We’ve told you about some of the quirkier museums you can find in New York, and here’s a new one to add to the list! Located in a former speakeasy on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village, the Museum of the American Gangster gives visitors a window into Prohibition-era New York, ruled by bootleggers, gangsters and other unsavory (yet fascinating) characters. The museum’s stated goal is to explore the role that crime has played in the shaping of New York—both the actual city and the myth and folklore surrounding it. It will offer regular walking tours focusing on specific themes, such as the Jewish Mob and the Birth of Organized Crime. Though the main gallery doesn’t open until in late April or early May, Budget Travel got a look behind the scenes, and also connects the museum with the growing trend of speakeasy-style bars popping up around the city—including Flatiron Lounge, Death & Co., and PDT—and the country.
Forget all that touristy stuff. To get to the heart of the REAL New York, go underground…literally! Built in 1844 as part of the Long Island Rail Road, the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel in Brooklyn (pictured above) is the world’s oldest subway tunnel. It was used for passenger service for just 14 years, until 1859, and was filled in and forgotten during the 1860s. Around 1980, Brooklyn resident Bob Diamond heard rumors of the abandoned tunnel and found the manhole that serves as the only available modern entrance to it. Diamond (together with the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association) now offers tours of the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel once a month, usually on a Sunday. The tour leave from the old Independence Bank building (now a Trader Joe’s) at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street, and reservations are required.