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Where to Find Old New York in Manhattan

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 28 August 2017
New York City, you’ve flicked your last fidget spinner: Old New York is on the rise again in Manhattan. From seductive speakeasies to iconic eateries, traveling back in time has been made possible in this borough. Here are our favorite places to catch a glimpse of a New York gone by.
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Grand Central Oyster Bar

Believe it or not, the freshest seafood in New York City is found nowhere near the sea. Situated within Manhattan’s iconic Grand Central Station, Grand Central Oyster Bar has been the local’s pick for savoring seafood in the city for over a century. This pre-war restaurant continues to be a favorite, thanks to the bouillabaisse sandwiches, a far-reaching “oyster list,” and more menu items that never go out of style.

Grand Central Oyster Bar, 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 490 6650

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The Campbell

Like many New Yorkers, The Campbell, formerly known as The Campbell Apartment, has led many lives since its inception in 1923. A Jazz Age office-turned-bar, The Campbell boasts the most beautiful décor you’re likely to encounter in any modern-day watering hole. Settle in under the bar’s 25-foot (7.6-meter) hand-painted ceilings as you explore its menu of classic cocktails and old-school offerings, such as deviled eggs and Caesar salads.

The Campbell, 15 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 297 1781

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Morgan Library and Museum

During his lifetime, financier extraordinaire Pierpont Morgan (you may know him as J.P. Morgan) harbored a private passion: collecting. His son, J.P. Morgan Jr., shared his father’s love with the world when he donated Morgan’s personal library to the public in 1924. Today, the Morgan Library and Museum comprises a museum, music venue, and library containing rare books, manuscripts, and more straight from Morgan’s own shelves.

Morgan Library and Museum, 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 685 0008

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Algonquin Hotel

When the Algonquin Hotel opened its doors in 1902, a single room would set you back a whopping $2.00. After undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation in 2012 (costing the hotel $5 million), patrons can expect to pay a little more. With its celebrated Round Table Restaurant and beloved mascot Matilda roaming its floors, a stay at this hotel is a steal at any price.

Algonquin Hotel, 59 W 44th St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 840 6800

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King Cole Bar

Situated inside the iconic St. Regis New York (everyone from Marilyn Monroe to John Lennon has been counted as a fan), the King Cole Bar brings classic cosmopolitan glamour to modern-day Manhattan. Living, or at least drinking, like royalty has never been easier than with the bar’s signature Bloody Marys, specialty cocktails, and imported whiskeys and bourbons.

King Cole Bar, 2 E 55th St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 339 6857

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The Back Room

When Prohibition was overturned in America, most bars were pleased to climb out of the city’s shadows, but not The Back Room, one watering hole that remains true to its time as a 1920s speakeasy even today. Make your way through the bar’s secret entrance (the same one used by infamous New York City gangsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky) to enjoy 1920s décor, a hidden back room, and cocktails served in authentic teacups.

The Back Room, 102 Norfolk St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 228 5098

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Since 1837, there’s only been one spot to enjoy true Delmonico steak in the city. At Delmonico’s—birthplace of such beloved dishes as eggs Benedict and baked Alaska—discerning diners enjoy Benedict burgers, 1,000 bottles of wine, and, of course, the restaurant’s signature Delmonico steaks with abandon. As popular as ever, Delmonico’s proves that the country’s first fine-dining restaurant continues to be one of its best.

Delmonico’s, 56 Beaver St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 509 1144

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Fraunces Tavern

In 1762, a Colonial American tavern (U.S. president John Adams was known to wet his whistle here) opened its doors to thirsty settlers. More than a century later, Fraunces Tavern Museum has expanded to include “over [eight] dining spaces and [nine] museum galleries.” Here, modern-day Manhattanites can enjoy over 200 whiskeys, 130 craft beers and ciders, and classic Colonial dishes such as Scotch eggs and fish and chips.

Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 425 1778

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The Grolier Club

Bibliophiles, rejoice: you too can participate in the prestigious Grolier Club through the institution’s free public exhibitions, ongoing for the last 125 years. Founded in 1884, this fellowship of fans of books and the graphic arts has expanded from eight members to 800 bibliophiles across the globe. New York-based non-members may indulge their inner lit lover at the club’s library, exhibitions, and more.

Grolier Club, 47 E 60th St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 838 6690

The Plaza Hotel

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The Plaza Hotel

If it’s good enough for Eloise, it’s good enough for New Yorkers! Hosting presidents, kings, and elite entertainers, The Plaza Hotel has boasted the city’s most fashionable address since opening its doors in 1907. From the iconic Palm Court dining space to its numerous in-house shops to some of the city’s best people-watching, The Plaza is an experience first, and an establishment second.

The Plaza Hotel, 768 5th Ave, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 759 3000

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Raines Law Room

One of New York City’s best-kept secrets, Raines Law Room is not your average Chelsea watering hole. Past an inconspicuous door buzzer lies a sultry speakeasy of which the Jazz Age would be proud. Private tables, velvet and gauze adornments, and discreet yet efficient service make even the most ordinary outing feel exhilarating.

Raines Law Room, 48 W 17th St, New York, NY, USA