"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Would You Believe?


As I’ve gotten older I have become less embarrassed by what I don’t know, what I haven’t read, where I haven’t been.  Still, there are some places in New York that I haven’t visited, and I usually keep it to myself.   “I got my pride,” as Ralph Kramden once said.

Ellis Island, for starters.  Oy.  Never been.  I’ve also never taken a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  Dude, never been to the Museum of the Moving Image out in Astoria.  The shame!  But for me, the greatest sin, is that I’ve never been to the Frick Collection.  Seeing as how I’m into fine art and all, this is almost unfathomable, not to mention, inexcusable.

Nevermind all that.  I’m going to the Frick tomorrow morning with my uncle, who is a painter.

What famous NYC landmarks have you never been to?  You know, the ones you feel bad about.  C’mon, fess up.

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1 handtius   ~  Feb 27, 2009 1:59 pm

The Frick is amazing. I'm an artist and it's one of my favorites in NYC. The new MOMA is pretty awesome if you like contemporary stuff. I just went to the Apollo for the first time. I always wanted to. Never been ice skating Rockefeller Plaza, but don't really have an urge. never saw Conan O'Brian...That's my biggest regret for a place in NYC I should have gone to.

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:01 pm

I've never been to the Statue of Liberty, but I don't feel bad about it. I feel bad about never having seen the original Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, and Penn Station, but I had no choice there. I never saw a show at CBGBs before it closed. I feel bad about that. My hope was that I'd get to play there instead, but my band could never work it out with their booker. I feel bad that I never took a tour of the remodelled Yankee Stadium. I was hoping I'd get in via press pass instead, but that never happened either.

All of that said, there are so many great places to see and visit in NYC that the list of one's I've not been too is likely as long as the list of the ones I have and the list of the ones I either don't know about or never think about probably makes up half of the first list.

3 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:03 pm

Good ones, hadtius . . . I was just saying to my wife that it's a shame we never saw Conan. I saw Dave right after his move to CBS, when the waiting list reset itself. I've never been to a SNL taping, that I feel bad about.

Ditto on the Apollo and the ice skating, though the latter always seemed more trouble than it was worth.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:06 pm

Dude, you didn't MISS anything not skating. Alls you need to do is look at all the other suckers doing it and you're set.


5 handtius   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:11 pm

I never wanted to skate. looks ridiculous and it's for the tourists. SNL...i wish i went in the early 90s.

6 rbj   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:11 pm

Never been:
CBGBs (thanks for the reminder Cliff), Empire State Building, Twin Towers, Statue of Liberty. And for all the time I've spent in the Hudson Valley and traveling all over the upstate, I've never been to Cooperstown. The shame, the shame.

7 unmoderated   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:19 pm

rbj, come on by. cooperstown is a lot of fun this time of year. staying at the otesaga is cheap(er)., all the terrible baseball souvenir shops are closed up, you can actually get a seat at a restaurant...

as far as NYC, I've only been down 20 times or so, but I have gotten to see a lot of stuff. Still on the list: Empire State Bldg, MSG, and the Whitney.

8 thelarmis   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:25 pm

great post, i love it! i never got to see monument park, but i guess there's still a chance at the new stadium, someday... here's my very BIG miss:

Statue of Liberty. i love her, always have. in 6th grade, i wrote a paper on her restoration process. she is VERY well represented all around my home and drum studio. i have 2 framed pieces of artwork in my bedroom alone. i'm pretty sure they shut down the stairs many many years ago, at this point, so you can't walk to the top any longer. after 9/11, i was incredibly worried about her safety. i was glad to know there were F-16 Fighter planes circling her.

i've got photos of her on my computer and have taped tv specials. for some odd reason, i haven't been able to find any good books devoted solely to the Lovely Lady. i used to love getting caught in traffic - i believe on the Belt Pwky - where i could steal some extra long glances at her.

here's my big issue: when i was a teenager, i made an important pact with myself that when i went to visit Lady Liberty for the first time, it would be with that "someone special." almost happened in college, could've happened around the millennium, but alas, sadly, it hasn't happened. recently, i was convinced i had THE perfect partner to take to Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty, but it died painful death... : (

if i have to go alone, i will, but i'd like to give myself a solid 15 years or so to possibly have some company!

9 knuckles   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:26 pm

Never been to the Statue of Liberty. The day we were supposed to go there on a field trip, we lost some kids at Ellis Island and ended up having to go straight home from there.
I’ve been to most concert venues/clubs in Manhattan but have never been to Roseland- the closest I got was trying to scalp Ben Harper tix one night after work and walking away from a scalper once I noticed his wares ink was running in the rain, obviously having been printed on a cheap printer.
Never been to Gray’s for a dog, despite working just a few blocks away. I blame that on the fact that the rest of the under-25’s in my office were Jamaican and Trinidadian beauties with legs up to here, so needless to say I would go where they did for lunch.

10 monkeypants   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:27 pm

Anyone watching the ST game today? The box score seems to indicate that our boys are lookin' good again.

11 thelarmis   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:33 pm

[10] not watching, but yeah, 3-0 Bombers.

[9] the Roseland, was cool. just another music venue though. i never got to play there, but i used to play The Wetlands rather regularly. i dug that place a lot, and am sad it's gone...

12 FlyGirlFan   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:40 pm

[10] Listening to updates on WCBS880.

I've never been to the Empire State Building or the Bronx Zoo. Seeing The Who at MSG is one of the reasons why I moved to the NYC area.

13 thelarmis   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:45 pm

[12] i've been to both the empire state bldg & the bronx zoo, but i was a pretty young boy for both. i saw The Who at Shea Stadium. The Police, too. i was still young then, but i remember 'em both well and it was cool!

14 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:50 pm

Was that the Who with the Clash at Shea? Talk about the ultimate twin-bill (though it was post-Keith Moon).

15 ms october   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:54 pm

enjoy the frick alex, it is a great collection.

i have actually hit up a lot of places since i have been to nyc as a tourist and then as a resident who lived in and went to the boroughs. one place i keep saying i want to get to that i have not is ps1 contemporary art center in queens. i'd also like to see the si yankees ballpark and go to a us open tennis match.

i also like cliff's post about stuff that i wish i could have gone to but was gone before i could see it - a few things on that list would be the original penn station, ebbett's field , and some back in the day hip-hop in a park in the bronx.

16 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:54 pm

I went to Roseland once (on my 21st birthday actually). It was nothing special. I never sought out another show there. I never went to the Wetlands, but I think part of that was because I was never really in to the jam bands that seemed to dominate the bills.

I've not been to the Blue Note, and didn't get a chance to go to Max's Kansas City.

17 thelarmis   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:55 pm

[14] yup! yeah, it was kenney jones on drums. too bad it wasn't simon phillips!

there were some other cool openers on those gigs (who/police), though i don't remember which was for what bill. joan jett and david johannsen (pre-buster poindexter) were on there...

were you at the who show? i still have a "long live rock" jersey/shirt at my mom's house!

18 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:55 pm

Did wasn't that the show where the Clash opened up for The Who? The concert where they filmed the "Should I stay or should I Go?" video?

Roseland! Saw my first concert ever there. 1983, the Kinks. "Come Dancing Tour." Cyndi Lauper opened.

Last time I was there, for De La Soul and Fishbone, was the night of Game 6, 1996 World Serious. I saw De La, jumped in a cab and was home with my boys for the last three innings.

19 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:56 pm

Ebbetts, of course! And the Polo Grounds!

20 thelarmis   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:57 pm

[16] agreed on the roseland. wasn't it called the Ritz before that? on 52nd Street, or something... i hear ya on the Wetlands, but i saw - and played with - a number of bands that weren't very "jammy" there. it definitely was the bulk of that venue, however. really was a cool place though!

21 Start Spreading the News   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:57 pm

I have never been to CBGBs. I kept meaning to but kept forgetting until it was too late.

Never saw Conan but did see Dave when he was doing Late Nite. Never been to SNL but I don't think they are very good anymore. So I don't care. I have been to both Stewart and Colbert.

I still haven't gone to Lenox Lounge.

Recently ate at Sylvia's in Harlem and hit the Czech Beer Garden in Astoria. Both were good.

And I did the ride from the Bronx to Coney Island -- the ride the Warriors took in the movie.

22 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:59 pm

Wow, Alex. I don't think you could have paid me to go out the night of Game 6 in 1996, I don't care who was playing where. I read your comment three times before I realized you were talking about '96.

thelarmis, no, I never got to see the who (or the clash, or the police, though they're all among my favorite bands).

23 thelarmis   ~  Feb 27, 2009 2:59 pm

[18] yeah man! i didn't realize that's where that Clash video is from. i was there though. in a press box w/ my family. my brother "bootlegged" it on a crappy little box. i'm sure he still has the tape(s)!

ah, i'm sure the Ritz & Roseland were different places. i saw soooo many Metal shows at both, and esp. L'Amour's in Brooklyn. good times!

Fishbone were pretty cool.

24 jkay   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:01 pm

I always wanted to see the Letterman show, I tried to get tix a few times but it never worked out. I'll go on stand by one of these days.

Here is a good writeup on a place in the Bronx no one can visit; Hart Island.


25 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:01 pm

I've not been to Colbert or Stewart since he moved to the new studio, but I'm not sweating those. The one Daily Show taping I saw was the night of the plane crash in Queens in late 2001, so it was a very different mood.

26 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:03 pm

I just recently visited Ellis Island this summer and would recommend it highly. The facility has been beautifully restored after years of neglect. In fact, the history behind that process is interesting enough to warrant a visit.

Thankfully, I’ve had the opportunity to visit most of the major landmarks and cultural institutions in the city, but have never visited the Brooklyn Museum, despite being born and bred in the borough.

[1] I had the chance to see the Conan O’Brien show in his first or second year. I have never been a big fan, but it was a lot fun. As a consolation, maybe you could catch a taping of Center Stage?

27 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:07 pm

[24] Have you ever checked out the Forgotten NY website. I can spend hours reading through the pages...the subtle history of the city has always fascinated me.

28 The Mick536   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:08 pm

When I was a kid, my father worked at 51st and Avenue of the Americas. His secretary's husband was the assistant conductor of the orchestra at Radio City. I went backstage during the Christmas show and watched the orchestra rise and the Rockettes opening dance number. One of the coolest things I have ever done.

Left NYC in 1999. I miss all the museums. Art palaces are very democratic. You don't need to be somebody to get close to the action.

As for events I would like to attend or places, I have never been to a World Series game at Yankee Stadium. Of the hundreds of games I attended, I watched a game from a luxury box in 1980 and a handfull from an on-field box near the field right behind first base in 1975 or 76. Other than that, bad views, expensive beer, and gas.

Never been to the Metropolitan Opera, either. Always wanted to dress up in tails, sit between my wife and another beautiful woman; and hear a great singer.

29 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:14 pm

First, I don't think momuments before you were born count here.

And Cliff, yeah you read right. Here's the thing. There was superstitious logic behind this. I had ordered four tickets to the show months ahead, having no idea that it would land on the same night as Game 6 of the Serious, having no idea that the Yanks would make it.

So I sold the other three tickets at the last moment and went with some dudes that a college friend knew. Now, it was a great dilemma. I wanted to see the show, and I didn't want all that dough to go to waste, but the Yanks! The way I figured it though, was that I'd still be able to catch the end of the game if I went, and if they LOST, I'd still be there for Cone and Game 7. If I didn't go and they Lost then I'd be out the tickets and the show and stuck with an "L."

I stayed in the shower during the Yankees rally in the Leritz game--was in there for 45 minutes until I heard my brother and my roomate let out a defeaning shriek. After that, I had to honor my nuerotic instincts...

As it was, I got to see a fun show and get home in time. Though Wettland sure did make it tense at the end.

30 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:15 pm

I don't really know from Conan. Seen his show only a few times over the years. I know he wrote for The Simpsons and is very tall. Is he really all that?

31 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:19 pm

[29] Maybe we need to send you to more concerts during big games?

32 Start Spreading the News   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:20 pm

I still haven't seen the Brooklyn Museum. But I did go to the Museum of Television and Radio (Now the Paley Center for Media). There you can see a lot of old TV shows and events.

Since I arrived in this country after the event, I watched the Bucky Dent 1978 game. It was still exciting 20 years later.

And I have never been to Radio City.

33 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:22 pm

I think we held my high school prom at Studio 54 .... oy!

I haven't been to the ORIGINAL City Hall subway station ... the one at the loop of the Brooklyn Bridge Lex stop ... the one they only allow you to see on those subway museum tours.

THAT'S what I really wanna see.

(yup .... I'm a subway geek too)

34 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:23 pm

[33] That's something I've always wanted to see as well, but I thought access to tours was closed after 9/11. If not, that would go to the top of my list.

35 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:23 pm

I've only been to Radio City a couple of times, but the last time was to see RUSH during their 30th anniversary tour .... out-standing!

36 lentnej   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:24 pm

Never been to the Apollo Theater. Like to go to Katz's Deli but I'm almost always with my kids and they don't know from deli.

37 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:26 pm

How many of us have been to Alex's apartment? :-)

(psst .... more cat pictures please Alex)

38 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:33 pm

Here's somewhere I've never been ... until this coming weekend

(Yep, I'm a nerd .... but I'm cute, funny and know some baseball) :-)

39 pugzilla   ~  Feb 27, 2009 3:44 pm

Well...where to begin.

I've been to the Bronx and C.P.Zoos, Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, and both versions of Yankee Stadium and at least two versions of Madison Square Garden.
I've skated at Rockefeller Center (native New Yorker - a Christmas routine with my younger DD.) and Wollman Memorial (different name now?).
Played hide ' n' go seek in the Museum of Natural History and saw each monthly show at the Hayden Planetarium for years. Been many times to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA, Whitney, Guggenheim and Frick. Also the NY Historical Society, Crafts Museum, and the old Museum of Science and Industry.
Been to the 1939 and 1964-5 World's Fairs, the old Thalia theater - the only place where foreign films were shown when I was younger, the Empire State and WTC observation Towers. also, Radio City Musical Hall many times, Birdland, Basin Street, Blue Note, the Vanguard, but not the Apollo.
Climbed all the stairs 3 times at the Statue of Liberty (twice as a kid, once when guiding DD and English visitor).
Took a curtain call at Lincoln Center concert hall (a story in itself!)
That's (more than?) enough for now.

40 Just Fair   ~  Feb 27, 2009 4:31 pm

When I lived in Colorado, the locals called tourists gapers. I am a NYC gaper b/c I have only been there a handful of times. New Years's Eve week when I was 21 we went to the top of the Empire State building. I could hardly see my hand if I held it in front of my face the weather was so shittty. Last spring my wife and I took in our last Yankee game. We went to the top of the ESB once again. Alas, there was not a cloud in the sky and you could see forever. I was all screwed up trying to figure out which direction all the boroughs were, but I am glad to say I think I've figured it out. Thanks, google maps. : ) Now I know when I told my wife, "Yankee Stadium is over there I think," We were looking at Brooklyn. Oy.

41 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 27, 2009 4:35 pm

I've never been on the SI Railroad or in the NYSE. Never rode the Big Wheel at Astroland, never got jumped or arrested in any of the boroughs (so that precludes Rikers Island), never been to any of the other minor NYC islands except Roosevelt and City Islands, and I've never been to either iteration of Latin Quarters. Actually, there are a lot of places I've never been. That's the beauty of NY, there are so many places to go if you have time...

42 pugzilla   ~  Feb 27, 2009 4:44 pm

"That’s the beauty of NY, there are so many places to go if you have time..."

How true, how true....

43 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 27, 2009 4:45 pm

SO VERY true.

44 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 27, 2009 5:38 pm

Alex, I watched Conan from the very first show to the very last. I didn't catch them all in between, I'd fade in and out, but I'm a fan of late-night comedy talk shows in general, and Conan's goofy/absurdist/nerdy/childlike sense of humor suits me to a tee. Besides, he had Max Weinberg and a collection of Asbury Jukes for his band, so his show is almost tailor made for me. BTW, in addition to writing for the Simpsons, he was president of the Harvard Lampoon and wrote for SNL during it's second peak in the late '80s (the Dana Carvey/Phil Hartman era).

Diane, I've been to Studio 54, but to see a Broadway show, not back in the disco days.

45 PJ   ~  Feb 27, 2009 6:30 pm

Great topic Alex, and thank you for bringing it up! I'm going to help you out a bit by telling you all how my wife and me did Manhattan during the last week of September in '06. Maybe you'll get some ideas. We had never been before.

These are in no particular order, but you get the idea...

Accumulate vacation time
Rent black Cadillac DTS with heated and cooled seats for seven days - $500 [User rating: Wow!³ Nobody hits or stops a Caddy!]
Drive from home in Nashville to Times Square and check into Comfort Inn (14 hours) - $2200 [User rating: Trip was fine and without incident. Small room, but recently remodeled, clean and very comfortable.]
Park next door for the week - $350 [User rating: Not as bad as I thought it would be]
Carnegie Deli - We ate there throughout the week. Ordering To-Go rules all! - $200 [User rating: Wow!³]
St. Patrick's Cathedral - Free [User rating: Wow!³ It's spectacular, with Faith or without! Must See]
Spamalot on Broadway - $250 [User rating: “It’s only a model.” Wow!³]
Peter Luger’s - $225 [User rating: Meh, don’t bother! I can get a better steak at home. Mantle’s is superior.]
Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island - $100 [User rating: Big Green Lady on well kept island / Must See]
Empire State Building - $100 [User rating: Expensive and no access to very top, but 88 floors is still way the hell up there and amazing! Also, Must See]
Mickey Mantle's - $250 [User rating: Wow!³ Must See]
Peking Duck House - $225 [User rating: Wow!³]
Visit wife's "home office" in Elmwood Park, New Jersey – Free [User rating: You gotta do what ya gotta do…]
Yogi Berra Museum - $20 [User rating; Wow!³ Must See]
Museum of Natural History (They had no roller-skate rentals...) - $100 [User rating: T-Rexes and Stegosauruses sure were big! Wow!]
Tavern on the Green - $300 [User rating: Wow!³ Must See]
New York Yankees versus Baltimore Orioles - $120 [User ratings: Yankee Stadium and Monument Park – Wow!³ Must See/ New York Yankees – Bleh!]
Gas - $300
Cabs - $200 [User rating: Great with open windows, not so great without]
Subway - $50 [User rating: Wow!²]

Total $5K reimbursed to wife for visit to "home office" in New Jersey - [User rating: Wow!³]

No rain, no mess, no violence, no traffic (NYC is cake compared to Atlanta, L.A., and Miami), and no worries, but Joe Torre and the Yankees stunk! I challenge anyone who has never been (hell even you locals) to do better than that during a week in Manhattan!

"Always look on the bright side of life!" Insert appropriate whistle here...


46 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 27, 2009 8:02 pm

Wow, too too many places have never been and never seem to get to when back home..

the Guggenheim, Shea (too late now!), the Apollo, Carnegie Deli, Flatiron Bldg..

on last trip though I DID get to see (allegedly) the spot where John Gotti had one his henchmen garroted for some small infraction..in Bay Ridge Brooklyn at this old Mom & Pop hardware store, the owner (somewhere between 75 and 690 years old) told me that the vacant lot rond the corner was a favorite spot for John Gotti to "take care of things"..know idea if he was pulling my leg or not but loved hearing the stories..

this thread makes me miss NYC!

47 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 27, 2009 8:30 pm

I was at the Apollo while they were still refurbishing it. You can till it was a gorgeous place in it's heyday, but much smaller than I expected. I was also in the Victoria Theater right next to it; eep, what a dump. That also had it's charm back then, but they were doing absolutely nothing about it at the time. Haven't been to either since.

One place I absolutely have to check out is the "new" Paradise Theater on the Grand Concourse here in the Bronx. To think that sooo much history took place there and it became a boarded-up rat hole (you could smell it every time you walked by) for years before someone finally restored it, wowzers...

48 Will Weiss   ~  Feb 27, 2009 9:53 pm

Never Been: Statue of Liberty; MOMA; Guggenheim; Never saw a show at CBGB or Roseland. ... Never took the tram from Roosevelt Island alongside the Queensboro Bridge to 1st Ave. and 60th St. ... The Theater at Madison Square Garden (the old Felt Forum).

Been: Ziegfeld Theater (coolest place to catch a movie). Intrepid (before it was refurbished). South Street Seaport.

[46] Carnegie Deli. Pastrami sandwich on toasted rye, with mustard. Sandwich about the size of Barry Bonds's head. Amazing.

I'd love to actually retrace some of the old Revolutionary War stops, going all the way up to Kips Bay in the Bronx, where George Washington made his borderline suicide ride, as David McCullough so vividly describes in "1776."

Great post, Alex.

49 knuckles   ~  Feb 28, 2009 12:50 am

Just wrapping up, before this thread gets buried...I think it's important to take off your jaded coat every once in a while and play tourist in your own city.

I've been down in the DC area for 8 years now, which is about 5 longer than I'd expected, and I use visits by family and friends to give me a refresher course in what needs to be seen around here. In DC it's real easy to become inured to things that are such icons to so many people...I ride my bike past Iwo Jima and Arlington Cemetery all the time, and try to stop every once in a while and just sit/walk/chill.

I have a standard loop I take visitors on when they come down. G'town for the sights/food/beer, then down along the Lincoln Memorial where the crowds are, to the FDR memorial which is outta the way a bit, where the breadline statues remind you of the hardship that weighed on our older relatives, but never quite crushed them. Then the WW2 memorial, which reminds you of what finally dragged people out of their Hoovervilles, but at the expense of so damn many.

Makes you realize that times are tough, but man oh man, they have been much worse back in the day. So, long as you're from somewhere, or you live somewhere, there's plenty to do and see that don't cost a buck, and you can always take advantage and look back someday and say, "I've been there- it's great."

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver