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New York is much older than the United States of America, and the storied past of the city that never sleeps is one of innovation, rebellion, and diversity. There are buildings and establishments dotted all over the city that showcase this history, and each of them is worth a visit in their own way, even if they don’t serve their original purpose. If you want to get old school, head to one of these favourites:

The oldest bar in New York: Fraunces Tavern

Fraunces Tavern is probably the only establishment in the world that has a review from John Adams plastered on their website, and as the oldest pub in New York and second oldest bar in New York state they’ve been satisfying customers for centuries.

Founded in 1762 and originally known as the Queen’s Head Tavern, the spot now encompasses a massive museum. During the late 18th century it was the meeting place of secret society The Sons of Liberty and was an important spot for Republicans in the revolutionary war. The New York Chamber of Commerce was also founded within these walls. To put it frankly, this tavern has had more historically important events happen in it than most States. Thanks to fires, the building has been renovated several times, but the weight of history has never disappeared from its walls. Aside from being the oldest bar in New York, they put out some great food too.

frauncestavern
Instagram @frauncestavern

The oldest deli in New York: Katz’s Deli

Founded in 1888, Katz’s is a New York institution. Nowadays famed for its pastrami, in the middle of the 20th century it was known for Friday night franks and beans, where the whole neighbourhood would turn out and dine. The deli has been family run for over a century, albeit not by the Katz family anymore; in the 80s it was transferred over to long-time family friend Martin Dell. The deli isn’t just known for its food: it’s the location of that scene from When Harry Met Sally, and it’s also known for supporting the US military with special food packages.

katzsdeli
Instagram @katzsdeli

The oldest burger joint in New York: P.J. Clarke’s

When Nat King Cole claims that you’ve produced “the Cadillac of burgers”, you know you’ve made it. Established in 1884, P.J Clarke’s is so much more than a burger joint; it’s a piece of New York history. They proudly state they fired up their grill before Lady Liberty lit her torch, and the saloon has seen enough famous people pass through its doors to fill the hall of fame; the Kennedy’s were regulars and Buddy Holly proposed to his wife here (on their first date, no less). Most importantly, though, they make a damn good burger, which is why they’ve been around for so long.

katzsdeli
Instagram @katzsdeli

The oldest café and espresso bar in New York: Ferrara Bakery and Café

Coffee is the lifeblood of the city that never sleeps, and since 1892 Ferrara Bakery and Café has been plying New Yorkers with their caffeine fix. The charming spot is still operated by the same family, now in their fifth generation of ownership. Based in the heart of Little Italy, they also serve up an array of delicious sweet treats, with some recipes that are over three centuries old.

ferrarabakery
Instagram @ferrarabakery

The oldest pizza place in New York: Lombardi’s

Founded in 1888, Katz’s is a New York institution. Nowadays famed for its pastrami, in the middle of the 20th century it was known for Friday night franks and beans, where the whole neighbourhood would turn out and dine. The deli has been family run for over a century, albeit not by the Katz family anymore; in the 80s it was transferred over to long-time family friend Martin Dell. The deli isn’t just known for its food: it’s the location of that scene from When Harry Met Sally, and it’s also known for supporting the US military with special food packages.

lombardispizza
Instagram @lombardispizza

The oldest church in New York: St Paul’s

An Episcopal chapel, St Paul’s was built in 1766 and has seen its fair share of infamy. Known as “the little chapel that stood”, the church survived the collapse of the World Trade Centre that was once erected just behind it and served as a makeshift refuge site for first responders on that fateful day. George Washington also worshipped here on his inauguration day in 1789, a moment memorialised by an 18th century oil painting of the Great Seal of the United States above the pew in which he prayed.

St Pauls New York

The oldest public park in New York: Bowling Green

This entry is a multiple whammy, as Bowling Green is not only the oldest public park in the city but also home to the oldest fence in New York. The space was designated a park in 1733, and the fence was originally installed in 1771 to protect a statue of King George III that the British had placed there. The statue was torn down in 1776, and some pieces are still available to view at the New York Historical Society (which is the oldest museum in the city). The park was also home to the city’s first public well, and George Washington once lived on the edge of the space. The storied past goes beyond European involvement; the green is said to have been a sacred spot where council fires were once held by the Kapsee people.

NYC Parks
Instagram @nycparks

The oldest building in New York: Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House

The only above ground entry in modern day Brooklyn, the Wyckoff house is estimated to have been built in 1652, which makes it the oldest surviving structure in New York. Wyckoff was a prominent figure in Kings County, eventually becoming a local judge. The house itself has had additions to it over the years, but large swathes of it are the original designs from the 17th century. It has been a National Historic Landmark since the sixties and is owned by the City of New York.

Wyckoff Museum
Instagram @wyckoffmuseum

The oldest subway tunnel in New York: Atlantic Avenue

The second Brooklyn entry, the Atlantic Avenue tunnel was built  in 1844 and has the sort of history that would make great fodder for an HBO show. Originally made to avoid running over Brooklynites with trains, this tunnel is considered to be the first subway in the world. Built by Irish immigrants who are said to have murdered their first boss and buried his body in the tunnel, it was closed controversially in 1861, amid complaints of interference by state Governor John A. King, who had shares in the competing Long Island Rail road. The tunnel was rediscovered in the 80s and opened for tours but is now closed again. You can, however, visit speakeasy Le Boudoir, which is built on the old tunnel and incorporates some of it into their bathrooms.

Atlantic Ave Tunnel

Looking forward to kicking it old school with a pint in New York’s oldest pub? Then download the Orbzii app today to Dream, Plan and Book your holiday.

Want an even bigger slice of New York’s best eating and drinking establishments? Take a look at our unmissable guides to the city’s best cocktail bars, as well as the ultimate breakfast, lunch and dinner spots.