Tips for Visiting NYC From A Native New Yorker

What?  Did you think I meant me?  I’ve only lived here since 2003.  I don’t know if I can even properly call myself a New Yorker yet, or if I have to wait until 2023.  Can any native New Yorkers help me wit’ that?

Anyway, as a relative noob, far be it from me to dispute a native like Johnny.  Still, I think I can soften some bits of his advice for you tourist jerks out there.

First of all, you know you’re going to be disappointed if you don’t do the Hollywood New York Experience.  So do it once, and mix some Real New York in there:


1) Times Square.  It’s pretty to look at.  It really is.  It’s also the most crowded place in a crowded city, and all it really amounts to is a bunch of overpriced restaurants and shops.  Go there as part of your trip to see a Broadway show.  Show up a couple hours early, eat at one of the overpriced restaurants, look around, visit the Times Square Information Center (aka the Times Square Museum), go to your show.  Boom.  You did Times Square.


2) The Statue of Liberty.  Go ahead, go there.  And while you’re down there, check out Battery Park, Wall Street, Governor’s Island – there’s actually a lot to do down there, just be aware that the streets roll up in the entire financial district at five o’clock.  New York City as a whole may never sleep, but some parts of it sure do.


3) The Empire State Building.  You’re going to be disappointed by this one.  No getting around that, sorry.  All it really is, is an office building with a nifty observation deck.  Get it out of the way as quickly as you can, and try not to build it up too much in your mind.

Speaking of Get Out Of The Way: Johnny is absolutely right about that.  You don’t necessarily have to stay in your hotel room between 4 and 6, but stay somewhere that you are out of New Yorkers’ way: a museum is perfect.  Maybe a movie.  Have an early dinner or late lunch.  Just stay out of the way.

And if you’re wondering where you should keep your wallet, if not your back left pocket: your left front pocket.  Or your right front pocket.  Itdoesn’tmatta.  Just your front pocket.  That makes it a little harder for the pickpockets to get at it.  I’ve never carried my wallet anywhere else since my teen years, I honestly wouldn’t be physically comfortable with it anywhere else, and I’ve never had trouble.

Bonus tip: another place to get a great pie is Grimaldi’s.  I say great pie instead of great slice, because there’s such a long wait at Grimaldi’s, especially the original location in Dumbo (that is, the Down Under the Manhattan Bridge area of Brooklyn), that it’s definitely a sit-down place.  Trust me, it’s worth it.  I won’t say it’s the greatest pizza I ever ate, but I can’t remember when I had better.

Edited to add: Johnny’s also absolutely right about the Staten Island Ferry.  It’s free, and it’s a good way to get a look at the harbor on the cheap (a quick look, as in about twenty minutes.  Remember that this thing’s primary purpose is people’s commute to work).  But don’t get off in Staten Island.  It’s an hour wait between ferries with nothing to do.


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