resident MC of the group, cues up an instrument from his phone and plays it through a Beats Pill Bluetooth speaker. As soon as the beat drops, other rappers are invited to join in and start their verses.
Battle rap is an old-school competition where rappers go head-to-head in a fast-paced exchange of rhymes. These battles, which often come with a cash prize, have been integral to the success of some of the most renowned rappers, such as Kendrick Lamar and Eminem. It is in these battles that the best freestyle rap is created.
Take a Tour of the Catacombs
New York astounds visitors with its towering skyscrapers, dazzling Times Square signs, and Central Park alleys. But the city also holds a secret. Beneath a two-hundred-year-old church lies a maze of vaults, where bishops lie in repose alongside notable New York Catholics who significantly impacted the city’s history.
The Catacombs are an unforgettable experience everyone should try while in New York City. Knowledgeable locals lead tours in multiple languages, making it a unique adventure.
This church is unique and historically significant, so it’s essential to adhere to health and safety protocols when visiting. You can attend Mass and other religious ceremonies, and you might even hear a funeral taking place.
Taking a tour is an excellent way to learn about the rich history of New York City and how the Catholic Church has impacted it over the centuries. You’ll see where some of the most influential New York Catholics have been laid to rest and learn about their accomplishments and struggles.
Tours are available exclusively through Tommy’s New York and can be booked online. Tickets are limited, so book early to secure yours during peak season.
The catacombs offer a profoundly moving experience for Catholics and those of faith. Father Tom Wilkinson, director of marketing for St. Patrick’s Basilica, which owns the catacombs, noted that they also provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate to non-Catholics how the Catholic Church upholds mercy and dignity in death.
A catacombs tour isn’t included in a standard sightseeing pass. However, you can use a New York Explorer Pass or Go City Pass to access the site for free. To do so, you’ll need to purchase tickets online beforehand and select your departure time during the booking process.
King’s Country Distillery
Kings County Distillery, located in Brooklyn Navy Yard, is one of New York City’s oldest whiskey distilleries. This 115-year-old building is home to award-winning craft moonshine and bourbon and a spirited museum called the Boozeum, located on-site.
Colin Spoelman, a Kentucky native, runs the distillery. He honed his distilling skills by making moonshine in his apartment before turning it into a full-time career. His whiskeys are unique, crafted from a blend of organic corn from New York State and barley from England and Scotland.
Their bourbon is crafted with 80% organic New York corn and 20% English malted barley. It is fermented in large open tanks and distilled in Scottish copper pot stills.
Kings County produces a variety of spirits, including peated bourbon, single malt whiskey, and chocolate whiskey. Tours and tastings are available, so it’s wise to plan.
As the first whiskey distillery in Brooklyn since Prohibition, Kings County has a long history of crafting unique and acclaimed craft whiskeys. Their Bottled Bond Bourbon is particularly noteworthy among its peers.
Kings County produces its renowned bourbon and rye and peated rye whiskeys. To sample a variety of their whiskeys, consider purchasing the 200 ml bottles – a great way to support a local business.
Kings County Distillery is the place to go if you’re seeking a one-of-a-kind New York experience. Established 115 years ago, their 45-minute tours provide an excellent opportunity to learn about whiskey-making and sample a few varieties.
Wooden Escalators at Macy’s
New York City is renowned for its iconic landmarks and attractions. There’s something to suit all tastes, from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge.
But the city also boasts a few lesser-known gems. One of these is the wooden escalators at Macy’s. Not many people know about them, but they are a unique and exciting store feature. The escalators are made of wood and are a great example of the city’s history and culture.
Nestled in the shadow of the majestic Empire State Building, on the ninth floor of the iconic Macy’s department store in Manhattan (think “Miracle on 34th St.”), you can still ride one of the world’s last functioning wooden escalators. Built sometime between 1920 and 1930 by the Otis Elevator Company, it has a distinct Steampunk/Dieselpunk feel and a unique clacking sound, unlike any other escalator you’ll ever use.
It reminded me of the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island. I haven’t been on it, but the wooden escalator was pretty neat.
Type L escalators, manufactured by the Otis Elevator Company in the 1920s and 30s, are made of solid oak and ash. Their prodigious cleats are milled from single pieces of wood, making them unique and durable.
The escalators are numbered from one to twenty. Each number indicates the floor the escalator descends to or ascends to. For example, Escalator 55 drops from the sixth floor to the fifth floor, while Escalator 65 goes up to the same floor on the opposite side of the building.
The clacking echoes throughout the store, reminding me of the Cyclone. It’s so unique that it makes me want to ride it again in New York City!