Our Curated List of Not-So-Tourist Attractions for the Idea-Seeking Event Marketer
Traveling on business? Have a half-day to yourself? In this brand new series, we’ll mine America’s best-known cities for lesser-known sites of inspiration, from off-the-beaten-path food and beverage adventures to immersive entertainment to unconventional amusements and attractions. Consider it a dose of professional development for the seasoned experience builder.
While we may have, eh, bit off more than we can chew in choosing the Big Apple for our first “Experiential In…” city, we felt it only appropriate to showcase what the city that never sleeps has to offer in addition to the iconic hustle, the shows, the lights and, most importantly, the 4 a.m. last call. Your tour begins now.
Seaglass Carousel at The Battery
Location: Battery Park, Southern Manhattan
What it is: Created by WXY architecture firm and artist Georgey Tsypin, the carousel is more than a ride. It’s a “mystical underwater experience.” Riders sit within iridescent fish that glide amid aquatic sights and sounds. It was inspired by The Battery’s history as the first home of the New York Aquarium, one of the earliest public aquariums, that opened in 1896. Our tip—visit it at night.
Experiential nods: Set design, texture, whimsy, lighting
More info: seaglasscarousel.nyc
Sleep No More
Location: The McKittrick Hotel, 530 W. 27th Street, Chelsea
What it is: An immersive theatrical adaptation of “Macbeth” presented by Emursive and developed by Punchdrunk, a British theater company, where participants explore a five-story abandoned hotel complete with a bar and host of detailed sets, artifacts and surprises at every corner. We don’t want to give away too much, but be prepared to keep moving for several hours.
Experiential nods: Set design, immersive experiences, live theater, traffic flow, lighting
More info: mckittrickhotel.com
Please Don’t Tell
Location: 113 St. Mark’s Place, East Village
What it is: It’s a classic speakeasy with a secret entrance—a phone booth in a hot dog shop. Inside, you’ll find a sumptuous, dark lounge with an impressive cocktail list (think bacon-infused bourbon). You must make reservations. The rest is a secret.
Experiential nods: Mystery, intrigue, food & beverage, VIP experiences, surprise and delight
More info: pdtnyc.com
Location: The Secret Theater, 4402 23rd Street, Long Island City
What it is: This high-production-value escape room adventure involves teams of people, 60 minutes, “the mystery of Komnata” and theme park-like elements. Every escape room has a sophisticated storyline tied to it with elaborate interiors. You can choose either a horror or fairy tale scenario. Common descriptor on the Yelp reviews—”creepy.” (Shout out to Adam Aleksander Presents for this tip.)
Experiential nods: Creative team building, production techniques, set design
More info: komnataquest.com
AWS Pop-up Loft
Location: 350 W. Broadway, SoHo
What it is: With locations in New York City and San Francisco, Amazon Web Services’ pop-up in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan offers developers (anyone, really) the chance to charge their devices, have some free coffee and snacks, work on their apps and get in-person answers to technical AWS questions for free. There are tech sessions, boot camps and self-paced labs on the schedule
Experiential nods: Pop-ups, semi-permanent events, customer service, unstructured learning
More info: aws.amazon.com/start-ups/loft