New York City is full of tourist sites and some of the most popular are really just expensive tourist traps and not too interesting to see anyway. Instead of going to places like Ground Zero, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Soho or Times Square try these better alternatives:
1) Ground Zero or the World Trade Center site:
It’s an area of historical significance but the actual site is just a construction zone, not very interesting at all. Plus most of the people affected or living in Manhattan would never visit the site since gawking at the area of tragedy is a bit tacky. Tourist touts have also set up around the site and will try to sell you kitschy souvenirs like snow globe twin towers or twin tower t-shirts.
Alternative 9/11 experience:
Visit Trinity Church St. Paul’s Chapel which continues to display memorials to the event and lives lost. St. Paul’s Chapel is located directly across from the WTC and played a significant part of the recovery effort during the days/weeks/months/years following the attack.
Location: Broadway and Fulton St.
Hours: M-F 10 am – 6 pm, Sat. 10 am – 4 pm, Sun 7 am – 3 pm
2) Empire State Building:
It costs $20 for an adult ticket; which is basically just an elevator ride to see a view of Manhattan. You can even pay $45 for an express ticket.
Alternative Manhattan views:
Affina Shelburne hotel rooftop lounge for Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and East River views.
Location: E. 37th St and Lexington Ave
The Metropolitan Museum of Art rooftop terrace for Central Park and midtown views.
Location: Fifth Ave at E. 82nd St.
3) Statue of Liberty:
Ferry fee is $12 per person.
Alternative: ride the Staten Island ferry for free
You’ll see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from the decks of the ferry but won’t have to pay the fee to visit those two places. You’ll also see the skyline of lower Manhattan.
Location: Catch the SI ferry at Whitehall terminal (South Ferry subway stop).
Hours: Ferries leave every hour and the trip to Staten Island takes 25 minutes. To get back, just don’t get off the ferry at SI and you’ll return the same way.
4) Times Square:
Unless you’re going to see a Broadway play, there is no other reason to go to this area. It’s full of other tourists, shops and terrible chain restaurants. It’s also the area that you’ll most likely to get mugged in.
Alternative neon light experience: visit Koreatown at night
You’ll feel a sense of being somewhere completely different. Plus there are really great Korean BBQ places on W. 32nd St.
Location: from W. 31st – W. 36th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves.
Broadway from Houston down to around Spring St. is always crowded and the shops aren’t very interesting since a lot of chains have taken over.
Alternative Soho: visit NoLIta
North of Little Italy or NoLIta is only a few blocks east of Soho and much less crowded with more interesting shops as well as expensive boutiques and hipster restaurants.
Location: Mulberry, Mott and Elizabeth Streets below E. Houston to Kenmare Street.
Other NYC info:
How to get free tickets to NYC television talk shows click here
How to get to and from the airports JFK, Newark, LaGuardia click here
Info on MetroCards needed for the subway or bus click here