A visit to New York City is an exhilarating experience. The city that never sleeps offers endless opportunity to go, do, see, eat, and experience…almost anything! Of course, any place this wide-ranging is also bound to be overwhelming to the first-time visitor. While it’s impossible to see or do more than a fraction of what the city has to offer on anyone typical trip, there are a number of things one certainly shouldn’t do, in order to maximize the experience of the New York City visit. Here, in no particular order, are some of the mistakes unseasoned visitors to the city make.
As glamorous as the idea of hopping into a cab and heading to a destination, the reality can be very different. There is a likely no less efficient way to get around the city, especially at rush hour, when gridlock often clogs the city streets. Unless one likes the idea of inching along at the speed of molasses, all the while watching both the pedestrians pass by and the fare meter tick upwards more quickly, forget the taxi. Instead, opt for the more efficient and affordable expansive subway system, which can get one almost anywhere in the city.
Hitting the Popular Tourist Traps
In particular, Times Square stands out as one of the biggest wastes of time when visiting the city. Perhaps it merits a single visit, but afterward, should certainly be avoided like the plague, in the same way, inhabitants of the city do, as the crowds are massive, the panhandlers aplenty, and the eateries and shops overpriced. Other tourist traps to be avoided include the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building (expensive and crowded), and the overpriced Circle Line Tours, which charges passengers $30 for the pleasure of standing elbow to elbow with hordes of others, jockeying for position at the railing and trying to enjoy the view.
What To Do Instead?
Looking for that expansive view from the top of a skyscraper? Try the Top of the Rock, where the views are just as commanding as the Empire State, but the crowds are significantly smaller. For those with their hearts set on a cruise around lower Manhattan, the Staten Island Ferry runs free service back and forth from the tip of Manhattan to Staten Island, just 25 minutes across the harbor around the clock. The ride offers the same view past the Statue of Liberty and towards the Financial District as the Circle Line cruises. Finally, for the visitor dying to walk the iconic High Line, but not eager to shuffle along at a snail’s pace along with the zillions of other visitors on a typical weekend, try visiting early in the day during the week when crowds are significantly reduced.