New York City is a fantastic place for fans of Alice in Wonderland to visit. In 2015, it was the epicenter of the American celebration of Alice150, as the Morgan Museum and Library temporarily housed the original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, on loan from the British Library.
However, the Big Apple is full of plenty of other Wonderlandish attractions of a more permanent nature. I have taken a few trips to NYC specifically to do and see Alice stuff, and there is still more I have yet to experience.
This is a guide to points of interest for Alice fans in NYC, and I hope it will be helpful to anyone planning a trip to this incredible city.
Central Park’s TWO Alice statues
Many people are aware of the immensely famous bronze statue of Alice sitting on a mushroom, surrounded by the Hatter, the White Rabbit, and many other familiar characters. This is a great spot to visit, but be aware that it is subject to temperature changes, becoming very hot in the summer and very, very cold in the winter — and therefore it can be difficult to climb on for that selfie with Alice! Also, it can be quite crowded during times when children wouldn’t otherwise be in school. The first time I saw it, it was during spring break when just about every child in the city was visiting the park. By contrast, I took the above picture on a weekday in late summer, and barely anyone was there. So, be open to a variety of possibilities, and bring your patience.
Alice in Wonderland Statue information on the NYC Parks website
There is a second Alice statue that is not as familar to a lot of people. I have not yet visited it, myself. It is called the Sophie Loeb Memorial Fountain. It features Alice, the Duchess, Hatter, Cheshire Cat, and other characters on top of a granite fountain. It’s of particular interest to me (as a social work student), because it’s in in honor of a prominent social worker and the first president of the Child Welfare Board of New York City. It looks like a beautiful fountain in the pictures I’ve seen of it, and I look forward to visiting it on a future visit.
Sophie Loeb Memorial Fountain information on the NYC Parks website
Then She Fell
If you read my my review of “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, you probably know that I am in love with the immersive theater play, Then She Fell. I find it very difficult to describe, because it’s so unique — in fact, it can be different every time you see it. And I highly recommend you see it more than once, and also see it with friends, so that you can compare your experiences. I also feel that it can be interpreted in such a huge number of ways, and I think it’s hard, as an observer, to definitively say what it’s actually about — I’ve changed my mind a few times. But one thing is for certain, it is an amazing piece of theater and choreography and storytelling. When I am fully submerged in the setting, I truly feel that I am in a place that is not a place, in a time that is not a time. The characters are so convincingly performed, and very engaging. Something I love about it is that it is tightly woven with countless small details that devoted fans of the books and the man who wrote them will pick up on instantly. At the risk of sounding a little elitist, I feel like, in a world of Disney adaptations,”this one’s for us”. The level of care that went into this production will astound you.
Located in Brooklyn. More about Then She Fell // Ticket information
“Alice: The Way Out” subway mosaic mural
This one is also still on my to-do list. At the 50th St. Station, four terra cotta mosaic murals depict several Alice characters. They are by Liliana Porter. If you’ve been to see it, comment and tell me what you thought!
Liliana Porter’s website // MTA website // nycsubway website // Ephemeral New York blog
Alice’s Tea Cup
While you’re wandering around NYC looking at all of the cool Alice stuff, it only makes sense to eat at an Alice-themed restaurant, doesn’t it? Alice’s Tea Cup has three locations, so you will probably be near at least one of them on your journey. The “Chapter 1” location, for example, is not very far from the bronze Alice statue in Central Park. I personally like the interior of Chapter 2 the best. I would like to re-visit Chapter 3 because when I went, they were open on a very limited basis and I was only able to get tea and a scone to go. But all three locations are so nicely decorated. There are characters and quotes from the books painted on the walls, and framed photos of opulent Alice-y photo shoots, and the tables are shadowboxes filled with Wonderland collectibles. The food is very good and they have several vegan options, which is imporant to me. I love their hummus sandwich. They have vegan scones, too. They’re a little pricey but I think you’re really paying for the experience, and it’s well worth it. The staff is very friendly, as well. And of course, they have a great selection of teas, both to drink in-house and to buy loose for brewing at home. Also, lots of Alice/Lewis Carroll goods are for sale, making Alice’s Tea Cup a series of must-visit locations for collectors.
As I visit places on this list that I have not yet been to, I will update! If there are points of interest that I am missing, please feel free to let me know about them!