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Bianca
Miami

New York City

What should I absolutely, positively not see or do in NYC?

I know this is a weird question, but I want to know what you think I should stay away from when I come to New York in June. I only have three days and I want to make the most of them, so what should I absolutely, positively not see when I go to New York?  I want to get that out of the way, so everything else is a free for all!


17 Answers

top answer by
Kristin from New York City

Hi Bianca, 

In my opinion, you should definitely skip the  Empire State Building and  Times Square. If you really want a high-up view of the city from a skyscraper, you can go to  Top of the Rock... it's got a great view of Central Park, but it's still a tourist trap. Time Square is nothing but advertisements, crowds and giant versions of mall shops. Seriously... a waste of your time. Instead, go check out the  9/11 Memorial Visitor Center and explore Soho and the West Village. Those shops are much more fun to walk around and there are tons of cool cafes and bakeries to drop into. You can also skip the boat to the  Statue of Liberty and don't go to  Grimaldi's for pizza. Overrated and you'll waste your time in line. You can find some other killer pizza places like  Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint (there will be a wait) or a small, unassuming place in Little Italy like Saluggi's (no line at all!)

Some may say you can skip Central Park but personally, I love the park and I think it's worth at least meandering around a bit near the boat house. 

Oh, and never, EVER go to  Macy's Herald Square or anywhere in Herald Square in general. In my opinion, the worst place on earth. 

Hope this helps and enjoy the city!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Empire State Building (attraction)
  2. Times Square (metro area)
  3. Top of the Rock (attraction)
  4. 9/11 Memorial Visitor Center (attraction)
  5. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
  6. Grimaldi's (restaurant)
  7. Paulie Gee's (restaurant)
  8. Central Park (attraction)
  9. Macy's Herald Square (attraction)
  10. Saluggi's (restaurant)
15 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Courtney from Los Angeles

Hey, Bianca,

I think you've gotten some great answers here and while there's not a lot in New York I would say to skip, there are some places I would definitely stay away from! I COMPLETELY agree with Kristin about  Herald Square. It's an awful, ugly area that's always insanely crowded and I can almost guarantee you won't find much you couldn't find at home. 

Another one of my least favorite places is the  South Street Seaport. It's a glorified mall that's actually being re-vamped. I'd say that's a definite skip if for no other reason than you'll see more tourists than locals. 

I know a lot of people recommend taking in the views of the city from  Roosevelt Island, but given what an ugly place the island is and how many other places will give you a great view, I would skip it. 

The  Bronx Zoo is another one of my all-time least favorite places. Admittedly I'm not a big zoo fan anyway, but I find this one especially zoo-ish, figuratively speaking. 

I know a lot of people will totally disagree with me on this (which I understand), but I'm not a huge fan of the  Whitney Museum. The admission is about $20 (I can't remember whether this is recommended or required) and frankly, unless there's something there you really want to see it's not worth it. I kind of feel that way about the  Guggenheim Museum, too, although at least that building is a little more interesting. 

And yes, I agree 2,000 percent that you should stay away from  Times Square. It's so, so, so ugly that's full of low-end chain restaurants. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Herald Square (attraction)
  2. South Street Seaport (attraction)
  3. Roosevelt Island (attraction)
  4. Bronx Zoo (attraction)
  5. Whitney Museum (attraction)
  6. Guggenheim Museum (attraction)
  7. Times Square (metro area)
12 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Anna from Santa Monica

Times Square is a tourist trap - it's crowded, full of confused visitors, and has the same street performers all cities do (Naked Cowboy excluded). The only excuse is if you're going to see a Broadway show, plot out fifteen minutes to walk through the heart of it at night just to see all the lights because it is a world renowned location but really, don't waste any time at the chain restaurants or souvenir shops there.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Times Square (metro area)
11 thankscomments (1)


answered by
John from Guayaquil

Hey Bianca, i think that one of the great things about NYC is that you can see the greatest attractions without spending anything.

If you want to see the the Statue of Liberty, take the Staten Island Ferry, its free and you don't have make a line for it.

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to experience an interesting view of the New York skyline and harbor.

I recommend you not to go to Empire State Building, instead go to the Top of the Rock because you can get the Empire State Building in your photos. While there are only slightly fewer tourists at the Top of the Rock, it’s a vastly less clichéd experience with a much shorter line.

Good Luck!




Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
  2. Staten Island Ferry (attraction)
  3. Top of the Rock (attraction)
  4. Brooklyn Bridge (attraction)
11 thankscomments (1)


answered by
tina from Easton (Pennsylvania)

As someone who's worked in the city for many years (near Herald Square, then Wall Street), all of these answers are spot on: Stay away from Herald Square-there's nothing but stores and too many tourists, same for  Times Square-nothing but tourists and billboards.  Little Italy & Chinatown New York aren't that great unless you want to just "experience" it.  Midtown Manhattan is pretty much just for those who work in the city  but Grand Central Station is a piece of artwork and should be considered. Have heard that Top of the Rock is better than Empire State Building.

Areas to consider: Def Central Park-beautiful (museums are awesome too).   Rockefeller Center is ok-for a 1 time look except there's also tons of tourists here too. Gramercy Park area is nice, Union Square Park is ok.

Honestly, I think besides Central Park, the best areas to consider are all in the lower half of the city:  SoHoWashington Square Park, Meatpacking District/ TriBeCa and the Wall Street area (it's so different down there from the rest of Manhattan, then you can go to the 9/11 Memorial Visitor Center since it's right there).    

Bring at least 2 pair of comfy shoes in case you get blisters from the 1st day of walking! June is a great time to come. Have fun!

 

 

 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Herald Square (attraction)
  2. Wall Street (attraction)
  3. Little Italy (neighborhood)
  4. Grand Central Station (attraction)
  5. Top of the Rock (attraction)
  6. Empire State Building (attraction)
  7. Central Park (attraction)
  8. Rockefeller Center (attraction)
  9. Gramercy Park (neighborhood)
  10. Union Square Park (attraction)
  11. SoHo (neighborhood)
  12. Washington Square Park (attraction)
  13. Meatpacking District (neighborhood)
  14. TriBeCa (neighborhood)
  15. 9/11 Memorial Visitor Center (attraction)
  16. Midtown Manhattan (neighborhood)
  17. Chinatown New York (neighborhood)
8 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Kimberly

Do not go to Times Square. Do not stop walking in the middle of a crowded sidewalk. This will automatically brand you a tourist!  Any New Yorker that has been here for more than 5 minutes avoids that place like the plague. 

What you should do depends on your interests. Anything and everything is available in NYC.  Maybe shop the unique boutiques in SoHo Go to a secret speakeasy…hidden everywhere from the back of a coffee shop ( Bathtub Gin), a hot dog shop ( Please Don't Tell) and the back of another speakeasy ( Mulberry Project). Have a crazy brunch party and spray champagne at 2pm at Bagatelle New York? Or a more mellow, sophisticated brunch at Pastis across the street? Walk the high line and grab a lobster at The Chelsea Market?  See the art at MOMA, American Museum of Natural Historyor (gasp) The Museum of Sex


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Times Square (metro area)
  2. SoHo (neighborhood)
  3. Bathtub Gin (restaurant)
  4. Please Don't Tell (attraction)
  5. Pastis (restaurant)
  6. MOMA (attraction)
  7. American Museum of Natural History (attraction)
  8. Museum of Sex (attraction)
  9. Mulberry Project (attraction)
  10. Bagatelle New York (restaurant)
  11. Chelsea Market (attraction)
8 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Selina from Los Angeles

Hi Bianca! With that little time in New York, I would avoid taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Those are fantastic sites and very much worth seeing, but they are big time commitments and could eat up a significant portion of a day. A good way to see the Statue of Liberty and get a couple of other sites in is to start a day at the  World Trade Center Memorial, walk down  Wall Street and then walk across the  Brooklyn Bridge. There's some great places to eat in Dumbo, so that would be another good way to break up the day. 

The Empire State Building is another one of the attractions that can eat up a significant portion of your day because of the wait, so if you find yourself with limited time and just want to see a great view, try Top of the Rock instead. That said, if you have enough room in your budget, I would highly recommend getting a "skip the line pass" for the Empire State Building and going to the top. The view is phenomenal and it is an iconic place to see. 

Thinking about what not to do is a tough ask in a city like New York! If you have more details on what you really like to do when you travel, I can get even more specific about what you can leave off the tourism list. 

Have a fantastic trip!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. World Trade Center Memorial (attraction)
  2. Wall Street (attraction)
  3. Top of the Rock (attraction)
  4. Brooklyn Bridge (attraction)
8 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Benjamin from New York City

Hi Bianca, completely avoid Times Square at all costs. It is essentially a large outdoor shopping mall , and not a single New Yorker has ever been there. best, Ben


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Times Square (metro area)
5 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Sarita from Windsor (Connecticut)

i would avoid long lines at the Empire State Building. it's not entirely worth it. if you want a great view - go to Top of the Rock instead.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Empire State Building (attraction)
  2. Top of the Rock (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Egle

Hahaha... Well, nobody who actually lives in New York likes Times Square. Everything else is pretty awesome.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Times Square (metro area)
4 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Marissa from New York City

Do not waste your time standing in line and actually going to see the Statue of Liberty. If you are here in June, instead take a boat trip around it. For 2 hours you get to sail for $40 and it comes with drinks.http://www.sail-nyc.com/schooner-adirondack-sails


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Kris from New York City

Central Park is really nice, but it's also just a park. You can spend hours and hours walking around it and getting lost in the middle of it, and if you're only here for a few days that time could be better spent enjoying multiple other unique and interesting city things NYC has to offer. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Central Park (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Douglas from Melbourne

Here are my nots for NYC.


Guggenheim was a snooze fest. I’d miss it.

•       Empire State building was a waste of time. After the security checks & noisy school groups it took 2 hours to get up and down as there was only on elevator working at the time. I would definitely choose Top of the Rock <http://www.topoftherocknyc.com/> for views of the city instead. There were a lot less people, it took only 20 minutes to get up, it was cheaper and you get a view of Empire State anyway! Choose wisely when deciding what time to go – dusk for instance was very busy.

•       Ellis Island needs to be pre-booked if you want to experience the climb up the statue of liberty and visit the island itself. I didn’t go but heard that the actual climb wasn’t that exciting however, you could turn up on the day (early) if you wanted. Again, security checks and long queues are likely if you don’t pre-book.

 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Top of the Rock (attraction)
  2. Ellis Island (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Valerie from Burnsville

Empire State Building...line is too long.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Empire State Building (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Thom from Philadelphia

Most appropriate answers have been provided.  Skip Empire State Building; Statue of Liberty is great but takes too much time; Empire State Building too expensive for the view.  I would like to provide a contrarian view on Times Square as a  NYC outsider...

This is a must see and experience!  I do not like the "in-thing" or large crowds, typically.  However, Times Square was lights, glitz and jumbotron before anywhere else in the world was jumbotron! It is a quintessentially American Piazza.  Come and see how our television age has warped our sense of place and makes us different than Europe.  It's a magnificent stage set befitting its place on Broadway. The energy is electric; the atmospheric lighting surreal, especially at night.  Combine that with the circus of life that includes street performers (contrary to one review--not seen everywhere and not always great) that are uniquely New York.  Add the double decker bus tour hawkers, the burgeoning rap stars handing out CD's, the pirate market watch sellers and the sickeningly sweet praline vendors, you have something weirdly animated--a human carnival.  Tourists go their--so what!  I have walked down Broadway and heard seven languages in ten minutes!  I could only have had that similar experience in Europe but I had it right here in the USA in NYC!

I have wondered into the cheesy and expensive stores--but the experience gives you a weird view of the things that American's (and tourists) value.  That's why the businesses pay the high rents to be on Times Square.

And finally, this is where I went to after 911 and the SUV Bomber on Times Square.  It is a symbol of our American consumerism that seems to repulsive when we see in Technicolor.  But it is also where I met the all American black, street vendors, Lance Horton and Duane Jackson, who noticed the smoking SUV bomb that almost blew up Time Square.  I bought "I Love NY" shirts from them for my whole family, got their autographs and had my picture taken with them!

Yes, Times Square is a perverse reflection of our consumer oriented society.  But I dare to say, it is filled with interesting, common people that I might like to sit down and have a beer with.  I'm glad it is in NYC, where everything is bigger and brighter and that way it's not spoiling my hometown.

Thom


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Empire State Building (attraction)
  2. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
  3. Times Square (metro area)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
coco from Brooklyn (New York)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Times Square (metro area)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
John

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Empire State Building (attraction)
  2. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)




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