Best Of

Best Place to Take In-Town Guests

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One of the greatest things about New York is that you could spend a hundred or so lifetimes here and never want for something to do. But finding new wonders to behold becomes more difficult the longer you live here, until you wind up caving in and spending your weekends at movie mega-chains and subsisting wholly on the Seamless “order again” option. Never fear, Obscura Society NYC is here. It has been here, actually, since 2009, an offshoot of Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras’s Atlas Obscura site, but it was never so active as it was this year, the first with Slate‘s David Plotz at the reins. Even the most jaded local will delight in the offbeat tours, talks, and parties these folks whip up. Did you know about the secret pinball arcade in the back of Greenpoint’s Sunshine Laundromat? Or the Robotic Church in Red Hook? Or the entire series of abandoned asylum and quarantine islands that surround Manhattan? We didn’t — until Obscura Society shed some light. Recent standout events include a five-part series called “After Hours: Inside the Rare Book Collection of the New York Academy of Medicine”; a swanky seminar on how to cheat at cards, held in a Chinatown gambling den; and, of course, the first-ever Obscura Day, a worldwide festival of happenings that featured nineteen tours in New York alone. atlasobscura.com