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New York City's everpresence in popular media has led most people, even a lot of people who have never been to New York, to think they know everything about the city. But these people are wrong. There's more to New York City than just what an architect in Canada can tell you about the Empire State Building. www.nycgo.com, New York City's official tourism website, has released a guide to the city's coolest, most interesting, and lest known places. If you're living in or visiting the city, you should check them out. Then you'll really have seen everything. Here are some highlights of what you'll discover.
The Whispering Gallery
In New York City's famous Grand Central Terminal, a curious accident of architecture and acoustics has led to a secret archway outside the Oyster Bar and Restaurant where the merest whisper in one corner will be audible to someone standing in the diagonal corner. It's a great way to chat about the hockey tournament when the station's filled with busy, noisy, commuters.
Berlin Wall Remnants
The day in 1989 when an army of citizens demolished the wall between East and West Germany lives in history forever as the day communism collapsed. People all over the world scrambled to collect souvenirs of the wall's rubble before the government banned it. Now it's hard to see even a small piece outside of Germany, but there it's 20 foot by 12 foot section sitting innocuously in Parley Park.
Have you ever wondered where boats go when they die? Some boats that have outlived their usefulness are beached off of Arthur Kill Road in Staten Island. You can visit this swampy mess to see the boats in all their rusted glory, cable sheaves and hulls thin and creaky with age. Spooky!
Old Subway Tunnel
Several authors have written stories about people living in the vast, untold, unmapped depths of New York City in abandoned steam, sewer, and subway tunnels. You might write these stories off as fiction, but the old tunnels are real. If you want to visit one without worrying about being exposed to poisonous water treatment chemicals or dangerous homeless people, check out the one on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn for a guided tour.
In the 1800s and 1900s, there were no interoffice email systems or bike messengers. People who needed to transmit messages and small objects to one another used a system of pneumatic tubes that spirited items between walls and lead glass windows and even over bridges and across the city. Most of them are long gone, but you can still see some of these historical tubes at work in the New York Public Library when you make a book request.