The Coolest, Wildest, Weirdest Things To Do In NYC: A Guide for the Freaks

i love new york veronica varlow
I have a full on hot, wild love affair with NYC.

For two years when I first arrived here, I was a tour guide on a double-decker bus,
cruising down the streets in the open air
introducing tourists to my lover.

Here’s some of my favorite must-do, must-see picks of Gotham City:

♥  Make a wish on the Empire State Building and “blow” it out at 2am.

Seeking a beautiful and romantic view of the city lights and the moonlight?
The Empire State Building is open until 2am at the moment!
Head over to this epic Art Deco building at midnight and beat the crowds.
Two years ago on my birthday, I started making my wishes and “blowing out” the lights when they flicker and go out every night at 2am.

new york city skyline

The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building from my Bedroom Window in Brooklyn.

♥  Visit the Slipper Room (NYC’s oldest Burlesque and Vaudeville House) and take a picture of yourself in the gutter out front (It’s tradition.  I say so.)

The Slipper Room is my burlesque home and where I first saw burlesque and got my start.
It’s home to magicians, aerialists, burlesque performers, comedians, musicians, and fire performers.
Go be enchanted.
veronica varlow gutter photo

♥  Dine in a secret 1870s style Parisian train car on a rooftop.

Talk about romantic! Le Train Bleu on top of Bloomingdales is one of the best kept secrets in NYC.
Address: 1000 3rd Avenue, NY, NY – enter Bloomingdales and go to 6th floor.
le train bleu

♥  Dance among the club kids and you will never want to go home again.

Kayvon Zand and his partner, Anna Evans are the King and Queen of NYC nightlife. Their parties include Dorian Gray, Sex Fifth Avenue and others. Dance in a world of hot imagination.
Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 11.54.55 PM

♥ Ride the World Famous Coney Island Cyclone!

Coney Island is an enchanted place – go take in all the sights: ride the Cyclone, go to the world famous Coney Island Freak Show, make out on the Wonder Wheel and GO SEE Lola Star! <3
Lola Star

♥  Have a picnic in Central Park and wander around the sights.

Central Park Must-Sees are:
Alice in Wonderland Statue
Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon “Imagine” Mosaic
Shakespeare Garden
Conservatory Garden (where Burke and I got engaged!)
burke heffner veronica varlow

♥ Rock out at Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke

Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke is a NYC staple. Now held at Fontana’s, you get to scream to your punk rock favorites as a live band plays behind you.
Pretty bad ass.

♥ Duck down a dark alley and into a real Prohibition Era bar.

The Back Room serves up beverages in tea cups (just in case the joint gets raided). Once a real Speakeasy 85 years ago, this place delivers that old world charm of New York City.
Look for the “Toy Company” sign. Go down alley. You’ll see the secret door.
Once inside, peek behind the bookshelf to another secret room.
amanda palmer neil gaiman veronica varlow burke heffner

♥ Visit one of the most impressive collections of Egyptian artifacts in the world at the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum houses World-Class Egyptian treasures – not to be missed. Go early to avoid crowds and wander the artifacts in silence.

♥ Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and go grab a slice of pizza at Grimaldi’s.

Do this at Sunset or Sunrise for fantastic views and a gorgeous skyline.  Also, nighttime walks for the city lights are gorgeous.
You can wave to the Statue of Liberty from the bridge!
girl gang

♥ Screw Broadway. Go see incredible immersive theater and be a part of the action.

Check out Sleep No More and Queen of the Night.
I can’t tell you anything else,
but just trust me on this one – you’ve never seen anything like this before.

♥ Check out these secret underground party lists for the best things to do whether you are a visitor or a local!

These three lists are your new best friends in New York City.
You’re welcome.
Nonsense NYC
Gemini and Scorpio
The Skint

jeff stark

What’s your favorite things to do in this enchanted city?
Tell me in the comments.
Looking forward to seeing you on a wild New York City adventure!

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10 Wild Tips to Make This Your Best Summer Ever (You Won’t See These Anywhere Else…)

Picture 19
I hated math.
I had a notebook filled with algebra equations and messy scrawled calculations.
On the last day of school in 8th grade, I got off the school bus, threw that f*@ker into the air behind me and ran.
I didn’t look back.

The school year had rules, schedules, and guidelines.
But the Summer was mine.
Picture 20

In New York City, Summer is in full swing. I’ve got 10 easy tips on how to make it your best yet:

1.  Get Thee to The Tilt-O-Whirl.  It’s not Summer unless there is some rickedy falling apart carnival out there waiting for you to find it.  Cotton Candy!  Flashing lights!  Rides!  Throwing up on your friends after they drag you onto the Cliff Hanger!  Who wouldn’t want this?

Jeff Stark and me after riding the Cliff Hanger

One my my favorite photos of boy BFF, Jeff Stark and me at a random carnival.

2. Decorate Your Bare Summer Skin.
I adore tattoos, but if you can’t handle the commitment, henna is a gorgeous way to express yourself. Henna is a plant based ink, that has been used in cultures throughout the world to adorn skin and color hair. If it’s good enough for Cleopatra, it’s good enough for me.


Me and Melissa get matching henna tattoos on tour in Australia.

3. Stay Up All Night And Watch The Sun Come Up. There’s something about those early morning hours when the colors start to flood the sky and the night silence is broken by birdsong. I’ve had two of those nights in the past week alone…and there is a certain feel of triumph in seeing the dark turn into dawn. Relish those moments, welcome in the Summer day and pass out for early morning dreaming.

Niney and me looking over the East River and Manhattan.

Niney and me watch the sun rise over the East River and Manhattan.

4. Free Your Inner Mermaid. Find a body of water and jump in it. Swing from a rope into a lake. Go on a moonlight swim in the ocean. Whether you live by a stream, an ocean, a river or a lake, let the water free your spirit. Bonus points if you decorate yourself in blue glitter fabulousness, go to the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade and then go for a group plunge into the ocean at the end. Sarah Sparkles shows you how it’s done:
Picture 17

5. Be a Rock Star of the Volunteer World. Put the needle in. There’s a blood shortage in New York City right now, and I’m proud to be a regular blood donor. If giving blood isn’t your thing, there’s so many ways that we can help out our communities and our world. Pick out a cause that is dear to your heart and get to work. Volunteering is sexy.

Keeping my spirits up to infuse my blood with happiness for someone else to use.

Keeping my spirits up to infuse my blood with happiness for someone else to use.

6. Heed the Call of the Road.
My favorite line from the movie, Blues Brothers is: “It’s 106 miles to Chicago. We’ve got a full tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses… Hit it.” I’m in love with Kerouac. I’m in love with Bonnie and Clyde. I know all the words to the Muppets “Moving Right Along”. I have lived half of the last six years of my life on a tour bus. The road and I are long-time lovers.

Burke Heffner stands on top of a vintage truck on the road.

Burke Heffner stands on top of a vintage truck on the road.

7. Rock It Out at an Outdoor Summer Concert or Play. I love seeing and supporting live shows. If it’s a Summer outdoor concert or festival, I am there. I have danced with abandon in the pouring rain at outdoor festivals, I’ve swayed under paper parasols to protect me from the sun, I’ve shimmied under a wild moon as a band roared on. This is a photo of Me, Sparkles and Dicie rocking it out at the front of a Jane’s Addiction show outdoors. We got a chance to meet revolutionary rock star, Perry Farrell that night and he dubbed us “The 3 Muses of Brooklyn”. INDEED.

8. Do Something You’ve Never Done Before. Summer is about new discovery. It’s about growth and unlimited possibility. Take the leap and commit to doing one thing you’ve never done before by this Summer’s end. I was terrified for my first ukulele concert, but I did it and I’m already learning new songs and planning the next one. Hell yes, new discovery! Technically, the below picture was from my very private second show. It was spontaneous and it was held in a sketchy tunnel in Central Park while it rained. What else do you want?

9. Find Your Spiders Across The Stars.  Wild nights of dancing fill my heart until it bursts.  Use the gorgeous long days and nights of Summer to find your tribe and do what you do best….live it to the fullest! Anything I write here will not be enough to honor the fierce imagination and the passion of my friends….so I will just quote Kerouac: “…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” In awe.

With Alexander Taureau and Dylan Monroe at The Dorian Gray Party at the DL.  Photo by Ostin Torre. With Alexander Taureau, Veronica Varlow and Dylan Monroe at The DL.

With Alexander Taureau and Dylan Monroe at The Dorian Gray Party at the DL. Photo by Ostin Torre.

10. Roll Down a Hill. Seriously. Do it. You’ll love it. Get grass stains on your clothes. Who cares? That’s what they invented laundry detergent for. If you need instructions on how to make that happen…this is worth watching a second time.

Niney, Chihuahua of the Sunshine, approves of this post.Niney knows.

Now share this post with your friends and make a Summer plan, add your Summer ideas to the comments and then shut your computer and go dominate this day.
Don’t make Niney mad.