Discover New York’s Hidden History

Welcome to New York; the most populated city in the United States. The city is the focal point of the New York metropolitan area and has an estimated population of close to 9 million people residing over an area that is only 305 square miles. Rich with not only people, but culture, commerce, finance, media, art, education, and entertainment, New York has often been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world. With such an incredible history, there is so much of New York even its own residents have yet to discover. Let’s take a look at some of its lesser known attractions.

The history dates back to Native Americans, such as the Algonquins and Lenape, who first inhabited the land before European explorers began to come this way. The city has historically been the epicenter of immigration and stands to this day as a symbol of freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

As it is a place of destination, it would make sense that one of the many things New York is known for is its public transportation system. When it comes to its stations, tunnels and tracks, the city carries an underground wealth of information about the past that can teach us a lot.

Columbia University Tunnels


This illustrious university has an intricate tunnel system that connects its buildings on campus. Although closed to the public, this underground thruway has a deeper and more intriguing history than what rests on the surface. Some of these tunnels date back to when Columbia was an insane asylum that existed before the campus was built. The small tunnels currently run as conduits for things like steam, electricity, and telecommunications; but back in the day, there was a time when it was used for other things. During the ‘60s, it was used to tap the universities telephone system as well as at one point providing a place which saw the early workings of the Manhattan Project.

Track 61


Located just underneath the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel, this track was used for storage for the old New York Central Railroad. In the late ‘20s, it was converted into a real station for hotel guests with private train cars. The abandoned subway station is allegedly still used by the likes of presidents attempting to secretly visit the city. There is even an antique train permanently parked there now as the area has prompted a considerable amount of attention partly in thanks to the secret railroad used to transport the many presidents. It’s believed that Franklin D. Roosevelt has made use of the secret passage as well as recent POTUS George W. Bush. This hidden part of New York City is rumored to have been utilized by several high political figures throughout the years. The closest you can get to it is by viewing the unmarked brass door at the hotel’s street level.

City Hall Station


Images obtained of the original City Hall Station make this appear to be one of the most beautiful subway stations in all of New York. Located at the southern tip of Manhattan, this place is so restricted that its own residents have to pass a background check in order to visit. It’s been closed since 1945 but the station was never actually torn down. The New York Transit Museum now hosts tours of the station throughout the year but the tour is only available to museum members and of course comes complete with an incredibly long waiting list. Originally having opened in 1904, the station ran for just over 40 years and holds a great deal of history in between its walls. If you are ever in New York, one way you will be able to sneak a peek is by riding the Downtown 6 train. You can catch a glimpse after it makes its final stop at the Brooklyn Bridge Station and passes through on its route heading back uptown.

There are many other tucked away territories you can visit while in New York City. Be sure to visit places like North Brother Island, a small island in the East River, as well as the South Brother Island, which is North Brother’s smaller counterpart. There are countless historical landmarks which go mostly unnoticed in New York by those who frequent. From new architecture to old, the city tells a different story with each place you visit. If you’re aware, it can be almost as if you’re traveling through time.

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