Seriously. If you are interested in seeing where the Joker from Batman might live, it would be here. Spend two hours on the subway to find yourself in the creepiest amusement park in America.
Unique Suggestions: Check out Totonno's, the oldest brick oven pizza parlor in America. This is the only place I know that makes pizza like in Rome. They are famous for thin crust pizzas with the cheese UNDER the crust, to keep the crust super crispy. Very good pizza, and very inexpensive.
`We all want to see a Harlem church service- with a gospel choir and a passionate preacher. So the guide books recommend one, on about 138th st.
So we went.
When the usher told us the main door ws for locals, and the tourist Q was around the corner I wasn't impressed. I appreciate why it is so, it would be unfair to fill the church with tourists at the expense of the locals (it was a long Q) but it is not very Christian. "Suffer Little Children who come onto me" Eh No, not if they aren't from round here.
But every cloud has a silver lining.
Unique Suggestions: The Q went all the way to 137th st (don't you love the street names!) And the church on 137th st welcomed everyone with open arms, and merely asked that if you intended to leave during the service they would prefer if you sat upstairs. Which is fair enough.
The service was excellent. Each successive preacher built up to a crescendo, the final preacher was brilliant, regardless of your religous persuasion (if any).
Most of the people in the upstairs gallery stayed to the end, you didn't want to leave.
Fun Alternatives: So go to the church on 138th st if you get up early and make the early service, but go to 137th st if you go at 11:30.
MetroCards can be bought on machines in every subwaystation. Besides this way of buying MetroCards there are also vendors of these cards. Usually these cards work fine and are not overpriced. BUT it is illegal to buy cards this way.
In many cases these tickets come from the city authorities who distribute them to poor people who need transportation to the hospital. Nontheless many people find the value of this card more interesting, and so there is a black market in such cards.
Fun Alternatives: Buy a ticket at a Machine or at the counter.
It is an absolute nightmare to find a cheap parking place!! We paid $20 for like, 2 hours, even less than that infact!! But it had to be done as I was travelling with very young children, and relatively elderly people, and also a person with a foot injury.
This particular parking was near Pier 17 shopping mall.
Unique Suggestions: My advice is to look around for a remotely decently priced parking garage!!
Fun Alternatives: If you are not travelling with children, elderly or injured people, take the subway system to get around!!
Not only do you save so much money on the actual, you get to see a New York attraction and dont have to pay at toll stations!!
If you walk through Chinatown there are people selling things all along the side walks. In fact, I believe that the sidewalks were designed extra-wide for this. Anyway, this same idea is copied all along the sidewalks in Times Square. People are selling framed pictures of the city. You see a lot of this at ground zero, too. The pictures are pretty pricey and the ones you take yourself, though might not be as clear or "artistic" will mean a LOT more to you because you will be able to better capture the feeling you had the the site. It will truly be your picture.
Unique Suggestions: If you are going to buy one of these pictures make sure it is some kind of unique view. Keep in mind that you can ALWAYS haggle with the vendors as well!!
Don’t do it. The reality is if someone is asking for money, they do NEED the money. But it is not your job to do that. If you are a tourist, please be aware that the person you are giving money to is a New Yorker. They KNOW that you are a tourist. Some people will try to take advantage of you. After you are abused and humiliated in some manner, you will then end up on the local news. You will complain how much you hate New York and then we laugh at you for being a dumbass. It is a lose lose situation.
So... Be savvy and don't give away your hard earned money to someone because you feel sorry for them. Give your money to someone who is working hard for a living.
Yes... I know it sounds cold and uncaring. We have posters in our subways. “If you want to give money away, then give to a charity.” If you really want to give money away when you get here, you can give it to me.
Fun Alternatives: Give money to a charity.
The whole idea of a small church transformed into a nightclub is what attracts everybody ...
But once you go inside, in general is just like any regular crazy very urban decadent big city disco, which for me resumes in just not worthy. Cover charge of about 25 bucks to see weird people behaving strangely.
The church has many different rooms, with very different kinds of music and people... A friend and I got lost inside those rooms and ended up inside the VIP rooms...VERY CRAZY STUFF... people whipping themselves, all "Marylin Manson - like" bars, just too much for me hehehe.
At the end, the exit is through the old graveyard of the church.
It was a great story to tell though.
Unique Suggestions: Just have a beer, watch the people and the different rooms.
Fun Alternatives: Just try any of the other zillion clubs in NYC.
Beware, many roguey restaurants in Little Italy. The bill comes in the form of a sheet of memo pad roughly scribbled with numbers, and you are asked to write how much you want to tip. And then the waiters come back with a proper bill this time with the total amount already including your tip, yet it has a blank space for you to write your tip, DO NOT TIP anymore beyond this point!!!
Unique Suggestions: I heard that this usually happens with non-locals. Though not common in Manhattan area, it still happens now and then but typically common in Little Italy so be wary!
not only in NYC , I feel there are too many $$$ trap in USA , even I have already stay in USA over 2 month I still fall into trap . $$$ trap in Peru only cheat tourist , $$$ trap in USA cheat every customer . I usually pay 5~10 USD when shopping in supermarket each time , and I lost 1~2 USD each time when I fall into trap : sometimes the special price is only for "member" but sometimes not , so hard to tell .
Unique Suggestions: ask the actual price before you pay .
Fun Alternatives: leave USA as soon as possible.
Skip 42nd Street unless you're a big fan of American shopping malls. All the sordid, x-rated charm of the neighborhood was obliterated by former Mayor Guilani who turned this into a Disneyfied horror. Chain restaurants and chain stores abound. How could anyone visit NYC and waste their time here when there are so many other great places to visit and fantastic places to eat. It's a commercialized wasteland though it appeals to many for some unknown reason.
Unique Suggestions: Hit a Broadway show at least. Lion King, Rent, Wicked, Little Shop of Horrors plus many more shows are well worth the time. The shows are expensive though so be prepared to spend if you don't feel like sitting in nosebleed seats.
Fun Alternatives: Check out off-broadway and off-off broadway shows. They can be found in Time Out or the Village Voice (which is free). These shows are usually very creative and much, much less money than a Broadway show. Some start off as off-Broadway and end up hitting the big time like Rent did.
Yes it's cheesy, but all the girls secretly want to do the horse and carriage ride around Central Park!
It was a bitterly cold morning, and we got there at 10am which is when they start arriving. I think it was $35 "plus tip" as the foreign gentlemen so politely put ;-) We hopped in and were covered by the blanket and off we went.
You could say we got a really good deal - the horse leading our carriage was one of the oldest I've ever seen, and so our trip lasted about 15 mins longer than most others because the poor thing was so slow!
Great memory though, and recommended if you want to get into your Mrs good books!
THE STORY: Okay, so you're in a real rush to get from point A to point B and anxious to get out the door of your yellow cab. The car stops, the cabbie turns around and tells you the total. You hand him a $20 bill over the divider that cabs have between the front and back seat. He takes the bill from your hand, looks at it, and hands it back saying, "this bill actually doesn't appear valid. It appears fake. Can you please give me another payment?"
THE CON: The cabbie actually has a collection of fake $20's in his shirt pocket. When he takes the real $20 from you, he hides it and gives you back a fake $20 he pulled from his shirt pocket. Since the barrier between the front and back seats is large, he uses that to conceal his devious actions.
THE SOLUTION: watch the progression of money from your hand to his hand and watch his hands. Really, you can pay after you get out of the cab and stand next to his window too. Just be careful.
It's not unusual to be asked to buy a subway ride from a stranger for $1.00 instead of paying the normal $2.00 fare. Not only is this illegal, it only supports pandering at subway entrances. Usually, the stranger will ask you to give a dollar and they will use one of their own subway cards to swipe you past the entrance. Just avoid them altogether.
Fun Alternatives: If you are in New York for a week, the best option is to buy an unlimited subway card for $20.00. You'll get unlimeted access to subway and buses and you can jump on/off at your own pace without worrying about your card running out of funds.
Manhattan is by definition, a consumer and tourist trap. Come here to learn about the culture and how it works. If you do that, it will be money well spent and a wonderful addition to your private education.
That said, there are some advantages when you shop in the USA. First of all, you can return almost everything if you want. Ask about their return policy BEFORE you buy so you know the rules. For big items, call a supplier in a tax free state, like New Hampshire or Oregon and then ask for free shipping as well. You can say the sales tax which is 8 1/4 % in Manhattan. This is a point to consider as there is no "VAT" refund system in the USA.
Yeah, you think you're getting a bargain, and the shop is having a "Closing Down " sale, but in reality, the shop is still there when you visit again in 2 years. My advice...shop where the locals do, they won't get stung!
This is a Hotel /Bed and Breakfast. It is a oasis in the middle of Times Square. It is quiet inside...more
If your pocketbook can afford it, the Sherry-Netherland is one of New York's poshest luxury hotels....more
The Library is a good little hotel but the frustration is it could be a great hotel. Great concept...more