There’s probably a certain image that pops into your head when you think about the typical “New York City neighborhood.” Maybe it’s brownstones, or taxi-swamped streets, or something abutting one of the city’s amazing parks. While those aren’t inaccurate, the diversity of this city manifests in surprising ways. One of which is these interesting spots that, if you were transported here out of nowhere, you’d never guess that you were in NYC.
Ramblersville/Old Howard Beach – Queens
An old fishing village that became part of NYC in the unification of 1898, Ramblersville or Old Howard Beach is a unique spot within the already one-of-a-kind, highly diverse borough of Queens. Streets with names like Broadway and Church Street might bring the thoroughfares of Manhattan to mind, but are in fact winding roads, some even comprised of wooden slats rather than asphalt. This quiet neighborhood is accessible by the A train, but if you really want to fit in, you might be better off arriving by boat!
Broad Channel – Queens
There are a few seaside neighborhoods in NYC that defy the traditional image of a New York locale, but it’s pretty rare for one to have its own subway station. Broad Channel, an island sitting between Howard Beach and the Rockaway peninsula in Queens, is home to the MTA’s least trafficked station, seeing a mere 91,208 passengers in 2016, over 900,000 fewer riders than the station that directly precedes it, Howard Beach-JFK. For those that do choose to hop off here, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is an unmatched spot for bird watching and spotting wild terrapins and horseshoe crabs.
Seagate – Brooklyn
Waterfront living is no rarity in Brooklyn, but residents of this neighborhood right next to Coney Island live unlike any other that sits within the city’s borders. Seagate, as the name might suggest, is a gated community, self-sufficient in that residents pay dues to an association that provides them with private sanitation, street lights, and even their own private police force. Just one express bus line comes to Seagate from Manhattan, and trains are not close, making this burg a quiet spot away from it all, but well within the confines of Brooklyn.
Little Neck – Queens
A neighborhood that likes to think of itself as a small town embedded in the big city, Little Neck sits right on the Long Island border. Visitors would be forgiven if they mistake this area for suburban LI, as the calm streets and tree-lined vistas make this place feel farther from NYC in spirit than it is by actual distance. Prospective visitors should know, however, this spot isn’t completely isolated from the city. Little Neck residents are connected to the rest of NYC via the Long Island Rail Road as well as the Grand Central Parkway.
City Island – Bronx
The many peninsulas that jut out from the Bronx provide havens from city life, with places like Harding Park and Throggs Neck having their own personality apart from their close neighbors in the borough. Most remarkable of all, however, is likely City Island, a New England-esque escape known for fresh seafood and an especially isolated locale. Car-less visitors from other boroughs have a real trek ahead of them to get here, but once they arrive after a multi-train and bus journey, they can treat themselves to the finest seafood this side of Cape Cod.