Skip to main content
Hotel Beacon NYC


Join Beacon Insider & Save 30%
Discovering Vintage New York  blog image

Discovering Vintage New York

April 01 2024

While New York might strike you as a modern metropolis, there are plenty of places to find examples of vintage New York and take a step into the city’s colorful past. The city of New York, originally known as New Amsterdam, was first founded in 1624 by the Dutch. 

By 1664 the English had taken control of the city and renamed it New York, as we know it today. The city has changed and expanded exponentially over the last 400 years and is completely unrecognizable from the first settlement. 

Now New York is a fast-paced city, with an ever-changing skyline - so where are the best places to find examples of vintage New York? 

The New York Public Library Main Branch 

The New York Public Library is located in the heart of Manhattan and was first opened to the public in 1911. While the library contains an impressive collection of over 2.5 million artifacts, the building itself is a nod to the city’s past.

From the marble facades to the grand interiors, the New York Public Library is one of the city’s most beautiful vintage buildings. Perhaps the most beautiful part of the building is the iconic Rose Main Reading Room, featuring soaring ceilings and original oak tables. 

The library is a registered National Historic Landmark, a National Register of Historic Places site, and a New York City designated landmark. 

The Cloisters in New York

The Cloisters

Located in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan, The Cloisters - also known as Met Cloisters - is a museum that opened in 1938. The museum sits inside Fort Tryon Park and offers views over the Hudson River. 

The museum is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is home to an impressive collection of medieval art and architecture. The artifacts in the museum were mostly collected in Europe, while architect Charles Collens designed the building and surrounding gardens. 

Grand Central Terminal 

Grand Central Station is one of New York’s most iconic buildings and perhaps the most famous train station in the world. The station was opened in 1913 and is the third busiest train station in the USA. 

The train station and terminal are a National Historic Landmark and one of the world’s top ten most visited tourist attractions. The building is steeped in deep history from the celestial ceiling to the beautiful main concourse. 

Don’t miss the station's hidden gems - like the whispering gallery, the Campbell Apartment, or the Grand Central Oyster Bar which opened one day before the station in 1913 and is still in operation today. 

Grand Central Station Sign in New York

Brooklyn Flea 

If you’re looking for a slice of vintage New York that you can take home with you, don’t miss the Brooklyn Flea. While the market itself hasn’t been around for that long, most things you find in the market are vintage. 

Whether you’re looking for furniture, clothing, jewelry, or antiques, you can find it all at the Brooklyn Flea. You can find the Brooklyn Flea in DUMBO on Saturdays and Sundays between April and December, or the Chelsea Flea, also on Saturdays and Sundays all year round.

Fraunces Tavern 

Fraunces Tavern is the oldest bar in New York City and is known for being the tavern of choice for the Founding Fathers as well as the location where George Washington thanked his officers after the British troops left the USA. 

The venue is considered the most historic bar in the city and is now both a restaurant and a museum. The bar also claims to be Manhattan’s oldest surviving building. The tavern was built in 1719 and is one of the best examples of vintage New York in the city. 

Thinking of visiting New York in the coming months? The Hotel Beacon is located in the heart of the family-friendly Upper West Side, offering both rooms and apartment-style suites.