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More than one million Australians are expected to travel to the US this year… despite the Australian dollar buying a lot less than it used to. And, it will come as no surprise to hear one of the top two US destinations for Aussie holiday-makers is New York City.

While many holidaymakers have been to the iconic New York destinations like Time Square, Central Park, Empire State Building and Yankee Stadium, there are some hidden gems you’re unlikely to find in a guide book.

Don’t Tell Mama

One of the great drawcards to New York is, of course, Broadway. And while the big shows are something to behold, sometimes even better is heading to one of New York’s hidden piano bars after a show.

A favourite of ours is Don’t Tell Mama. Located on Restaurant Row in the heart of New York’s theatre district, Don’t Tell Mama is one-of-a-kind

Countless luminaries have come through its doors since they opened in 1982… names like Liza Minnelli, Paul Newman, Joan Rivers, Bette Midler, Rosie O’Donnell, Chita Rivera, Kathy Griffin, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Mario Cantone and Cuba Gooding Jr., to name but a few.

In fact often you’ll find some of the big names from Broadway shows actually head to Don’t Tell Mama after they’ve performed… and you’ll find yourself joining them around the grand piano at the bar for a sing-a-long.

Just a warning: the cocktails are very strong… so pace yourself!

City Hall Station

The New York Subway is something to behold… and if you’ve been to New York you’ve almost certainly visited Penn Station and Grand Central Station.

A hidden station, that very few have seen in recent decades, is City Hall Station.

Opened in 1904 as part of New York City’s first subway line, the small City Hall Station is one of the most beautifully designed in the city.  It closed its doors in 1945 and is now a ghost station and a time capsule from a more elegant, and less crowded, era.

If you want to see this secret station you either have to try the slightly illegal method of staying on the train on the number six subway line downtown until it turns around after Brooklyn Bridge Station… or do the preferable thing and sign up for one of the infrequent but free tours led by the New York Transit Museum.

The Rooftop Gardens at Rockefeller Center

Visitors to New York City would already be familiar with Rockefeller Center – it’s one of the city’s most iconic skyscrapers and, of course, it’s also home to NBC.

But hidden at the top of Rockefeller Center is a lesser known spot – the building’s rooftop garden.

The garden’s a beautiful oasis from the crowded city below, with well-tended flowers and a reflective pool and garden.

Access to the gardens is mostly reserved for Rockefeller employees – they’re also open to the public a few times a year – but their secrecy only lends to their allure.

The Staten Island Boat Graveyard

If you’re feeling really adventurous, trek out to southwestern Staten Island for a sight you don’t see every day.

The ship graveyard has become the final resting place of a fleet of decommissioned ships.  Of the 100 odd boats in this family-run salvage yard, there are plenty of historically important vessels from the early 20th century.  Because of this, it has become something of a pilgrimage spot for ship enthusiasts.

It’s not a problem for you to show up and take a peek but be aware that the area is a bit isolated so we only recommend this trip for those who are truly interested in getting an eerie look at the past of aquatic engineering.

The Morgan Library

The Morgan Library is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in New York City.  It began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan and his son, J.P. Morgan, transformed it into a public institution. The stunning library is a book lover’s dream and the personal study is incredible. You’ll find The Morgan Library just a short walk from Grand Central and Penn Station.

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