New Yorkers might know their city like the back of their hand, but there’s still a plethora of old places to explore, you just have to know where to look.
From historic residential groves and tiny roads that have been left behind by the requirements for vehicle traffic to alleyways that were only used for horses and carriages back in the day.
Here are 10 amazing hidden streets in NYC you can visit right now:
Washington Mews, Greenwich Village
A private, gated but often open street just north of Washington Square Park, between Fifth Avenue and University Place, is a trip back in time to the days of row houses and stables. Around 1950, NYU rented most of these buildings and converted them into faculty housing and offices.
Doyers Street, Chinatown
Once known as the Bloody Angle, Doyers Street is a 200-foot-long curved street between Pell Street to Bowery that was once one of the deadliest streets. From hatchet killings to shootings, the street was infamous for its violent events. Its strange curve actually follows the route of an old stream and was also home to the first Chinese language theater in NYC. Now it’s a pedestrian-only street that attracts New Yorkers because of its great restaurants and bars.
Gay Street, Greenwich Village
Another angled street, Gay Street, was named after a family who lived there during colonial times, hence the Federal-style houses on the west side of the street. The stretch, between Christopher Street and Waverly Place, has been in a few different films and videos, including 1943’s A Night to Remember, and the music videos for Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun, and Sheryl Crow’s A Change Would Do You Good.
Grove Street, West Village
Only spanning five blocks, Grove Street is lined with Federal-style buildings and leafy trees making for an almost European, old-world feel. Not only does it have one of the city’s oldest homes at 17 Grove Street, it also has one of the most secret housing developments located between 10 and 12 Grove Street, called Grove Court. Behind a wrought iron gate are just six townhouses that were built in 1853 for the poor, but now they are a hot commodity.
Sylvan Terrace, Washington Heights
This street was once the original carriage drive for the Morris-Jumel Mansion, but when the property was sold off in the 1800s, 20 wooden houses were eventually built here. Luckily, since 1970, Sylvan Terrace was designated a city landmark and has been kept uniform as much as possible. Apparently, Lin-Manuel Miranda said this is one of his favorite inspiration spots in NYC.
Verandah Place, Cobble Hill
Situated in Cobble Hill’s Historic District, this little street harkens back to its mid-1800s roots with townhouses and a park across the way. It was originally a mews for carriages and horses. Verandah Place also became a hotbed for criminal activity in the early 20th century. The police at the time said it was the worst spot in the entire precinct. Years later in 1967, it was landmarked and preserved.
Warren Place Mews, Cobble Hill
Hidden between Warren and Baltic streets, this little alley-like residential property with townhouses and cottages will make you swear you’re not in New York City anymore. It’s not a mews like the other locations but was actually built as a working-class housing development in 1879 by Alfred Tredway White. Now, 34 homes still exist here and sell for millions.
Stone Street, sitting between Whitehall Street in the west and Hanover Square, is one of NYC’s oldest streets. It has been around since the Dutch were here and in 1658 it became the first cobbled street in New Amsterdam. After the British moved in, it was called Duke Street before it was paved in 1794 and renamed Stone Street. The old path is actually preserved in the curved lobby of 85 Broad Street. It’s not exactly secret, but it’s certainly lesser known than most roads in NYC.
For being the most-filmed street in NYC, Cortlandt Alley isn’t well known. Sitting in Chinatown, this narrow, dark alley is pretty gritty with graffiti, rusted fire escapes, and creepy doors you wouldn’t want to enter. It served as the backdrop for those violent scenes in Gotham and Crocodile Dundee and NYPD Blue. And yes, the street is named after a descendant of the landowning Dutch colonial family, the Van Cortlandt.
This cul-de-sac is located within Greenwich Village off 10th Street and Greenwich Avenue and sits between 10 brick rowhouses. It has one of two of the city’s still-standing 19th-century gas street lamps, running on electricity these days and the three-story brick homes here were built in 1848 as boarding houses. This alleyway is famous among writers because it’s where several famous writers, including Theodore Dreiser, E. E. Cummings, John Cowper Powys, and Djuna Barnes lived.
(Text and Image Courtesy: Timeout.com)