New York is a dream vacation spot for therefore many vacationers. And there are such a lot of issues to do within the metropolis, it’s overwhelming. Maybe that’s why so many vacationers find yourself staying firmly on the crushed path, afraid to enterprise out of their consolation zone within the slightest. They usually find yourself making the identical errors again and again.
As a New York resident, I’ve made it my mission to point out vacationers what NOT to do in New York. With a little bit of cautious planning, you possibly can keep away from the pitfalls to which so many vacationers fall sufferer.
Listed here are the most important errors that vacationers make in New York Metropolis — and the way not to make them.
Planning a particularly touristy, midtown-centric itinerary.
That is most likely the commonest mistake I see folks make. Many vacationers plan journeys to New York with an itinerary like this: “Go to the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, the Museum of Trendy Artwork and the Museum of Pure Historical past. Stroll round Central Park. Go to Instances Sq.. See a Broadway present or two. See the New York Public Library. See Rockefeller Middle. Eat at Katz’s Delicatessen. Go to the 9/11 Memorial. Go to the Statue of Liberty. Go to the highest of the Empire State Constructing. Store on Fifth Avenue. Stroll the Brooklyn Bridge.”
“What’s unsuitable with that?” you may surprise. “Aren’t these all good issues?”
They’re. They’re nice issues. However they’re additionally actions the place you’ll be surrounded by vacationers and the distributors who need their cash. That is the type of itinerary the place you permit New York saying, “I had enjoyable, however I don’t understand how anybody can dwell there.”
Properly, we don’t dwell there. These are areas that we solely move by means of briefly, filling out time with different locations.
Reality? I used to suppose I didn’t like New York. Then I noticed I used to be spending all my time in midtown. As soon as I acquired out of midtown, I fell in love with town.
What to do as an alternative: Add much less touristy actions into your itinerary. Plan a day with none sightseeing: as an alternative, select a neighborhood and stroll round with no plans. Duck into retailers once you really feel prefer it; sit down in a restaurant once you’re craving a espresso. There’s no proper or unsuitable method to do that.
Take a stroll alongside Riverside Park, ending with a stroll alongside Battery Park Metropolis and a sundown journey on the Staten Island Ferry. Trip the East River Ferry, having fun with the surroundings of three boroughs. Take the subway to a random cease, get off, and open Foursquare and see the place it tells you to go. Be part of Meetup.com and be part of a meetup group that shares an curiosity of yours. Purchase tickets to an affordable music or comedy efficiency that evening.
Visiting within the winter once you’re not used to our winters.
If you happen to’re from Minnesota and also you wish to come to New York within the winter, that’s fabulous — you realize what you’re stepping into! However I’ve identified guests from California, Texas, even Britain, who’re gobsmacked at simply how chilly it’s and find yourself having a a lot worse time than they deliberate.
New York winters are brutal and intense. They’re far colder than anyplace I’ve been in Europe, together with the higher reaches of Scotland, and it may be very windy too.
If you find yourself in New York and aren’t ready for the climate, go to Outdated Navy or H&M and cargo up on hats, gloves, thick socks, and scarves. If you happen to want a greater coat, Uniqlo has some good ones for first rate costs. If it snows, you’ll want snow boots, and each curb appears to be concealing a three-inch-deep sludge puddle. If you happen to’re up for that, nice. If not, winter will not be your time to go to.
What to do as an alternative: Both time your go to from April to October or bundle up and plan to spend a number of time indoors.
Assuming New Yorkers are impolite, and being impolite in return.
Some folks suppose that New Yorkers are impolite. That popularity is overblown. New Yorkers are form, pleasant, and welcoming folks, however we additionally worth effectivity — so to us, being well mannered means being temporary and unobtrusive.
If you happen to’re from the midwest or the south, it may appear pure to you to go as much as a stranger and say, “Excuse me, sir, however my household and I are visiting from Georgia, it’s our first time within the metropolis, and we had been seeking to go to Washington Sq. Park. We heard there are numerous attention-grabbing avenue performers down there! Anyway, we appear to be a bit misplaced. Might you please level us in the fitting route?”
To a New Yorker, that’s truly impolite. Essentially the most well mannered factor you can do is to not waste our restricted free time. Time is foreign money in New York; preserving it’s a technique of survival. If we have now time to spare, nevertheless, we open up and are glad to speak. When you perceive that, you’ll have higher interactions with New Yorkers.
What to do as an alternative: If you happen to’re misplaced or need assistance, don’t ask somebody who’s busy or distracted or carrying headphones. Be temporary and to the purpose: “Excuse me, are you aware the place Washington Sq. Park is?” If you happen to order a bagel and there’s a line behind you, don’t have a dialog with the cashier — pay and get out of the best way.
And for the love of God, don’t cease in the midst of the sidewalk. You’ll disrupt the entire circulation of the road and annoy everybody round you. If you must cease, transfer to the facet of the sidewalk first.
Don’t wait till you’re in entrance of the subway turnstile to start out trying to find your Metrocard. Let folks off the subway or bus earlier than you get on. If it rains, watch out to not hit folks along with your umbrella. Mainly, observe the locals’ lead, simply as you’d when visiting one other nation.
Utilizing Airbnb illegally.
Do you know that utilizing Airbnb is unlawful in most circumstances in New York Metropolis? You most likely don’t, as a result of Airbnb refuses to implement the regulation. They present all listings, together with the unlawful ones.
In New York Metropolis, it’s unlawful to hire a complete dwelling area for lower than 30 days; nevertheless, you possibly can hire a room in somebody’s shared dwelling area for so long as you’d like. If you happen to determine to take an opportunity and e-book an unlawful rental anyway, the police may shut it down earlier than or throughout your go to.
Why is that this a regulation? Airbnb contributes to the housing disaster in New York, because it does in cities across the globe. Owners can make more cash renting out entire residences to short-term company, however doing so means there are fewer inexpensive residences obtainable for New Yorkers to dwell in. New York’s lawmakers created this regulation to guard New York residents, even when it’s tough to implement.
What to do as an alternative: If you happen to don’t wish to get a shared place on Airbnb, or keep for greater than 30 days, book a hotel instead.
Not getting out of your culinary consolation zone.
Pizza, bagels. Bagels, pizza. And ice cream. Sure, we do these very nicely right here! However that shouldn’t be the extent of your culinary adventures in New York. So many vacationers think about a quickie journey to Chinatown for dumplings to be their solely foray into “ethnic” meals.
What to do as an alternative: Plan to attempt no less than one or two new sorts of meals in your go to. Meals that you’d by no means ordinarily attempt.
I do know it may be intimidating to go to an ethnic restaurant, feeling such as you’re going to make a idiot of your self. My suggestion? Do a meals tour! I had a good time on Jeffrey Tastes’s Queens Food Tours within the crazy-diverse neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Corona, which may embrace something from Ecuadorian to Bangladeshi to Filipino meals. And since it’s simply tastes, should you don’t like one thing, it’s no massive deal!
If you wish to develop your horizons in a restaurant setting, head to Koreatown for barbecue cooked at your desk, or the East Village for Georgian meals (so good), or Astoria in Queens for Cypriot meals (just like Greek, however with a Center Jap spin).
If you happen to’re already an adventurous eater, attempt one thing you’ve by no means had earlier than. Go to Washington Heights for Dominican meals, 116th Avenue in Harlem for Senegalese meals, or Brighton Seaside in Brooklyn for Uzbek-Korean meals (sure, it’s a factor)!
Assuming you possibly can rating a Hamilton ticket.
Hamilton is the most popular ticket on the town, and face worth tickets are very powerful to seek out. It’s not one thing you possibly can simply choose up. Except you’re prepared to pay by means of the nostril for a ticket on the secondary market (and it’ll value you a fairly penny), otherwise you beat the chances with the lottery, it’s unlikely to occur.
When I saw Hamilton in 2016, there was a vacationer holding up an indication to the road saying that she’d pay $200 for a ticket. What she didn’t know was that tickets for that efficiency had been going for minimal of 4 occasions that quantity on StubHub.
There is a daily lottery for $10 tickets, which you enter on-line, however actually all people and their mom enters every day, so I wouldn’t depend on it.
What to do as an alternative: Enter the Hamilton digital lottery each morning, however don’t get your hopes up. As a substitute, plan to see one other present. I personally suggest Waitress, Kinky Boots, and Avenue Q. For the bottom costs, use the TodayTix app (get $10 off your first order with the code AELAA). In any other case, Playbill has a great guide on how to get Hamilton tickets.
Not getting a vast Metrocard.
Utilizing the subway is the easiest way to get round New York Metropolis — it’s cheaper and quicker than many automobile routes. Taxis could also be iconic, however there’s no have to ever hail one; should you’re touring someplace with a number of heavy baggage, get an Uber or Lyft. In any other case, persist with the subway on a regular basis.
To trip the subway, you get a Metrocard and put cash on it. A single trip prices $2.75, however you may as well purchase limitless 7-day passes for $32 and limitless 30-day passes for $121. You additionally pay a further $1 for a brand new MetroCard.
So, primarily, should you’re taking 12 or extra subway rides inside per week, get a vast 7-day move; should you’re taking 45 or extra subway rides inside a month, get a vast 30-day move.
Why do I say this? As a result of it could possibly prevent cash, but in addition as a result of it could possibly additionally have an effect on you psychologically! After I don’t have a vast and I wish to go someplace, I believe to myself, “Do I actually wish to spend the additional cash?” Despite the fact that it’s solely $2.75 and I’d spend greater than that for a espresso in a heartbeat! However when I’ve a vast, I be happy. I by no means second-guess my choice to leap on the subway — I simply go. And I do extra cool issues due to it.
What to do as an alternative: Add up nevertheless many rides you suppose you’ll take in your journey, and if it’s near 12 inside per week, get a vast move.
Getting museumed out.
New York is residence to a number of the finest museums on this planet. You need to attempt to see no less than one or two in your go to. Nevertheless, many vacationers overdo it. They see that the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork is on one facet of Central Park and the Museum of Pure Historical past is on the opposite, so why not do one within the morning and one within the afternoon?
The reality? Museum fatigue is a factor. Museums are wealthy and stimulating, and so they will also be crowded and exhausting, particularly should you go to throughout a busy time of yr just like the Christmas season. And the Met specifically is big — you can spend a number of days there with out seeing all the things. If you happen to overdo it on museums, you may find yourself making your self depressing when you need to be having fun with it.
What to do as an alternative: Plan no multiple main museum outing per day, and stability your museum time with out of doors actions. Additionally, add some smaller, quicker-to-visit area of interest museums into your itinerary, just like the Transit Museum, the Museum of the Metropolis of New York, and the Museum of the Shifting Picture.
By no means leaving Manhattan.
Manhattan is just one small a part of a pulsating, thriving metropolis. So it’s a disgrace that so many vacationers don’t even depart the island.
The opposite boroughs are stuffed with enjoyable issues to do, however they’re far much less tourist-driven than Manhattan. Right here’s an opportunity to see one other facet of town whereas additionally attending to expertise what it’s prefer to dwell right here. And a bonus: most components of the opposite boroughs are typically cheaper than Manhattan.
What to do as an alternative: Make an effort to go to no less than two of the outer boroughs — or perhaps even all 5! Listed here are a few of my suggestions:
For the Bronx: Head to Arthur Ave., heart of the Bronx’s Little Italy, for Italian meals (the bocconcini mozzarella balls at Casa della Mozzarella are insane); stroll by means of the New York Botanical Backyard; catch a recreation at Yankee Stadium; should you’re there within the hotter months, try the seaside neighborhood at Metropolis Island.
For Queens: Discover the craft breweries in Lengthy Island Metropolis and benefit from the Manhattan views from Gantry Plaza State Park; enterprise out to Flushing, residence to the biggest Chinatown in New York Metropolis; take an eclectic meals tour of Jackson Heights with Jeff Tastes; go to the Museum of the Shifting Picture in Astoria.
For Brooklyn: Benefit from the views of town from Brooklyn Bridge Park and the close by Brooklyn Heights Promenade; head to the Brooklyn Flea market or the Smorgasburg meals truthful on the weekends; take a stroll or bike trip by means of Prospect Park; go on a avenue meals and tradition tour of wacky Bushwick.
For Staten Island: Benefit from the free ferry trip over and again (I occur to take pleasure in it most with a beer — it’s authorized and so they promote beer and wine within the terminals!); go to the comfy Flagship Brewery; attempt one in every of many Sri Lankan eating places; take pleasure in a fun-filled minor league baseball at a Staten Island Yankees recreation.
Pondering that New York is harmful.
New York is likely one of the most secure massive cities on this planet. It’s virtually a theme park. For essentially the most half, should you use frequent sense, keep conscious of what’s round you, and keep watch over your belongings, you gained’t have any points. And also you gained’t by accident wander right into a gang battle — essentially the most harmful locations in New York are locations the place no vacationers would ever find yourself anyway.
The town was once a lot worse off within the 70s, 80s, even the 90s, however that isn’t the case in the present day. Instances Sq. was once identified for medicine and ninja stars; in the present day it’s the place households go to take selfies with Elmo and Iron Man.
And one different factor — that goes for New York’s communities of coloration as nicely.
I dwell in Harlem. When folks from outdoors New York study that, they often say, “Is that secure?”
YES. It’s EXTREMELY SAFE. I hang around on my stoop and chat with my neighbors. We’ve a little bit neighborhood backyard that places on live shows and performances. Hundreds of costumed youngsters run up and down Broadway on Halloween. My neighborhood is equal components bachata and R&B, avenue tamales and braised oxtails. And my neighbors care a lot about preserving our neighborhood an exquisite place to dwell.
Please don’t conflate communities of coloration with harmful no-go zones. Each time you say, “However is it secure?” you’re insulting the great individuals who dwell there.
If you happen to suppose Harlem sounds scary, do the locals a favor and keep away.
BUT. If you’re genuinely curious to go to Harlem, and are coming with an open thoughts, and gained’t maintain onto your purse the entire time, I wager you’ll have a good time.
Get your toes moist with a meals and tradition tour with Taste Harlem. See a present on the Apollo Theater. Dine in fashion at Red Rooster or dive into soul meals at Melba’s. Gawk on the structure on Astor Row or the Hamilton Heights Historic District. Take heed to dwell West African jazz at Shrine, then dance all evening lengthy. Browse African wares on the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market or assist neighborhood designers on the Sugar Hill Market. Sip robust ginger tea on the Serengeti Teas and Spices. Go to the Hamilton Grange, Alexander Hamilton’s uptown residence. Get haute disco cocktails at the Honeywell or slam again $three beers at At the Wallace.
Important Data: I like to recommend staying in a resort in New York Metropolis, as Airbnb is unlawful in some circumstances and it worsens the housing disaster for all New Yorkers. Check out New York hotels here. My favourite resort the place I’ve stayed in New York is the Ace Hotel — SUCH a cool place with wine on faucet and an superior foyer, in an ideal Flatiron location!
If you happen to’re a Redditor planning a go to to New York, I extremely suggest the AskNYC subreddit. Make sure to learn the sidebar earlier than asking a query.
Journey insurance coverage is significant for journeys to New York — particularly should you’re not an American and you must see a health care provider. Whether or not you get appendicitis and have to be hospitalized, or your telephone will get stolen, or an harm means you must cancel all or a part of your journey, journey insurance coverage will aid you in your time of want. I use and recommend World Nomads as travel insurance for trips to New York.