Three of the Strangest Things I’ve Done in Manhattan

New York, New York. The city that never sleeps and the land of endless possibilities. This is the place where your imagination is tickled, and your mind is blown by creative genius and bizarre experiences that can only occur in NYC. There’s something for everyone in this city. Whether you want to stick to old, reliable eateries and forms of entertainment, or do something a bit…outrageous…Manhattan is your go-to 22.82 square miles that has it all. If you like to live life on the edge, and anti-mainstream is your mantra, I’ve got a few suggestions to satiate your sense of adventure. Buckle up and brace yourself for three of the strangest, most peculiar things I’ve done in Manhattan.

Tomatoland
We’ve all heard of at least one of the many immersive millennial playground types of experiences that have populated New York as well as our social media feeds. 29 Rooms, The Rosé Mansion, and The Color Factory are just a few. Creating little Instagram meccas seems to be a surefire recipe for success these days. I’ve been to a few of these popups, but never one like Tomatoland. This immersive exhibition that ran from October to January was meant to provide a New York City view from a tomato’s perspective. Yeah, let that sink in.



In this exhibit, I entered the Package Zone, walked into the Refrigerator World, swam at the Ketchup Pool, took a rest at the Noodle Swing and the Burger Stop, and finally arrived at the Bread Paradise. Through the journey, participants are meant to notice how the environment is tampered with and realize that the city must be saved. I’m not sure if I can say I came to that epiphany by the end, but the experience sure made for some amusing pictures…



Dream House
I’ve known about the Dream House for years, finding it as result of falling down an internet rabbit hole late one night. It’s a “meditative sound and light environment” – which was just vague enough to pique my interest. A few weeks ago, I finally made my way to 275 Church Street with a friend to check this place out. The location is easy to miss. The Dream House is within an apartment building, only distinguishable from the street by the label under the doorbell. As soon as we buzzed in, the overwhelming scent of incense hit us…We knew we were in the right place.



Once we walked up to the second-floor stairwell, we were greeted by a person sitting at a table, there as the gatekeeper to the apartment where this profound experience awaited us. With just a ten-dollar admittance fee and the removal of our shoes, we were allowed access to the space for as long as we wanted. Now let me paint the scene for you – we were the only ones there, and as the door shut behind us, we couldn’t help but feel like we had just entered the beginning scenes of a horror movie. Not only were the incense intoxicatingly strong, but throughout this dimly lit, musty carpeted apartment, there was a beating white noise blaring from speakers. Pillows were strewn across an empty room with art pieces projected on the walls and what seemed like a worshipping area for a man unbeknownst to us.



To be honest, it felt a bit cultish, and the ambience definitely contributed to that impression. We could picture ourselves being locked in this eerie apartment, and ironically did not feel very relaxed at all. If we had been educated about the true significance of the space, maybe we wouldn’t have been as creeped out, but the person who was the gatekeeper seemed to be a newbie and couldn’t shed much light on what we had just experienced. Ominous is an understatement.



Ingesting Insects
In a city with Three-Star Michelin restaurants, 24/7 empanada joints, and everything in between, you might think there’s not a cuisine out there that would surprise you. You may be a little awestruck, however, to know that there are restaurants in Manhattan that intentionally serve bugs.



I’ve visited two of these establishments in my time – Toloache and The Black Ant. My very first bug experience involved grasshopper tacos at Toloache. Aside from the tortilla and some garnish, these tacos were comprised of nothing but whole chapulines. My recommendation is to close your eyes and just do it – there’ll be a lot of crunch, but the flavor isn’t too bad! And if you don’t want to dive right in, you can stop by The Black Ant to try more toned-down dishes like black ant guacamole and shrimp tacos with grasshopper bits scattered through the breading. Happy munching!




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What are the oddities you’ve experienced in NYC? We’ll gladly add them to our bucket list 😉.  Let us know by commenting below!


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