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Hidden New York City - Five Things You Had No Idea You Could Do In NYC

Updated on October 26, 2015

Five Super-Cool Things To Do in the Greatest City on Earth

When you think of New York City, what comes to mind? Yes, the Empire State Building is wonderful. Of course, the Statue of Liberty is magical. But what about the lesser-known, yet just as fun, stuff no one ever told you about? If you've been here before, or even if you haven't, and want to try something off the beaten path, read below for five fabulous ideas:

1) Broadway Show Ticket Lotteries. You can't bear to miss a show. You also can't afford a ticket. Actually, you can - if you're lucky. Not all, but many shows now have ticket lotteries about 2 hours before showtime. You show up at the theater, they put your name in a hat, and if it's picked you get to buy 2 tickets to that night's performance - often right in front - for a tiny fraction of the regular price (currently in the range of $20-$30). The good thing is, even if you don’t get picked, you still have time to go on the TKTS half price line (7th Avenue & 47th Street) for whatever’s still available. Check specific shows' websites for details.

2) The best restaurant you never heard of is Keens Steakhouse. It is beyond incredible looking, transporting you to another era the moment you enter. The place is beautifully covered with the pipes that patrons used to check there (since they were too easily breakable to be carried on their persons). The steak and other food is absolutely top-notch, as is the service. There are several different rooms which are all must-sees. The only original structure from the now non-existent Herald Square Theater District is located at 72 West 36th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues).

3) Museum of Sex. Betcha didn't know this existed, huh? But right under the radar, at Fifth Avenue and 27th Street, sits a building just waiting to educate you on such topics as “religion, spirituality, sexuality and condom usage”, the sex lives of animals, and a whole lot more. This is a legitimate museum - it deals with sex and eroticism, but is not in bad taste. Definitely worth a visit.

4) A Real Improv Show. No, it's not stand-up. Stand-up comedy is one person behind a mike, telling jokes. Improv is short for improvisation; in improvisational comedy, a group of actors (usually between 4 and 12) literally make up bits on the spot. Yeah, but how do you know they’re really making it up? They base every scene/form/song (yes, song) on suggestions from the audience. So if you call out a suggestion (of a location, a made-up movie title, etc), you get to watch them create something out of thin air without having had the slightest idea of what you were going to say. The great part is, there are scores of incredibly talented improv actors in New York just chomping at the bit to perform for you. One such pool of talent is the weekly rotating cast at Sunday Night Improv. What’s extra cool about this show, aside from the staggering talent, is the free improv class you get (same day at 4:30).

5) In the mood for a bona fide old-fashioned New York experience? Have some 60-plus-year-olds you want to show a good time? Come to Sammy's Roumanian Steakhouse on the Lower East SIde, a place that brings you back to a simpler, joyful age where you'll feel at home no matter what your ethnic background. The Jewish-American culture is celebrated with legendary foods (incredible potato pancakes, or latkes, sweetbreads, kishkas, chopped liver, and the signature dish of Romanian tenderloin, among many others), spirited live music, and, of course, old style "Borscht Belt" Jewish humor. To say Sammy's is lively and fun is a huge understatement. It is virtually impossible to walk out of this place in a bad mood. It's hard to understand how the spot is not more well-known, but perhaps it's better that way - who vants to vait in line? 157 Chrystie Street, between Delancey Street & Rivington Street.


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