Secrets of New York

How well do you think you know New York? Chances are that you have not heard of all of these Secret's Of New York, no matter how long you have lived here.  And whether you just moved into a new neighborhood or you fit in with the locals, there is always something new to find. Below are just a few of our favorite hidden gems in New York. Do you think we missed any, let us know! 

Photo Credit: Mandarin Oriental

Photo Credit: Mandarin Oriental

The Office NYC

This new speakeasy, located inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle, is the first bar in NYC from famed Chef Grant Achatz (Alinea).  And while the prices may seem scary, they are well worth it. 

The Office NYC is an intimate speakeasy serving classically inspired food and cocktails, a collection of vintage spirits, and other eclectic delicacies. We are currently previewing The Office NYC as we prepare for The Aviary NYC grand opening. -Manderin Oriental


Chelsea Market "Secret" Entrance

As any New Yorker can tell you, the worst part of visiting Chelsea Market is the crowd at the entrance. Recently though a "secret" entrance has been added on the north side of the building. This makes popping in for a quick bottle of wine from Chelsea Wine Vault or a fresh baked baguette from Amy's Bread a breeze. This new entrance also takes you to the newly added lower level of Chelsea Market (The Chelsea Local) that contains; Manhattan Fruit Market, Buon Italia, Dicksons Farm stand, Ronnybrook Farm stand, and Saxelby Cheesemonger’s.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Whispering Gallery

Grand Central Terminal has many secrets, but the Whispering Gallery is it's most romantic. This unmarked archway, located in front of the Oyster Bar & Restaurant, possesses a mystifying acoustic property: when two people stand at diagonal arches and whisper, they can hear each other's voices "telegraphed" from across the way. According to rumor, jazz legend Charles Mingus proposed to his wife, Sue, in just this manner. Today, the Whispering Gallery remains popular for such murmured sweet nothings.

(Photo Credit: the Parks Dept)

(Photo Credit: the Parks Dept)

Whispering Bench

Another whispering NYC secret is the Whisper Bench in Central Park. Out of the park's 9,000 benches, it's the only one of its kind.

The bench—named for Charles B. Stover—sits inside the 4-acres of Shakespeare Garden. It works similarly to the Grand Central wall, you can whisper into one end, and the sound travels to the other end.

According to the Parks Department, Robert Moses had a hand in making it all happen:

A group of prominent citizens, concerned with preserving the memory of Stover and his deeds, formed the Charles B. Stover Memorial Association and commissioned this monument through private donations. The bench is not of the standard wrought iron or cast-concrete variety, but a curved 20-foot exedra of Deer Isle granite. On November 5, 1936, Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, Dr. John H. Finley, and the associate editor of the New York Times gathered in the Shakespeare Garden to dedicate the memorial. The bench is situated on a natural rock outcropping. At the time of the unveiling, it was noted that the location was apt, since during Stover’s time as Parks Commissioner, he had changed this place “from a dilapidated stone mass covered with poison ivy to a rock garden with an artificial stream of water and pools of water lilies.”


Angel's Share

Open for over 22 years, Angel's Share is still one of the best kept secrets of the NYC speakeasy scene. Located above Village Yokocho restaurant at 8 Stuyvesant St, Angel's Share has a strict rule that parties cannot exceed four people, and you can’t stand at the bar. There’s almost always a wait (it’s very popular), but it’s quite worth it. With a creative cocktail program and a romantic room with a view of Stuyvesant Triangle, it's become known as one of the best places to drink downtown.


Sunshine Laundromat & Pinball

Tucked into the back of a Laundromat in Greenpoint Brooklyn is a surprising find for a fun night with friends.  The fully functioning Sunshine Laundromat has a pinball arcade and full bar located in the back.  Perfect for hanging out with friends on a weekend or a little fun while your sheets dry, the retro games are fun for everyone.  Come on Friday or Saturday nights to make new friends or during a weekday to have a full arcade to yourself, just like you always wanted as a kid. 

UBS Market Report

Staying on top of the market and in the know about current trends and forecasts is vital to the success of any real estate investment, large or small.  And while Compass has a great wealth of information about markets across the nation, it is important to familiarize yourself with a variety of reliable sources.  Each source can provide a different lens and together they can give you a complete picture to allow for the best decision making.   UBS creates neutral reports on the US Real Estate market and is a great source for the big picture on the national market.  

Their take on the current US market is:

  • Trends in US commercial real estate flatten out after six unsustainably high years. 
  • Occupancy is strong but not likely to move much higher.
  • Properties generate good, positive income growth, just not the stellar growth of the recent past.

To see the full report, visit the UBS website here.

Escape from Manhattan

"No Man is an Island" is an idea that often seems especially true in Manhattan.  With crowded sidewalks, endless lines, and the constant feeling that someone is in your space, New York can make even the most social of people seek out solitude.  Sometimes we all just need a little getaway and Architectural Digest has just the thing to help you escape with their list of The Most Remote Island Vacations in the World.  This list of stunning locations is filled with beautiful places that are all accessible- but not too accessible.  

Check out the article here


Do You Have Lazy Money?

Is your cash lazy? Or is your money helping you get somewhere?  One of the major ways we see our clients fall victim to lazy money is via paying to rent instead of paying to own. Owning a home allows for your money to appreciate and gain value over time as well as help reduce your tax burden.  And, owning in New York can often be the same price per month as renting. 

Don't believe us? Take for example the new, luxury Brooklyn development, 550 Vanderbilt. A studio purchased there with 30% down will yield around a $2,488 monthly payment with mortgage and common charges.  The rent for a similar unit in the same exact building is $2,500.  And while the costs are the same, the person paying to own is building equity, investing in their future net worth, and reducing their tax burden. 

So the choice is yours:

Do you want lazy money, or do you want to make your money work for you? 



Amazon's Other Business

Amazon, the massive online retailer that just purchased Whole Foods, has another business model you may not have heard of.  Amazon Lending, an arm of Amazon, has issued over $1 Billion in loans to merchants on its website.  The service started in 2011 when Amazon identified creditworthy merchants using the website and extended a line of credit.  Amazon then charges a commission on sales as the means of repaying the loan.  Algorithms are used to identify the merchants and loan values go as high as $750,000.   All in all, it's just another way in which Amazon is cornering their market and expanding their busienss.

Read more here

Sounds of the City

Visiting your family on the West Coast? With friends at a beach house out east? Investigating a murder in the deep south? No matter what has you far from the city, now you can sleep easy knowing that your neighborhood sounds are a click away and ready to lull you to sleep.   Sounds Of NYC now has a localized audio playlist for each neighborhood in Manhattan (sorry Brooklyn, maybe try the Lower East Side?) to help remind you of the home you're always happy to return to.  Check it out at


Our Favorite Summer Destinations

In an effort to share our favorite travel destinations with  you, our clients and friends, I asked each of our team members what was a place they have visited and fallen in love with during a summer.  Robert Bell fell in love with Malta  one summer ago saying:

"I had the opportunity to visit Malta last year, and I strongly recommend you visit as well. The main city of Valletta is geographically small, but it is packed with an abundance of beauty, including the Caravaggio masterpiece, "The Beheading of Saint John". Make sure to dine in the stone dining room of Guze Bistro, and taste the exquisite balance of flavors at Tal-Petut, and make sure to enjoy the brilliant pizza at La Vecchia Taranto. This island country, because of its remarkable natural harbors, has been intimately connected to the history of the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Explore ancient ruins all over the island, and drive over to Mdina to stroll thru the zig-zagging streets of this superbly maintained fortress... I strongly recommend spending a night at the Xara Palace Hotel which was built in the 17th century. Make time to take a ferry over to the rustic beauty of the tiny sister island of Gozo. Castles, temples, fortresses, and rugged natural beauty... not to be missed."

The head of our team, Cindy Scholz recommended a Scandinavian summer escape in the city of Stockholm.  "I suggest visiting the Stockholm Archipelago, a collection of 3,000 tiny islands off of Stockholm.  The islands are accessible via water taxi from Stockholm.  In the summer the vibe is very low key and unpretentious, and you've never felt so connected to nature.  You will not be taking a dip in the ocean unless you area polar bear, but you can take in the sun and enjoy delicious food and wine."

Our team manager, Sam, suggested the German capital of Berlin for a summer get away.  "I love Berlin in the summer for the laid back lifestyle, abundant art, and great nightlife .  I recommend staying in the Gorki Apartments for a taste of how locals live and do not miss the Bunker Berlin private art gallery; A tour is hard to get but well worth the effort.  Berliners love to spend an afternoon drinking beer and soaking up the sun in one of the dozens of parks throughout the city and I certainly recommend that you join in the fun." 

No Holes? No Problem!

Don't want your landlord to keep your security depsoit? Want to hide all the cords on your desk or home office?  Have to work with a wall of windows?  Architectural Digest recently published an article on some inventive ideas for displaying art in unconventional ways.  Whether you're a nervous renter or owner who just wants to refresh a space,  these tips may be just what you needed! 

Check out the full article on Architectural Digest Here!

Start at the Bottom for Tip Top Redecorating

Starting with the basics, a large rug and drawing out a quick floor plan, is often the best first step to take when redecorating a room.  Rather than going out and immediately ordering a new, large piece of furniture, start with what you have.  Beginning with the floors and walls, work your way into the space filling as you go; you may just find you don't need to purchase anything after all.  For more redecorating tips, check out this article on Architectural Digest featuring tips from great designers. 


Chashama After Party


When the clock strikes 9pm on Thursday June 8th, the 22nd floor of 4 Times Square will erupt into the "Art is Everywhere" chashama Gala After Party. Come dressed to impress as you wander around the interactive environment, with artists and performers around every corner.  xplore installations of wonder and witness performers roaming all around you. Step into the kaleidodrome, play in the Zygote garden, or visit the Pleasure Palace. 

9pm-12am at 4 Times Square, 22nd Floor
(Enter at 42nd St)
New York, NY

There's something for everyone at the "Art is Everywhere" After Party. For more information and tickets visit

And for more information about the chashama Gala visit