1. Sugar House Prison Window: In back of the Municipal Building near the Brooklyn Bridge and One Police Plaza is an old prison window dating back form 1763. During the Revolutionary War, sugar houses were often turned into prisons by the British, with deplorable conditions.The window is said to be a vestige of the haunted Rhinelander (originally Cuyler) Sugar House prison used during the British occupation of New York from 1776 to 1783 where hundreds of American POWs died of starvation and disease. From Corrections History; "One of the least known and least spoken about subjects of the Americans Revolution were rebel Prisoners of War who were jailed in New York City. . . . New York City had become the main site for the prisoners was because it was the only city to be held by the British for the duration of the war. Many of the prisoners were from the Battle of Long Island on August 26, 1776 (1,300) and from the Battle of Fort Washington on November 16, 1776 (3,000)."  (I HAVE PHOTO)

  2. ASSAY OFFICE - The Met - The original facade of the Assay Office on Wall Street (next-door to Federal Hall on the corner of Broad), built in 1823 and demolished in 1915 is preserved in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (I HAVE A PHOTO, and use an old photo of it on Wall St)

  3. Oldest Manhole Cover(s)  - You walk over them every day without noticing, but New York City has an amazing selection of manhole covers with interesting designs and history. This manhole cover on Jersey Street in SOHO is possible the oldest manhole cover in the city. Built in 1866 and reading CROTON AQUEDUCT it is a remnant of the 41-mile water distribution system built in the late 1830's. The system transported water from the Croton River upstate to Manhattan, solving many of the city's problems resulting from lack of water including cholera and fires. The centerpiece of the system was the large distribution reservoir on 42nd and 5th Avenue, which was replaced by New York Public Library after the second Croton system was completed in 1890. (I HAVE A PHOTO)

  4. NYPL Stacks: . The underground stacks at the New York Public Library Main Branch at 42nd Street and 5th Ave. When the library opened in 1911 it inherited the collections of the Astor and Lenox family libraries. Today the collection contains 15 million items in the overall collection, including a map room (a favorite of NYC Urbanism!). The library's underground storage is enormous and snakes under Bryant Park with seven levels of stacked shelving underground. If laid out the stacks would stretch over 125 miles!  (two great images we can use, one of levels and levels of stacks, one showing them under bryant park)


  1. Elevated Acre (55 Water Street) This secret elevated public plaza at 55 Water Street was built in 1972. The building is the largest in floor area in the city and was built on a superblock by combining four city blocks along between Front and Water Streets. The 1961 zoning law provided incentives to developers to provide public spaces on or around their buildings. The one-acre public plaza at 55 Water allowed the developer to increase the total square footage. You can visit the plaza by taking finding the escalator tucked in the middle of the buildings off water street.  (I HAVE PHOTOS)

  2. FDR TRAIN CAR: This secret train car and platform under the Waldorf-Astoria used to belong to President Franklin D. Roosevelt!! We recently had access to the train car, which allowed the president entry to a private elevator that would take him directly to the hotel's grand ballroom, hiding him from the public. The train car was customized for the president, featuring a suspension system design to prevent lateral motion as he sat in his wheelchair, an iron clad bullet proof exterior, and steel plates along the roof that could be lowered and used as a gun turret. The elevator, Track 61 and the train car all remain under the Waldorf and although cannot be accessed by the public, are sometimes visible on trains leaving Grand Central Terminal. (USE MY PHOTO OF THE CAR)

  3. Randel Surveying Bolts from the Commissioners Plan of 1811 - Central Park https://www.instagram.com/p/BLt_3tsAkVy/?taken-by=nycurbanism This surveying bolt was placed in Central Park by John Randel Jr., or one of his staff, who at the request of the NYC Commissioners in 1811 spent over a decade measuring and placing markers, usually marble monuments or iron bolts on every corner of 12 Avenues and 155 blocks that would become the Manhattan street grid. Central Park was not planned yet, so the corners of 6th and 7th Avenues between 59th and 110th Streets were surveyed. Traveling through swamps, forests, hills and rivers Randel was able to map out the entire grid, corner by corner with immense precision allowing Manhattan 's northward growth . He was often chased by property owners or wild animals. In 1818 Randel started creating a detailed map of the grid with the support of the NYC Council. The map consisted of 92 maps, over 50 feet in total, the most detailed map ever created at this time . The map is held today in the Manhattan Borough Presidents office in the Municipal Building . (Michael sent me a photo we can credit as NYC Urbanism)

  4. Fake Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights - This Brooklyn Heights brownstone  at 58 Joralemon Street is actually a decoy. The blacked out, windowless facade is a ventilation shaft for the 4/5 IRT subway East River tunnel from Borough Hall to Bowling Green. (Have photo)

  5. WALL on wall street - Wall Street used to be wall, protecting the colony New Amsterdam from the rest of Manhattan Island. Development on Manhattan Island quickly moved northward, up the island, and the wall came down as a result, but the wooden posts that supported the wall are still visible today, running from Broadway to William Street in the middle of Wall Street. There is even a plaque in the street commemorating the original Wall Street wall! ( I have a photo)

  6. ORIGINAL CITY HALL STATION - THe first station in the NYC Subway system was City Hall, a beautiful single-platform station with Guastavino tile, sunlights and mosaics. The station was discontinued in the ____s?., but there are still two ways to see it. The Transit Museum offers occasional tours of the station, but it they are only open to museum members and sell out immediately. A couple years ago the MTA made it legal to stay on the 6 Train after Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall as it loops through the original City Hall station on its way to the Uptown Platform. Instead of the conductor saying “This is the last stop, please exit the train” they now say “The next stop is Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall, Uptown Platform”. Sometimes the station is lit up and you have about 12 seconds depending on train speed to see the station as your train makes its way through the station on its way back uptown! (I will be going to see the City Hall station May 25th and will take photos)

Adam Thalenfeld