The Best NYC Landmark You’ve Never Heard Of

Bioethicist and Writer
Becoming a New York sightseeing guide is harder than passing the bar. Having met the challenge, Jacob Appel describes his favorite sight in the city.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: As a New York City Sightseeing Guide, what’s your favorite sight to see in the city?

Jacob Appel: What I like to tell people is, of all the exams I have taken over the years, I've taken the Bar Exam in New York and Rhode Island, I've taken the Medical License Exams, I've taken the GRA's to get into graduate school, I've taken a Notary Public Exam in New York State, the hardest exam by far was the New York City's Tour Guiding Exam.  So, if you were planning on becoming a New York City Tour Guide, get your blue book and study hard.  It was also the one I was most proud to have passed. 

That being said, I’ve given some walking tours in New York.  One of my dreams is that some day, when I retire, I will be on one of those red double-decker buses sharing my love of New York because do love New York and I think it is the greatest city in the world, at least for me to live in.

My favorite monument is a rather obscure monument that few people even know of.  I've written about it in the past, is the Amiable Child Monument at Riverside Drive and 133rd Street.  It's a little grey marker that's been there for about 250 years -- 300 years, excuse me, that marks the place where a child in the late 18th century fell off the cliff and died.  Back when it was rural farm land and it was a strawberry field.  Not much is known about the child, but over the centuries, people from the neighborhood, and increasingly people from the city come to that site to pay tribute to things they've lost in the city, or to share their own experiences, and there's a little museum, so to speak, around this gravesite of trinkets, and Christopher's medals and heirlooms, and after 911, people from the neighborhood came there and you can still sense the smell of the burning buildings from downtown wafting up the Hudson, and people left tributes there and pinned letters there, and it's a truly haunting site that if you're ever in Morningside Heights, it's worth seeing.

Recorded on March 1, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen