NYC Hidden Secrets

Personal Stories and Favorite Memories

NYC Hidden Secrets are most often found when you least expect them. Some of my personal stories are now my favorite memories and they happened at the most simple and unexpected times and places.

So what does the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” have to do with my business job? Or how did I meet the cast of Friends during a long day of community service planting trees?

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See more NYC hidden secrets by month and plan for the time you are here. It’s not really that these things are hidden, as a matter of fact, they are all very public. They just are not in your tourist guides or in your hotel lobby. Plus, the selection is huge. Everyone has their favorite things to do, so if you’ve liked this site so far, then let me show you the top things to do every month or feel free peek into my NYC Insider personal diary.

I can’t tell you how many times I associate with things I see on television or in the movies, because I actually lived them.

As you read through my stories, realize I’m not telling them to brag or show off. My point is that so much of New York City is hidden – and that often the simple, lesser known places and people are the most interesting!


Early in my career, in 1994, I was an assistant at a large consulting firm. On my second day, my boss sat me down and told me I was about to go through the BIG test. Boy, was I nervous.

She handed me a list of soups and explained how I was going to the Soup Man. She handed me all kinds of small bills and change, told me to order the soups in the exact order of the list, hand the man the bills, request bread and fruit, and then immediately step to the left after I placed my order. “Do not ask for change and do not check the order, just say thank you and walk away. He may or may not give you the bread and fruit.”

Original Soup ManThis was my BIG test – ordering soup?

I’m happy to report I successfully ordered 7 soups, received change, got bread and fruit with every order – and even got a smile from the Soup Man! I had passed my test!

The following year, the Soup Man showed up on Seinfeld as “The Soup Nazi“…how’s that for reality TV?

Sex and the City

I don’t even know where to start with this one – this IS my life (for better or worse). The men, shoes, careers, dating games. Even the simple things, like when they are talking about guys while eating their Tasti-D-Lite. Carrie’s small apartment, the clubs and restaurants they frequent, the secret lists to get in, the Hamptons, dating “twentysomethings,” watching your friends turn into soccer moms, when the girls rent a car and no one wants to drive it, Samantha realizing she’s dating the same guy – again! Yeah, this one is just a little too close to home…


There was the time I ran into Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer twice in one day – once walking on the Upper West Side, covered in dirt after a community service project, and then, that night, in the middle of telling my friend that very story at a bar downtown, they walked right into the bar! I’ve done the Wedding Dress sale at Kleinfeld’s with my girlfriends. The outside of their apartment, on Grove and Bedford, was right across the street from a friend of mine (I used to joke he was “ugly, naked guy”). Friends was a great show no matter where you live, but there are certainly parts of it that make it more real to us New Yorkers.

Other Hidden Secrets and Favorite Memories

I worked in the Empire State Building, on the 71st floor, the last floor below the colored lights. I spent several July 4th holidays watching the fireworks over the East River sitting on a ledge, with my legs dangling out the window! esb-night
Photo by H. C. Steensen – ESB East View

Talk about a breathtaking view! Working late into the night isn’t so bad when this is what’s outside your window…

In the mid-90s, I was at Bar Chichetti (now closed) with a girlfriend who was dating the manager. I was only there because I had to switch my flight that night – and I was really upset about it. The chef was a friend of Matt Dillion’s and so he and Cameron Diaz (his girlfriend at the time) were there, and then the band, REM, arrived. Well, the manager shut down the restaurant, REM jumped up on the tables and starting playing and Ms. Diaz poured the champagne all night. Talk about right place, right time!

Rent on Broadway NYCIn 1994, I was invited to see two high school friends perform in the opening of an off-Broadway play at the New York Theatre Workshop. My friends and I didn’t have any expectations of the play – we were really going to support our friends.

Turns out, the show was amazing and went on to become a huge, worldwide success. Maybe you’ve heard of it – the Pulitzer Prize and TONY award winning rock-opera RENT!



Hopefully these stories are able to convey that so much of New York City is magical and spontaneous. You just never know what can happen and when – and that often the simple, lesser known places and things are the most interesting!

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