One of the best things about New York City is that new underground places keep popping up almost daily. Beyond the postcard version of NYC that’s on everyone’s bucket lists, these spaces showcase the best and most innovative fashion, food, and art. Plus, there’s a different kind of charm to stumbling across magical spots that only a few know about.
Of course, this isn’t to undermine the sprawling towers and luxurious buildings that NYC has come to be known for. In fact, Yoreevo reveals that skyscrapers continue to dominate the Big Apple, with more being built each year. However, it’s in the more nondescript pockets of the city where creatives thrive.
Whether you’re a starving artist or someone who simply likes to admire paintings on a wall, you’ll definitely appreciate the creative energy that no other city in the world can provide like New York. Here are some places to add to your itinerary.
Museums and galleries
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The Neue Galerie is right on Museum Mile, but is often overlooked in favor of its more prominent siblings. But don’t be so quick to walk past it — the space is home to stunning twentieth century German and Austrian art, with colorful Klimt paintings hung on ornate walls.
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The Museum of Food and Drink, otherwise known as MOFAD, is on a mission to create a fully-fledged food museum. Their current exhibition in Williamsburg traces Chinese American culture through its food, so if you’re a fan of the cross-cultural shows “Chef’s Table” or “No Reservations”, then you should definitely head over.
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Creatives everywhere are pushing the boundaries of what art is, and you can find many of these norm-shakers in the Chelsea neighborhood — a community known for its dynamic artist hubs. The Jack Shainman Gallery has two Chelsea locations, attesting to its reputation as a forerunner in defining NYC’s contemporary art scene.
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Make your way towards Queens to visit the Knockdown Center, an events space, bar, concert hall, and gallery in one. The multi-purpose space displays a huge, colorful mural that’s modeled after Plato’s cave allegory. The piece is also displayed together with a poetry installation, allowing you to see how art connects across forms.
Bars and venues
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Silent Barn, located in Bushwick, is the ultimate hip hangout. This studio space also doubles as a music venue. But the catch is that you never really know which musicians will play. To this day, they’ve hosted everyone from folk quartets and indie-pop songstresses, to “noise music” bands.
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Revered by locals, Bill’s Place in Harlem is often seen as ground zero when it comes to the Harlem Renaissance. A plaque outside their door boasts that the legendary Billie Holiday was discovered here, which should give you a sense of the talent that this place attracts.
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New Yorkers love <strong>The Public Theater</strong>, a cultural institution whose underlying message is to democratize theater for everyone. Even The New York Times has dubbed it one of the most prestigious non-profits in the entire country, and a key player in shaping NYC’s theater scene. For starters, the hit musical “Hamilton” made its off-Broadway debut here, and they’re also responsible for the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” shows.
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La MaMa is arguably the top destination for experimental theatre. If you’re looking for something more avant-garde than what’s on Broadway, buy a ticket to see shows written by emerging playwrights and musicians.
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Central Park is known for its sprawling gardens, but there’s a lot of art scattered around the premises that’s worth checking out. Mark Manders’ Tilted Head is the most recent addition. It’s a massive sculpture that looks like it’s straight out of an ancient temple, making it hard to miss.
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There’s no better time to catch Brooklyn’s Bush Terminal, which has just been adorned with a new mural. Brooklyn Reporter was at its unveiling last September, which also served as a project between artist Angel Garcia and Sunset Park residents. The piece represents the rich diversity of the neighborhood.
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Keep your eyes peeled for Francoise Schein’s piece located on 110 Greene Street. This large-scale subway map, constructed out of stainless steel and recessed lighting, is literally plastered on the street for viewers to see.
What are some of your favorite NYC art spaces? Tell us in the comments below!