If you’re like us, the standard Valentine’s Day dinner and flowers doesn’t really cut it, and most years you probably want to just bypass the holiday all together. But this is New York City after all, and what other city might have such a range of alternative Valentine’s Day activities that hit the heart of the urban explorer? Here are 10 worth checking out:

1. Digester Egg Tours at Newtown Creek


Annie Leibovitz Pilgrimage-NY Historical Society-Niagara Falls-NYCFrom NY Historical Society Exhibit, “Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage

What to do next week, February 9th to 15th, from free Shakespeare classes, tour of the Annie Leibovitz exhibition at MCNY, and an alternative guide to Valentine’s Day.

Monday, February 9th

Free Cooper Union class on “How Shakespeare Works,” part of a 9-course series where you can mix and match classes. This class on the 9th will look at the plays as performance, and how the works were performed in Shakespeare’s time. Classes taught by William Germano, Ph.D., Dean of Cooper Union’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Will Ellis Dead Horse Bay-Brooklyn-NYC

Join photographer/urban explorer Will Ellis, author of Abandoned NYC and Untapped Cities columnist, on a walk through the weird side of New York history at Brooklyn’s Dead Horse Bay. Tales of buried pirate treasure, putrefied animal carcasses, and environmental devastation abound on this desolate shoreline, which once served as the final destination for the city’s carriage horses. Today this beach-comber’s paradise is covered with garbage dating back to a 1920s landfill deposit, offering a fascinating look at what New Yorkers were throwing away a century ago.  Bring a bag for take home a few of the incredible artifacts you’re sure to stumble upon—there’s plenty of trash to go around.

Join us on March 21st as we escape into New York’s past, revisiting history with Abandoned NYC’s Will Ellis. He’ll be giving a historical introduction to the site, weaving in tales from his experience photographing for his book Abandoned NYC, and showing the best places to look for artifacts.

The tour will meet at Flatbush Av – Brooklyn College subway stop (exact location to be announced) at 1:45 pm to take the Q35 Bus together. See below for a video showing what you might see on our tour of Dead Horse Bay.

Check out more upcoming Untapped Cities tours and events here, including a book talk with Will Ellis on 2/25 at WeWork West Broadway.

Book talk with Abandoned NYC’s Will Ellis on February 4th and February 25th

Our picks for events in NYC this week include talks about the High Line, South Street Seaport, and cider at the Morris-Jumel Mansion.

Tuesday February 3rd

The 1928 Loew’s Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn is finally restored to its former glory and is making its debut tonight with: “An evening with Diana Ross: Grand Opening Concert.” Doors will open at 8 pm for the first chance to see the concert hall gleaming with gold ornate ceilings and opulent chandeliers. Tickets are available for purchase online.


In partnership with The Eternal Space, a play about an untold story of the destruction of Penn Station, we are hosting a special tour of the remnants of Penn Station with Tamara Agins, tour guide, project manager at NYC Department of City Planning, and author of our popular article on the Secrets of Grand Central. Get tickets here:


Vera Lutter-Black and White Negatives-Gagosian Gallery-NYC

Our top 10 events picks for this snowy week including urban talks about The Rockaways, the NYC subway, Empire State Building as well as new exhibits at Flatiron and Gagosian.

Monday, January 26th

Check out the newly installed Snow Monsters (actually made of marble) in Flatiron plaza before the actual blizzard takes over.

Tuesday, January 27th

If these events aren’t cancelled by the snow…New York Transit Museum launches AfterHours program series with “Fix & Fortify: MTA Successes” featuring discussion between Ben Kabak, of Second Avenue Sagas and MTA Infrastructure and Facilities Officer John O’Grady.