Times Square, New York City
This is such a huge tourist trap. This is one of those things that gets huge tv coverage but I honestly would never participate in. I have been lucky enough to see it and experience it without being in it.
They cattle pen you in. Its only half way across the street. And you can NOT leave once you're there. So you are standing there with no food drinks or packs and no bathroom for around 9 hours.
...you don't buy anything except 10 postcards for a buck
...you have breakfast at McD and sit upstairs to watch the traffic
...you like watching the different commercials on the billboards
...you like walking in a huge crowd
...you want to ride the ferriswheel at toys'r'us
...you like standing in line for a theater ticket for 5 hours
Unique Suggestions: enjoy the crowd, enjoy the feeling to be on the hottest spot on earth, just watch your purse and/or your handbag, but don't let anybody keep you away from Times Square!
Fun Alternatives: My favorite spot in NYC is Union Square, there is a greenmarket 3 times a week, and my favorite bar, Pete's Tavern, is right around the corner.
If you like to take pics, there is a statue of Washington with the ESB in the background!
Ok, it is one of the most famous places in the world but I can`t help it, I din not like it at all.
Undeniably attracting with all the lights and the advertisements around that make you dizzy of excitement, but I would not dare to take a walk again. All that going around from one side of the pavement to the other like crashed sheep, shops do not sell anything interesting...you have to fight to try to walk around. So relieved when I got out of it!
All the souvenir shops in Times Square.
Fun Alternatives: First inclination for most tourists is to get into Times Square and buy souvenirs at the first shop you come to. But fight the urge. Head north or south of the main Times Square area. The ones in the square itself are usually a pretty big rip off. The ones on the outskirts need to stay a bit more competitive and so will have lower prices for the same merchandise.
I don't understand why tourists continually come to New York, eat at some stupid chain restaurant like Applebees in Times Square, and then come home saying, "New York is so expensive!" Yeah, it's expensive... if you eat at Applebees in Times Square. Come on! Why would you go to one of the most diverse cities on the PLANET and eat the same crap you eat at home? New York actually has the best cheap food in the world, especially ethnic restaurants and pizza parlors.
Unique Suggestions: Shop around. If you are starving in Times Square, there are a few affordable options. For example, street vendors. Those little bags of roasted peanuts are $2 and DELICIOUS. Or, walk a few blocks west and check out some of the lunch places that serve the offices in that area.
Fun Alternatives: Some better places to eat than Times Square:
-Little Italy (Mulberry Street)
-Chinatown (Elizabeth Street)
-Indian on 6th Street
-Sushi on West 4th Street
Sorry, most of these are downtown, but you are probably staying downtown anyway, right?
Never, never buy any electronics from any store in Times square and ESPECIALLY the one located 1550 BROADWAY. They charged my cousin $1,368 and NEVER gave him anything in return despite their denials that they hadn't charged him anything. This all happened as he was buying what he thought was a 6.0 Mpixel camera, a game and a a battery. When he got to his hotel he called AMEX and found out about the extra charge as well as the fact that the camera was a mere 2.1 Mpixel. We went back and at first they claimed they only wanted to sepak to my cousin as he was the signee on the credit card bill (divide and conquer), then they insulted me, then 3 people surrounded me and physicall thereatened me. I'm from NYC so I knew they would never dare starting a physical confrontation because of the potential legal ramifications. We held our ground and we finall y won.
Unique Suggestions: Check your prices on shopping.com or any other bot search engine and bragian hard, or simply walk out of the store.
Fun Alternatives: Buy from J&R if you need to buy anything right away or any other main outlets.
It's not just in Times Square, as these people are everywhere, but don't buy the pirated DVD's. These DVD's are usually taken with a camcorder inside the theatre and are of the lowest possible quality. If you're lucky, you might even catch a someone in the theatre stand up in the middle of the movie on his way to the restroom (completely obstructing the video camera). Just don't do it.
Unique Suggestions: Just say no thanks and keep walking.
This whole area is one big tourist trap...i hate times square because of all the people walking around looking really lost. If you dont want to pay double on everything then stay away! good place to go and check out if you have never been to the city, but I would not get a hotel here, would not go out to eat except on 45th street.
Unique Suggestions: Stay out of this place! It is too expensive for you people going to travel around!!
Avoid Times Square like the plague.
Unique Suggestions: If you must go to Times Square, at LEAST check out the Howard Johnson diner and/or Ruby Foo's (Best Sushi Ever. Period.) Keep away from all other restaurants in that area. They are RIDICULOUSLY over-priced and the food is terrible! You're better off heading downtown for an excellent and more reasonably priced cuisine.
Fun Alternatives: SoHo, TriBeCa, Alphabet City, Lower East Side, the Village, Greenwich, Chinatown, and Little Italy. Must, must, MUST visit at some point.
As great a place as Times Square is, I wouldn't recommend buying anything from the shops or stalls around the area, as prices can be very high, simply because most people in Times Squares are tourists and so the stores try to profit from this.
Fun Alternatives: You should still definitely visit Times Square of course, but if you want to buy things, go to smaller downtown areas where the prices are lower.
From 34th street to 59th Street ... and from 7th Avenue to the Lexington Avenue ... I generally avoid buying anything. Food, clothing, things generally... are more expensive in Midtown.
Unique Suggestions: If you must stay in Midtown because of group bookings or theatre packages, try to venture into the surrounding neighborhoods to eat. You will find much better food ... a wider range of cuisines and prices ... and a less packaged experience of the city.
Fun Alternatives: Chelsea
Upper West Side
When you think of New York City how do u describe it? Well...all those places are tourist traps. Probably the biggest one and the one i hate most of all is Times Square! UGH If you've never been to NYC then go of course!! But why would anyone EVER want to return?!?! No New Yorker likes to go to Times Square and at all costs we try to avoid it. Its so overly crowded and since everyone there is from a different part of the world they're all moving REALLY slow, looking up at all the bright lights (which at night its pretty amazing) and not thinking about the people around them as they walk REALLY slow. SO by the end of the day your pushing through all the people swearing to yourself and getting irritated. But then again...every one must go to Times Square at least once in their lives! The lights at night are simply amazing!!!!
Unique Suggestions: DON'T go to the Hard Rock Cafe....go to St Marx Street!!! They have the most "interesting" shops and the book store there is one of my favorites in the City. They have the most off beat things and I took my friend from Norway to a little video store where they have movies that aren't mainstream and the store is in such a secretive place that he thought i was taking him to an underground strip club. lol yea he wishes! But if you like strip clubs...lol jk jk
Fun Alternatives: Ground Zero isn't all that fascinating really. It doesn't even look like two massive building were standing there and its taped off so you can't even see anything worth while. The Statue of Liberty is really cool i think. Just the ferry ride over i enjoy and it's something everyone will like. Not to mention the island it's standing on is well landscaped with trees and flowers and the liking of that. Ellis Island is cool, but haughtly and a little depressing. It feels more like a prison then an anything but it's a very cool day trip. I suppose it's like the Tower of London but in New York and without all the beheadings!
Be VERY careful in Times Square after dark. That's when all the tourists come out.... and don't the pickpockets just know it. That's not to mention all the 'discount' electrical stores and cheap T-shirt joints (if you want a big neon sign screaming 'I'm a tourist - please mug me' wear one of the I ¢¾ New York t-shirts.) Don't touch the ticket touts. Changes are you won't get into the gig and even if you do, you'll find yourself in the cheap seats.
The ticket booth on the north side of Times Square is generally good value, although tickets for the top shows are scarce and they tend to only have a brace of the top priced tickets.
There ae a couple of cinemas on 42nd Street just past Madame Tousards, Leows and the AMC Empire where you can get in for $10. Life saver when your running short of cash.
Unique Suggestions: Take as little cold hard cash into Times Square as possible. Though the police will be very sympathetic if you suddenly find your wallet / purse missing, even they have to admit there is little that they can do - they have a dozen such calls for help every night.
If you're going to Times Square at night, go, get your photos, get out again. Even better if you're going to a Broadway show, when you step out, take your photos then jump into a cab.
If you find that you do need cash and all that you have are travellers checks. Go into the McDonalds opposite the cut price ticket booth and buy a 70cent hamburger with a $50 check..... not that I'm suggesting you actually have to eat the burger..... but most other places around Times Square will insist on you buying goods up to pretty much the whole value of the check.
Fun Alternatives: If you're going to NYC for the first time, then you'll be going to Times Square at least once. There's no getting away from it.
Keep your wits about you and make sure that it's only good memories you take away with you.
I am not a native New Yorker. I live here now, but you apparently don't become a New Yorker until you live here for like 3 or 4 years. So I think that I can relate quite well to the visitor/tourist mentality in New York - and I have to say, I can't grasp why you'd want to stay in Times Square, eat in Times Square, or do anything for a prolonged period in Times Square. It's thoroughly unpleasant during the day. It's dirty, the stores are chock full of cheap tourist ripoff stuff, and you don't even get a really good view of what Times Square does have to offer. If I were visiting New York, I would stay on Central Park South, in the West Village or Chelsea, or on the Upper West Side. I'm telling you, these areas are so much more pleasant, reflect the true character of New York, and are all well-connected via subway to get you anywhere you want to go.
Unique Suggestions: I DO think that Times Square should be seen at night, when the signs are lit up. It's a one of a kind experience. That's why I say above that TS should be seen for an hour. Ogle the lights, walk around a little bit, then leave.
Fun Alternatives: For eye candy that is different from TS but equally cool, check out the very trendy new meatpacking district, which is teeming with expensive restaurants almost impossible to get into, funky galleries, boutique designers, and a new funky hotel, Hotel Gansevoort. It's just fun to walk around there, I think - but not in stilletto heels, as it's all cobblestoned.
A big tip: Pastis, the very popular French bistro in the Meatpacking district is relatively easy to get into for a 10pm dessert.
Times Square is tourist hell. It is loaded with bright lights - mostly from the flash of cameras, overpriced restaurants with below-average food like ESPN Zone, street vendors and souvenir shops selling garbage, and way too many people.
Unique Suggestions: See it once just for the experience, then leave quickly.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to see the uniqueness of New York, go to another neighborhood like the Upper West (or East) Side, Greenwich Village, or Soho.