For anyone who has a love of exploring the world around them, there’s nothing more exciting than coming upon an oddity hidden in plain sight.
“The world is a big, weird place,” says Dylan Thuras, co-founder of the website Atlas Obscura. “I think that people are really pleased to be reminded of just sort of how vast and odd and fascinating [it] is.”
The Brooklyn-based website defines itself as “the definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places,” and it is chock full of fascinating entires about both far-off lands and stuff just a subway ride away.
It features an ever-growing database of 10,000 entries covering locations worldwide, and lands 5 million unique users a month, as well as more than 100,000 registered users, says Thuras, who lives in Greenpoint.
Thuras, along with Ella Morton and the site’s co-founder Joshua Foer, is celebrating the release of the massive new book “Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders,” with a party on Sept. 24 that will feature aerialists, contortionists, food trucks and more.
The book — which the authors started writing from scratch to give it a consistent tone and feel — has around 700 entries covering all seven continents.
“We wanted to make an object where you could say, ‘Page through this and you’ll understand the frame that we look through when we’re trying to see the world from an Atlas Obscura perspective,’” Thuras says.
Four ‘Obscura’ locations to see in NYC
You don’t have to leave New York City if you want to go on an adventure or see something fascinating. Atlas Obscura co-founder Dylan Thuras revealed some fascinating, offbeat local destinations.
1. Coney Island Creek
This little-used waterway can be found through a gate in the parking lot at the Home Depot in Coney Island. “It was a dumping ground for people’s boats when they didn’t want them anymore, so there’s ship ribs that stick up out of the sand,” Thuras explains. “In the middle of this little bay is a submarine … that was going to be used to retrieve sunken treasure. It got unmoored in a storm in the middle of the creek and has been there since.”
2. The Morbid Anatomy Museum
This institution (424-A Third Ave., Gowanus), according to Thuras, is about the “intersection of anatomy, art, medicine and history and also some of the odd pursuits that people have gotten into.”
3. The Times Square Hum
While it’s likely that you’ve been to Times Square, there’s a good chance that you missed this art instillation located on an island between 45th and 46th sts and Broadway and Seventh Avenue. “There’s a grate that’s giving off this strange digeridoo-like hum and in fact it’s an art instillation by Max Neuhaus,” Thuras says. “He wanted it specifically left with no documentation. … It’s this kind of deeply hidden thing, because if people hear it at all, assume it’s one of the strange sounds among many of the city and Times Square, when in reality it’s a deliberate sound environment.
4. City Hall Station
You can seen an ornate, abandoned subway station and all you have to do is take a southbound 6 train. “Stay on the 6 for a little longer and get a glimpse of the City Hall Station,” Thuras says.
If you go: The “Atlas Obscura” book launch party is on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. at Building 128 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave. gate entrance, $50, $75 including a copy of the book, $120 for two tickets plus book.