Hi, I’m Jimmy T. You may remember me from such articles as “How to Hold Your Load” and “Let’s Make Every Girl On Earth Hate Me." Over the next few weeks, I’ll be diving into all things New York City, from what neighborhoods have the hottest chicks, to when it’s appropriate to give money to a homeless person, and everything in between. Quick background on myself: I’m a 26-year-old Connecticut transplant who moved to NYC less than two years ago solely to chase some strange, so there’s nobody in the world more qualified to do this. I’m essentially a prettier Carrie Bradshaw.
Today’s topic: Visiting NYC.
I went through enough schoolin’ to know that a lot of you reading this don’t actually live in NYC. There are at least 30 other cities in America with people and Internet access and everything. So I thought it’d be a good idea to break down some of the best and worst things to do if you’re a 20-something year-old guy or girl visiting the big city.
Perhaps you’re in town visiting a friend who goes to NYU. Maybe you’re from Ohio and your girlfriend nagged you to “do something exciting”. Maybe you just got on the wrong plane while the rest of your family went to Florida for Christmas. In any event, New York City is one of the coolest places in the world for any young person to visit. Let’s look at some of the best and worst traditionally touristy things you can do while you’re here..
Don’t Go – Empire State Building
Along with the Freedom Tower and the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building is probably the most famous building in all of Manhattan. And why shouldn’t it be – it provides incredible views from its observation deck, it turns pretty colors at night, it’s tall as fuck. So what’s not to like?
Line. Fucking. City. Every one and their foreign uncle knows about the ESB and makes it a focal point of their trip while they’re here. This creates a log jam of approximately 62 million people waiting to get to the top and a consequent multi-hour wait. The only way to beat this is to go late at night (it’s open til 2 a.m.), but by then you’re, hopefully, already enjoying the NYC nightlife.
Go – Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock is the Empire State Building’s just-as-hot, less slutty cousin. For the same price ($27) as the ESB, you can head to Rockefeller Center and get the same views in about two hours less time. It’s about a 20-minute wait to get up and similar to get back down, and it provides a ridiculous view of Central Park and an almost eye-level view of the Empire State Building.
Don’t Go – Brooklyn Bridge
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is cool until you realize that all you’re doing is walking on a fucking bridge. On top of that, you’re dodging joggers and bikers in a 15-foot wide space like a game of Hipster Frogger. The only cool thing about the Brooklyn Bridge is reading the graffiti and getting a slice of pizza on the other side.
Go – Shake Shack
I get that other places have food too, but just like you have to go to In-N-Out Burger if you’re in Cali, you have to try Shake Shack if you come to New York. There are I think five (?) locations now around NYC, so chances are you’ll never be too far from one. The lines can be a little absurd at times, so I recommend either the one on 86th and Lexington or the one in Battery Park City, as those two are the least trafficked locations. Get a double shack burger, shack fries, and a black and white shake, then work out seven hours a day for the next month and it’ll be like it never happened.
Don’t Go – Grand Central
Grand Central holds a special place in my heart because I commuted for years before making the move, but at the end of the day, it’s just a building. There’s nothing to do there (although they did just open a Shake Shack in) other than take pictures, so I guess it’s OK if you’re in to that sort of thing. The best things I’ve ever seen in Grand Central are the teen bowling tournament and the squash tournament they hold there every year. Yeah. That happens.
Go – Comedy Shows
Unless you live in Los Angeles, I doubt the comedy scene where you live delivers like it does in NYC. There are a handful of rooms in NYC that feature the best comedians on Earth every single night, and rarely are the prices outrageous unless you go see someone at MSG or the Beacon or something like that. Sometimes super-famous comics will make surprise last-minute appearances to work on their material. My best recommendation would be going to the Comedy Cellar, where they have a lineup of 4-5 people per night. It’s intimate, there are hilarious comics, and the price is reasonable.
Don’t Go – Central Park
If you’re a dude visiting with your girlfriend, she’ll fucking cut you if you don’t take her to see the Boathouse, so go ahead and ignore this. For the rest of you, if you’re visiting from a place that has grass, trees, and people, Central Park probably isn’t going to blow you away. I think it’s cooler for the people that actually live here because it’s a nice alternative to walking on the piss-covered sidewalks of the inner city, but for someone who’s used to open spaces and breathable air, it’s not that special.
Go – McSorley’s Ale House
McSorley’s is one of the oldest bars in the entire city and you’ve probably seen their beer in liquor stores before:
It’s admittedly pretty shitty on the inside, but isn’t every 140-yr-old? Go to McSorley's with 5-6 people and get assfaced for five hours. The service is usually pretty good and the choices are simple – light or dark McSorley’s Ale. I go with the light because I’m a pussy and dark beer makes my shits unfathomable, but both are solid choices. It’s pretty easy to run up a big tab here, but it’s totally worth it.
DON’T EVER FUCKING GO – Times Square
Spike’s in hell. Spike’s in tourist hell. Do you like getting trampled by annoying Swedish families? Do enjoy being molested by 60-year-old men in Mickey Mouse costumes? Do you like when people try to hand you Jesus flyers and their hot new mixtapes? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Times Square is just the place for you! Literally, the only good thing about Times Square is that the Foot Locker there has every shoe on the planet, but every time I look down at my limited edition Air Max 95’s, I’m reminded of the horror I went through to get them. Sometimes I just want to toss them in the ocean like the old lady in Titanic. The memories are all too painful.
Go – Sporting Events
New York City is home to eight professional sports teams (the Yankees, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Islanders, Rangers, Red Bulls), and 9 if you count the Mets. Not only that, it’s the annual home to one of the coolest sporting events there is, the US Open. Make it a point to check out at least one game of some kind while you’re here. The best overall experience, when you consider price, is probably a Mets game because they have the coolest stadium of the 9 teams—and their tickets cost, like, 8 cents once the team is out of the playoff race in July. The Barclays Center is kind of cool too, but Nets tickets aren’t cheap, especially this year.
Don’t sleep on Red Bulls games either, they’re cheap and soccer stadiums are fun as fuck.
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