Every week Untapped Cities tours bring you behind-the-scenes of some of New York City’s most iconic and most inaccessible locations. This week, explore an abandoned hospital on Ellis Island, uncover the remnants of two World’s Fairs that took place in Queens, and discover the secrets of Grand Central Terminal!
Saturday, November 24th
The abandoned Ellis Island Hospital complex—once the standard for United States medical care (and later transformed to the FBI headquarters when the island served as a detention center)—has been left to decay for nearly 60 years. Now, Untapped Cities is bringing you behind-the-scenes for a unique exploration of the abandoned facility; on this experience, you’ll visit the contagious disease wards, the autopsy rooms and have exclusive access to places usually closed to the public.
While Ellis Island has become one of New York City’s top tourist attractions, drawing over two million visitors per year, the 22-building South Side hospital complex is hidden in plain sight, just to the left of disembarking passengers headed towards the Great Hall. Looking at its desolate, skeletal frame now, it’s difficult to imagine its backstory as one of the largest public health undertakings in American history. Join us for our upcoming hard hat tour, guided by a Save Ellis Island docent, where we’ll uncover its many, buried secrets.
Behind-the-Scenes Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital
Take the time to appreciate all the wonders of Grand Central Terminal that you may miss on your hurried commute through this historic station. Hear tales of feuding architects, ingenuity, rejuvenation, secrets and surprises throughout the station nearly 150 years of history. On this tour, you will learn what the terminal was like during the booming age of the railroad, as a rundown embarrassment, and as a renovated jewel at the center of the city. Find out how this gorgeous Beaux Arts structure overcame a struggle to be saved and restored while seeing hidden treasures that you may never notice otherwise. From private tennis courts to a major flaw in the design of the main atrium, discover it all on this guided walking tour.
Sunday, November 25th
New York City played host to the World’s Fair not once, but two times, and there are plenty remnants to show for it. This tour will uncover the many souvenirs left from both fairs, with a focus on the hidden time capsules, the Fountain of the Planets, the Unisphere, and the historic New York State Pavilion. The fairgrounds at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park started as marshy tidal wetlands and in the early 20th Century was nothing but an ash dump. This tour explores the past, present, and future of this 900 acre park which was an obsession of the late “Master Builder,” Robert Moses. Join playwright, author, and Untapped Cities Tour guide, Justin Rivers as he leads you on a journey through Flushing Meadows’ many unnoticed treasures. The tour ends at the Queens Museum where the New York Panorama, a 1964 World’s Fair remnant is on hand for viewing. It’s a must-see for any New Yorker or anyone visiting New York!
- Discover the hidden-in-plain-sight remnants of the 1939/40 and 1964/65 World’s Fairs with playwright and Untapped Cities tour guide, Justin Rivers
- Visit the monument to a 5000-year time capsule
- View the original guidebooks from each of the World’s Fairs
- Get a comprehensive history of the past, present, and future of Flushing Meadow-Corona Park, with Insider information from our partners involved with the preservation of the New York State Pavilion
- Each guest will receive reproductions of World’s Fair Maps from both 1939 and 1964
- Explore the over 100-year-old contagious disease hospital, which has been abandoned since 1954
- See an exhibition by the world-renowned artist JR, who has placed life-sized historic photographs of Ellis Island immigrants on interior walls of the hospital buildings
- Visit the Laundry Building, where 3000+ pieces of laundry were washed and sanitized daily
- Discover the kitchen, autopsy room and other usually off-limits places
- Get special access inside the original morgue and long abandoned FBI offices
- Learn about the secrets of one of NYC’s most iconic buildings
- See Grand Central’s hidden tennis courts
- Peek into the entrance of the glass walkways
- Learn about the design flaw as large as Grand Central Terminal’s main atrium