Explore New York City

Ask the Expert: Top Underrated NYC Attractions

Concierge Kal Naim of The New York Palace shares his favorite underrated NYC attractions, music venues and neighborhoods.

New York City is teeming with places to bop to the beat, along with cozy bars, unusual shops and so much more. Kal Naim, concierge at The New York Palace, suggests his favorites.

Q: Besides the obvious must-see NYC attractions, what underrated gems would you recommend a guest see/visit?

A: Boroughs of the Dead walking tours are a mix of history and ghost stories, including the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe, and landmark buildings like the Jefferson Market Library. There are several little gift shops in Alphabet City on the Lower East Side. For books, toys and high-tech gloves, head to Alphabets NYC. Essex Card Shop is a great find for birthday cards. You will definitely feel the downtown vibe in NoLIta, which combines the sophisticated allure of designer boutiques with the simple pleasure of people-watching from the front stoops. Here, walk the same streets as John Gotti and Martin Scorsese, while visiting sites made famous by The Godfather. On the food front, try the neighborhood’s Little Cupcake Bakeshop, Tartinery or Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria. At The New York Palace, our lounge Rarities is a quiet getaway, while Tavern on 51 offers curated cocktails and comprehensive wine and beer lists.

The New York Palace
Kal Naim on The New York Palace (©Assad Dahab)

Q: What are three must-attend events in March?

A: Neil Diamond plays at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Mar. 26, while the borough will also welcome its 40th anniversary St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Mar. 15. In the Bronx, The New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show is on view thru Apr. 19.

Q: What are some great Brooklyn neighborhoods to visit?

A: Bedford Avenue is the coolest and most active area in the Brooklyn neighborhood Williamsburg. The selection of cheese is amazing at Bedford Cheese Shop, and Miomia is great for gentlemen’s grooming products. This stretch of Williamsburg also has Whisk, a kitchen and gadget specialty shop, and Abode New York, contemporary home furnishings and accessories. Some places to eat at in the neighborhood include Diner, which has an organic and sustainably influenced menu, and Baci & Abbracci for Italian. A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge puts you in the heart of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and a ride on a Citi Bike is a terrific way to get to the neighboring piers of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Take advantage of the neighborhood’s cultural events and dine at Grimaldi’s or Superfine (126 Front St., Brooklyn, NY 11201).

Jefferson Market Library
Jefferson Market Library (Courtesy Boroughs of the Dead Tours)

Q: What are some great music venues in the city?

A: This month, The Theater at Madison Square Garden hosts Pentatonix, a popular a cappella group. I recommend the Punch Brothers’ performance on Mar. 5 at The Beacon Theatre to people who like classical music. I love jazz pianist Diana Krall’s voice, and she also performs at The Beacon this month. Piano enthusiasts should check out The Piano Guys’ concert at Carnegie Hall on Mar. 4.