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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Magic Monday: City Lights Magic

Living in the city, I can’t see the stars to wish on.

So I wish on the brightest thing in the sky:

Picture 21

My love affair with the Empire State Building started long before I moved here. Regal, gleaming silver, art deco structure in the sky…lighting up the way for me to find my home.

It uprooted me – 1,300 miles away from the heat and the ocean where I lived and drew me in with its light.

It’s a beacon of unspoken promise.

The promise of dreams coming true, of taking a chance, of wild risks and even wilder life…

and I said “Yes.”

And I still do. And will until the day I die.

I wake up with the the sunrise reflecting off the Empire State Building’s side like solid gold beams.

After being away from the city on tour or on adventures, I search for the Empire State Building out of plane windows. It always reaches up to me in the sky, to welcome me home.

I walk along the river at night with Niney, and make wishes on it.


On a night walk….me and the Blue Lady.

For as long as I’ve been having this affair with The Empire State Building, her lights would shut off at midnight.

She would officially close out the day for me.

I started a game long ago, where I would make wishes right before midnight and make sure I was wishing right before the light went out. That way, she could take my wishes with her, before going dark into the night.

Picture 16

The view from my roof on my birthday. From L to R: The Empire State Building, my favorite water tower and the Chrysler Building.


Five minutes before midnight, on my actual birthday, I found myself on a rooftop with my tarot cards and a blanket. A brand new magic city ritual occurred to me right then and there…

The Empire State Building, stood, lit in front of me.

She stood like a gigantic candle on top of the most lovely cake of New York City. Seconds before midnight, I would say my wishes and at the strike of midnight, on a rooftop in Brooklyn, I would take all the air into my lungs and blow the lights of the Empire State Building out.

The church bells rang in the distance, chiming twelve times to start the new day.

I had spoken my wishes out loud and started to blow on the wind – waiting for the Empire State Building to go out.

And I blew.

And I blew.

She was still shining white lights on the city.

And I looked at my watch.

And it was 5 minutes after midnight.

And I blew more.

And then it was 10 minutes after midnight.

And I realized that sometimes things change.

And I passed out, knowing that my wishes were definitely attached to that gorgeous old building and she would let the lights go out and deem wishes true whenever she damn well pleased.

She got an upgrade.

A fancy new light system debuted on New Years Eve like I wrote about here. But what I didn’t know, was that she now stays lit until 2am.

I was determined to try this again. I looked up the schedule for her lights and found something better.

At midnight, SHE was turning 82.

Ah. I see how it goes. She was willing to celebrate the end of my birthday at midnight going into April 30, if I was willing to celebrate HER birthday 26 hours later on May 1st.


So on May 1st, moments before 2am, Burke and I raced home. We unlocked our apartment, ran to our bedroom window and stood side by side, holding hands, wishing as hard as we could.

She wore peach that night.

And we were there to celebrate her.
And this city.
And the wild dreamers who are drawn to her light.

We whispered our wishes to her in a frenzy. Delicious. Goosebump inducing. Magic.

And on her 82nd birthday at 2am…we blew all of those gorgeous dreams to her, the candle of our city, the grand dame.

The wishes caught the wind.

And she flickered for a moment.

Before she went dark into the night.