The Most Unbelievable Places in New York City

From real jungles in the concrete jungle to secret subways

New York City is a tourist attraction in and of itself, to say nothing of all its ubiqutious shops, restaurants, buildings and other locales. While many people who will never visit New York have a general idea of the city thanks to its frequent presence in movies and televsion, the city is nonetheless home to some weird – and decidedly hidden – sights. Here are five places you won't believe are in NYC.

  • 01 of 05

    A Section of the Berlin Wall

    Berlin Wall
    Ajay Matthew via Flickr

    New York City garners a lot of comparisons to Berlin (or maybe the other way around) these days, but even the most ardent Berlin-o-philes likely don't realize there's an actual section of the Berlin Wall put up in New York City. Or, in fact, four of them.

    New York City purchased four pieces of the wall when Berlin sold it after its destruction – and all of them are open to the public. Enjoy lunch or a cocktail in front of the Wall as it stretches along Madison Avenue, pay your respects to it as you visit the UN Building, marvel at it as you explore the Intrepid Aerospace Museum or pass it on your way to the World Financial Center.

  • 02 of 05

    An Indoor Rainforest

    Ford Foundation Building
    Elisa Rolle via Wikimedia Commons

    You know that New York is a concrete jungle, but what you probably don't know is that New York City has some elements of an actual jungle. First among them is the Ford Foundation Building – or rather, what's inside the Ford Foundation Building. Located on 43rd Street just a short jaunt from Central Park, New York's most famous non-tropical green space, this glass, greenhouse-like building houses a veritable tropical rainforest, which is open to the public. 

  • 03 of 05

    A Two-Story Waterfall

    NYC Waterfall
    Aleksandr Zykov via Flickr

    Next up is the waterfall at Greenacre Park, a tiny park just a few block from many of New York's best hotels. Although the waterfall, which rises more than two stories above the tiny park, is manmade, it's still an impossibly idyllic place to sip your morning coffee, to say nothing of the shade and respite the foliage, even if it is non-tropical, provides.

  • 04 of 05

    An Abandoned Subway Station

    NYC Subway
    Robert McConnell via Wikimedia Commons

    The idea of anything pertaining to a subway being "unbelievable" in New York seems laughable, but once you hear the story of the abandoned station known as Track 61, you'll change your tune.

    Located almost directly beneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Track 61 was technically a storage facility for subway cars, which makes it problematic to refer it as "abandoned," but its actual function nonetheless different from its intended one: Rumor has it that Polio-stricken FDR had a platform built to hoist his car up into the parking garage of the hotel, a system some believe modern dignitaries still use.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    A Crazy Cat Lady's Paradise

    Feral Cats on Roosevelt Island
    Scott Granneman via Wikimedia Commons

    You might have read about an island in Japan that's filled to the brim with cats (and also one with rabbits), but did you know that New York is also home to a proverbial outdoor cat sanctuary? If you go inside the defunct smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island, you might find yourself unable to count the kitties surrounding you.

    Or, I should say, if you walk around it: The hospital grounds are officially closed (what with the eradication of smallpox), so unless you've got feline-like jumping abilities, you're going to have to peer in from the outside.