March to the beat of a different drummer? Or just looking for some insider tips on fun places to visit where you won't find the roaring crowds? Here is NYC.com's list of favorite off the beaten track places:
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a wonderfully tranquil place to visit regardless of the season or weather. Its Japanese Garden is spectacular, the Cherry Esplanade and Rose Garden particularly beautiful when in full bloom. Don't miss the greenhouses, bonsai collection or a stroll down the many sprawling tree-lined walkways.
The Cloisters are New York's unique home for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s vast medieval holdings, built atop one of Washington Heights’ many hills, more a sanctuary on the mountaintop than a museum. Enjoy the experience of a Gothic monastery, incoporating architectural features of a French cloister, replete with tapestries, stained glass, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts and intricate gardens.
The Delegates' Dining Room at the United Nations, First Avenue and East 45th Street, is one of New York's best kept secrets. You need not be an ambassador to reserve a table, although reserving in advance is essential: (212) 963-7626. Enjoy spectacular views of the East River and a huge prix-fixe buffet before or after your UN tour. Business attire required. Arrive 20 minutes before your reservation time to get through security.
The Downtown Boathouse isn't just for kayakers; it's about making the Hudson River accessible to all. With sites in TriBeCa and Midtown (West 56th Street), visiting is a nice part of a stroll along the fabulous Hudson River esplanade.
The Earth Room by Walter DiMaria in SoHo is one of New York's most unusual attractions. Launched in 1977, this interior earth sculpture has 250 cubic yards of earth spread over 3,600 square feet of floor space and is 22 inches deep. It weighs 280,000 lbs.! Do check the opening hours before you visit.
The Frick Collection evokes the splendor and tranquillity of a time gone by and at the same time testifies to how great art collections can still inspire viewers today. Housed in the New York mansion built by Henry Clay Frick, one of America’s most successful steel and railroad tycoons, are masterpieces of Western painting, sculpture, and decorative art, displayed in a serene and intimate setting.
The Neue Galerie contains the phenomenal Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky collection. Featuring Austrian and German fine decorative arts, the gift shop and Café Sabarsky are delightful as well.
The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City celebrates the life and work of Isamu Noguchi and has an extraordinary collection of his diverse works. It is well-worth a visit; on weekends a shuttle bus leaves from the Upper East Side, or else take the subway and walk.
The Rubin Museum of Art in the former Barney's department store has a spectacular collection of Himalayan art, featuring Tibetan thangkas, religious sculpture, books, paintings, photographs, artifacts, live music, films and other cultural programs, as well as a terrific café.
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center set within an 83-acre National Historic Landmark district containing the finest collection of Greek Revival buildings in the United States, plus Beaux Arts, Italianate and Victorian style architecture. All sorts of cultural events take place here, and the nearby Staten Island Botantical Garden is also worth a visit.
The World Financial Center and its Winter Garden are a year-round oasis of tranquility in lower Manhattan. Enjoy its numerous shops, restaurants and the year-round series of free performances, exhibitions and festivals created to showcase emerging as well as established artists.