35 Photos You Won’t Believe Were Taken In New York City

Published July 17, 2016
Updated February 10, 2017

Chances are, when you picture New York City, you’re conjuring up images like this:

New York City Photos Times Square

Kevin PohTimes Square

Or even for a more serene, outer-borough scene, you’re probably thinking of something like this:


Matthew RutledgePark Slope, Brooklyn

And why not — New York City crams its 8.5 million people (the highest total of any city in the U.S. by more than double) into just 300 square miles, making for a whopping 27,000 people per square mile (more than 10,000 higher than its closest U.S. competitor).

But while there is a New York City — the one you’re picturing — choked by crowds, canopied by skyscrapers, and developed within an inch of its life, there’s another New York City you’re not picturing, one dotted with placid fields, hidden islands, and calm little lanes.

These forgotten corners of the city make America’s most bustling metropolis look more like a New England fishing village, or a quaint suburb, or even a deserted ghost town.

And you needn’t even go to the city’s parks nor to its geographical fringes to find such unexpected environs. Many of New York’s most surprisingly tranquil locales sit side-by-side with some of its most bustling ones.

Below, you won’t find manicured parks that provide a simulacrum of serenity nor will you find deceptive images that keep the urban bustle just out of frame. Instead, you’ll simply find 35 surprising photos you’d never guess were actually taken in New York City:

Cornell Farmhouse, Queens

New York City Photos Cornell Farmhouse
Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan

Fort Tryon Park
Charley Lhasa/Flickr

Forest Hills, Queens

New York City Photos Forest Hills

Broad Channel, Queens

Broad Channel
Alexander Rabb/Flickr

Pomander Walk, Manhattan

Pomander Walk
Wikimedia Commons

Alley Pond Park, Queens

Alley Pond Queens
Neil R/Flickr

Fort Tilden, Queens

Fort Tilden
Nev Brown/Flickr

Snug Harbor, Staten Island

Snug Harbor
Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Little Red Lighthouse, Manhattan

The Little Red Lighthouse
Shawn Hoke/Flickr

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park Victorian

Randall's Island, Manhattan

Randalls Island

Hart Island, Bronx

Hart Island

Seagate, Brooklyn

Seagate Rocks

City Island, Bronx

New York City Photos City Island
David Trawin/Flickr

Bronx River

Bronx River
Jean Gazis/Flickr

Arthur Kill, Staten Island

Arthur Kill
Jorge Quinteros/Flickr

Crocheron Park, Queens

Crocheron Park
John Gillespie/Flickr

Grove Court, Manhattan

Grove Court
Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Douglaston, Queens

John Gillespie/Flickr

North Mount Loretto State Forest, Staten Island

North Mount Loretto State Forest

Freshkills Park, Staten Island

Freshkills Park
Leonel Ponce/Flickr

Heather Garden, Manhattan

Heather Garden
Wikimedia Commons

Washington Mews, Manhattan

Washington Mews Cobblestone

Hunter Island, Bronx

Abandoned Shack
Joseph Brent/Flickr

Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan

Tree Reflection
Steve Guttman/Flickr

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

North Brother Island, Bronx

North Brother Island

Kissena Park, Queens

Kissena Park
Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Roosevelt Island, Manhattan

Roosevelt Island
Beth Wilson/Flickr

Pelham Bay Park, Bronx

Planks Weeds
Julia Manzerova/Flickr

Riverdale, Bronx

Fernando Sanchez-Magrane/Flickr

Soundview Park, Bronx

Weeds Blue Sky

Swinburne Island, Staten Island

Swinburne Dead Trees
Kristine Paulus/Flickr

The Cloisters, Manhattan

The Cloisters
Augie Ray/Flickr

William T Davis Wildlife Refuge, Staten Island

William T Davis Wildlife Refuge
Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy these New York City photos? Next, check out the 25 most incredible photographs of New York City. Then, see what the city looked like at its worst in the 1970s and the 1980s.

All That's Interesting
All That's Interesting is a Brooklyn-based digital publisher that seeks out the stories to illuminate the past, present, and future.