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you're about to be disNYfied, resistance is futile
Times Square, which is around 42nd St / Broadway in midtown Manhattan, is both a must see for tourists AND a tourist trap at the same time...
So, you unpacked the bags at the hotel and head out to the city to be dazzled by some amazing Manhattan sights... Well, especially around dusk, Times Square is a good place to start... once.
You won't need to activate the flash of your camera, it's like friggin' daylight at midnight. The billboards and signs are very impressive for sure, but it's also a noisy, smelly and terribly crowded area. Some of the stores there, like Swatch wristwatches, are kind of fun to walk into because of the wild, whacky displays, but it soon gets tiresome.
There are lots of souvenir shops where you'll pay way too much for (often cheesy) gifts. You can do better by getting away from this place and shopping elsewhere - even if it's souvenirs from the "cheese variety" you're after for relatives/friends who dig that sort of stuff... I bought a pretty nice looking, detailed 15 inch Statue of Liberty figurine for my grandmother - she just loves things like that - just a block or five south of Times Square, and at $ 9.99 it actually cost LESS than the tiny, tacky, plastic looking ones they sell in T.S. The same goes for "restaurants" - a general rule is not to blow your money there because it's very unlikely you'll get good food and service at a decent price. There are always exceptions but this place generally is for tourists with lots of cash and little time. And don't even think about going into the electronics shops.
-Feel free to check out my "must see activities"-entry for Times Square, "The Rejuvenated Light Show District".
Unique Suggestions: Take the damn pictures so you can say "been there, done that" and then get outta there ;)
Fun Alternatives: It's not an alternative but the "virtual" version : webcams on Times Square :
Gawk at the Lights and Get the Hell Out
I admit it, I had my picture taken in Times Square. It is a great visual spectacle, like a twenty-story, six block long version of the Las Vegas Strip. It's worth a walk through. But it's worthless to spend any substantial time there. There's nothing except places to drop cash doing things that are a watered-down, Disneyfied version of New York. It was a flashier version of the stupidest place I had ever been in my life: Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.
A different kind of City of Lights
Times Square...there are some things you want to see (the lights, the funny people, the crowds), there are some thing you NEED to see (TKTS booth), and there are some things that should be avoided. I try to avoid Times Square unless I HAVE to go there. It's so crowded and no-one knows where they are going. It's loud, people are rude, it's flashy (can't that cause convulsions??), and it smells bad. But I guess everyone wants to see it at night. I suggest using it just as a passing through place on the way to see a show or on your way up or downtown.
Unique Suggestions: Be polite and assertive.
No Hotel in Times Square
Lots of people think they need to stay in Times Square to get the true NYC experience. Don't do it! It is soooo toursity and crowded. Your time is spent better elsewhere.
Unique Suggestions: Walk through once at night. The ligts are pretty neat--it's like broad daylight at midnight....
Fun Alternatives: Stay downtown--try the new Howard Johnson on Houston--affordable and a much cooler location.
Times square. Why???
I never understood what the draw is here. It's crowded, the restaurants are terrible, and there's nothing to see! But people come from all over the world, to see 42st, and Times Square. It's sad that for some people, that is what they think of when they think of New York. Please, if you come to our city, wander around the lower east side, or east village, or Harlem, or even the west village. there is so much more to see here than Times Square, with it's bad restaurants, and cheap t-shirt shops.
Fun Alternatives: Lower East side
upper west side
pretty much any where else
Absolutely ANYWHERE in Times Square...
By all means, take a stroll through, check out the lights, the scene and all of the action. Do NOT however buy anything here, especially do not stop for a meal. Very $$$, everything is way overpriced.
Times Square and 42nd street...
Times Square and 42nd street without a doubt!!! Not so much the cheezy tourist souvenieur shops, but all the mainstream stores around!!! ( Toys-R-Us, Disney, Target, etc) 42nd street has become one giant mainstream shopping center.
The fake rolex watch guys hocking there wares out of a briefcase are definitely ones you want to steer clear of!!! Every New Yorker know that for TRUE QUALITY KNOCKOFFS, go to CANAL STREET in CHINATOWN!!!!
Nowhere else can you find a larger selection of FAKE watches, perfume, scarves, purses, clothing, etc. Go there and shop til you drop!!!
One tourist trap that really irks me is the open air tour buses!!! These death traps on wheels need to be avoided like the plague!!!! There are plenty of other resources that one can use to gather information about touring Manhattan. Get a guide from Fodder's or visit the NYC tourism bureau.
Times Square-42nd Street:...
Times Square-42nd Street: Repulsive outdoor shopping mall. Awful since disneyfied.
Hard Rock Cafe-Harley Davidson Cafe-any other theme restaurant: why bother if you are in a city with some of the world's best food?
TIMES SQUARE: hands down! ...
TIMES SQUARE: hands down! Unless you plan on seeing a show, try to avoid this area. If you really must go, go. Most people are surprised that the square is quite small. You can get discounted theater tickets near Times Square, the line can wrap around. ROCKERFELLER CENTER: It's quite busy, mostly with tourists who are visiting the center and window-shopping along 5th Avenue. However, compared to Times Square there is more going on here.
Times Square. I think everyone...
Times Square. I think everyone should see this ONCE and then for the most part not feel compelled to return. Resturants, souviener stands and decor all seem aimed at providing you with the 'stereotypical' view of the city.
Even though a tourist...
Even though a tourist trap,Times Square is a must see in New York!! At one time(up until the early 90's)it was dirty,sleazy,and full of lowlifes.The only reason to go there(other than work)was for drugs,whores,phony ID as a teenager,or on New Years Eve.Very cleaned up now,it still is the 'Crossroads of the World' and worth a visit for the amazing neon lites.Just don't buy anything,as you can find it much cheaper downtown.Any New Yorker who says they miss the 'old' Times Square is full of it.That means they never even used to go there back in the day because they had no reason to,like some of us did. Hehe.And watching the Ball Drop on New Years Eve is something everyone should do at least once !!! I do it every year !
Times Square! If you're...
Times Square! If you're thinking of dining out here then forget it. It contains some of the filthiest 'tourist class' restaurants I've ever seen charging outrageous prices for food which isn't worth half as much. Pick up a Zagat restaurant guide because 'pot luck' will leave you disappointed or disgusted more often than not.
Particularly bad seem to be a number of popular chain franchises run by a company called Riese around Times Square. The dirt in these places was ground into the floor and the staff seemed indifferent to it all, even ignoring a beggar who was wandering around begging from table to table.
I think around $32 is quite expensive myself to go in and see some waxworks.
This is most of it here.
Unique Suggestions: Its very busy at night if you must go.
Go in the day time when its a lot quieter.
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OK, there is not really turist trap tip but rather must see activity, but walking through the crowd at Times Square and waiting to cross the street for three minutes is really frustrating.
You really have to see it. It's different in the daytime from what it is at night. You can't say you've been to New York without visiting Times Square.
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