There is never a shortage of excitement to be had in the big city. New York is in fact known for being an incredibly vibrant city, always with a laundry list of things to do and explore. However, there are still areas that are kept secret from the most experienced locals. Here’s the inside scoop on 17 secret places in NYC!

1. Brooklyn’s Secret Subway Exit

This seemingly realistic townhouse at 58 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn is actually a subway exit. The windows are tinted which makes it stand out from the neighboring facades. Once inside, you find stairs and boxes. Spooky, huh? The building is used to ventilate the Brooklyn subway lines.

2. World Trade Center Sphere

This statue once stood between the Twin Towers in the Financial District. Miraculously, the sculpture was not destroyed in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the buildings. However, it was moved to Battery Park and inserted with an eternal flame to commemorate the victims of the attack.

3. Midtown East’s Greenacre Park

Yes. There is an actual waterfall in the middle of Manhattan. The beautiful mid-city escape is settled at 217 East 51st Street. Pull up a chair and enjoy. It is open to the public.

4. Roosevelt Island Hospital

Once a smallpox hospital, this Roosevelt Island castle-like structure was built to keep smallpox victims away from the general public.

5. The East Village’s C-Squat

Squatters have taken over this building at 155 Avenue C in the East Village. Not only that, they have modified it with skateboarding ramps and stage space for punk shows.

6. Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill

Named after a 1798 battle in Ireland, the Vinegar Hill area features homes built from the 1800s and some even earlier. The cobblestone streets give this neighborhood a classic feel.

7. Cobble Hill Tunnel

This is an abandoned tunnel in the Long Island Rail Road system that is known as the oldest underground tunnel in the nation. There are rumors that the tunnels were used by terrorists as well as transportation for early 19th century contraband such as whiskey.

8. High Bridge

Connecting Manhattan and the Bronx, this beautiful bridge has been unused since 1970 and it leads to beautiful forests just on the outskirts of the city.

9. Red Hook Grain ElevatorRed Hook Grain Elevator

At the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, this abandoned refinery factory features huge silos for exploring and boasts an amazing view of the city skyline.

10. Elevator MuseumYou heard me. Elevator museum. What?!

11. Staten Island’s Mount Loretto BeachStaten Island's Mount Loretto BeachThere are crazy rock formations all along this beach in Staten Island.

12. Dead Horse BayDead-Horse-BayI mean, the name kinda says it all. Yes, you may find dead animal remains. However, the real treasures lie in the old bottles that wash up on the shore. You can find the “beach” on the Rockaway Inlet in Brooklyn.

13. Astoria’s Steinway Piano FactoryAstoria's Steinway Piano FactoryThe Steinway Piano Factory has been the home of some of the world’s finest pianos. You can also enjoy a tour of the factory by the employees.

14. Green-Wood CemeteryGreen-Wood Cemetery

Cemeteries are awesome. Fact. This cemetery in Brooklyn offers super old tombstones and incredible architecture. Win/Win.

15. Hell Gate BridgeHell Gate Bridge

You can go inside of this bridge! You’d have to start by the BQE where the tracks are close enough to the ground where you can walk on, and then you walk until you arrive at the bridge.

16. ClocktowerClocktower

Built in 1898, the 5000-pound bronze structure is the largest in the city and is now known as the Clocktower Gallery. It is actually pretty cool to see how a clock works. Surprise!

17. The Financial District’s Trinity ChurchThe Financial District’s Trinity Church

Right across the street from the New York Stock Exchange, the Trinity Church cemetery is home to some of the oldest tombstones in the city. The gorgeous architecture and historic value make it well worth the downtown trip.