New York: Where NOT to go

New York Insider
Ice skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park (Photo: Corey Wise / Lonely Planet Images)
"A lot of guides sing the praises of the Staten Island Ferry over the rather pricey harbour cruises. Now I love the ferry, but this free ride does not pay off for the first-time visitor as much as taking a Circle Line, New York Water Taxi or NY Waterway tour."
New York Insider

Enjoy the view: Empire State Building vs Top of the Rock

The Empire State Building is the quintessential skyscraper, and when I am looking for a New York view it does not look complete without this icon. That is why I take my guests to Top of the Rock, in Rockefeller Center. Although its roof deck is not as high, the view of the Empire State Building and Downtown to the south, and Central Park to the north, is simply divine.

Sweet treats: Serendipity vs City Bakery

Serendipity 3 may have frozen hot chocolate, but if you're interested in trying the best version of the hot stuff, head to City Bakery. In February this cafeteria-style eatery has a different hot chocolate flavour every day, but anytime you go you can enjoy the original and a homemade marshmallow. The sleek modernity of City Bakery is more appealing than the cloying menu and decor of Serendipity unless you are under the age of 10.

Boat tour: Staten Island Ferry vs Circle Line, New York Water Taxi and NY Waterway

A lot of guides sing the praises of the Staten Island Ferry over the rather pricey harbour cruises. Now I love the ferry, but this free ride does not pay off for the first-time visitor as much as taking a Circle Line, New York Water Taxi or NY Waterway tour.

The SI ferry gives you great views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, but to see the full effect of Midtown you need to pay up. Circle Line offers the longest time on the water, and NY Waterway has interesting theme tours. Water Taxi's hop-on/hop-off option, including a stop at the company's own beach Queens, is a nice way to get around on a hot summer day when you want to avoid the subway.

Skating: Rockefeller Center Rink vs Wollman Rink

Rockefeller Centeris beautiful during the holiday season, but you do not need to skate around its ice skating rink to enjoy it. The rink is tiny and always incredibly crowded. A much better option is Wollman Rink in Central Park, which lets you stretch your legs and flaunt your skating skills while taking in views of the park and the Midtown skyline.

Trendy Asian Fun Food: Spice Market vs. Má Pêche

Now I am not necessarily saying not to go to Spice Market. Its menu is filled with power house chef Jean-Georges' take on Southeast Asian street food, and it’s all delicious. Spice Market’s location in the Meat Packing District, its over the top décor and tasty cocktails all make it an attractive spot to treat yourself. However, if you are looking to go to the hottest new Asian fusion restaurant in New York you’ll want to check out Má Pêche. The reviews are in for this highly anticipated dining room which is housed in the Chambers Hotel. What the critics are saying is good but cannot top the raves for the four other restaurants that are part of David Chang’s Momofuku nation. If you are looking for the best bite check out the original Momofuku or Momofuku Milk Bar, but if you want a taste of the New York buzz check out Má: Pêche.

Next: Near the beaten track

Got any more places to avoid? Have your say using the comments form below:

User comments
Hey I've discovered your blog by change in search of my program in New York next November. Came already 2 times but this time I want to do something different and I'll be alone to decide all I want selfishly. Very inspiring and will take note of some of your advises. Great job. Thanks
Canarsie, farragut road or Harlem... tell me its safe then. LOL at the Rockefeller stuff too... or should i say Lord Rockefeller, give me a break. Americans arent dumb as dogs.... but most are sure brainwashed, there even more blinded by the media then the people that are here.
NYC is the perfect place to recover from jetlag, just go to any diner at 3am and take in the worlds best DJs while you eat your burger & fries! Also if you are coeliac (they pronounce it phonetically)or have any other allergy, go to BABY CAKES and you will be spoilt! The way to best enjoy it is knowing what you like and finding it yourself. It still is a safe place, I walked around the Bronx by myself and the people were awesome!
where do you get off saying that "Americans are as dumb as dog's s....?" if you don't like NY it's one thing but pls don't put it down like that! i was in Melbourne in March and even thought i liked it I woudn't trade living in Brooklyn, NY for anything! also Sydney is a lovely town. maybe you had a bad experience with one person and you think it's OK to make that stupid remark. stay in Australia! connie
I totally agree with The Catskills i feel soooo much safer in NYC than i do in Melbourne after dark not in a million years would i walk the streets of melbourne at night time.. but in nyc i was doing alot of that, it really is the city that doesnt sleep! and its fantastic im going again in december for christmas and nye!!! and it will be my 10th time and i still havent seen everything NYC has to offerr!! catch the subway it will take u anywhere!! hop on over to coney island!! or get dropped off times square or even the fashion district!! taxis are over rated.. u can walk and subway it everywhere! so that will also save some cash there! If u cant afford hotels there are some great hostels around.. for example try the continental and candy hostel on 95th street ... only 4 or 5 stops away from times square on the subway also try broadway hotel n hostel! money savingggg all the way!!! i really do LOVE NEW YORK CITY
I have just come back from NY...and i purchased the "New York City Pass" online before i left. it was posted to my house with a guide book so i could plan my trip and sight seeing before i even left australia!! it was great value for money and saved as us sooo much time lining up for we were able to fast track lines with this pass. for all of those going to NY to see the sights, then this pass it a must!! check it out!! you can buy them in NY but you save more money when you buy online!
Personally, I can't see the attraction of a holiday in New York. A holiday in a bustling crowded city? When one goes away, it's to relax and get away from it all. New York holds absolutely NO appeal for me. People, have some imagination! There are so many beautiful places out there in the world! Middle East, parts of Africa, Pacific Islands,Peru...I dare you to choose somewhere different instead of the usual ho-hum, boring, YAWN-London, Paris New York!
All i can say is do your homework before you go! I was there last month for the NY400 celebrations. The city is kind of overwhelming if you dont have a plan. ESB was pretty cool thing to do. avoid rockerfella beach - its a long way on the train. Go shopping at Century 21 near ground zero. UT
Are you "for real" Guru? Your comments are so far off the mark, one must doubt whether you've actually been out of Botany - let alone travelled to New York. Travelling via Google Earth doesn't count I'm afraid. For those of us who have been to NYC and have actually spent time exploring the buroughs over months and years over several trips and not just a stopover at JFK, La Guardia or Newark, you'd know it's the most sensational city in the world. Please don't put Australian Capital Cities on a pedestal when it comes to safety. I feel a lot safer in NYC than I do in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne after dark. Please readers, treat Guru's comments with the contempt they deserve and make the trip. You will not be disappointed. P.S St Kilda is also a wonderful place to visit so I suggest you get back inside your shipping container at Botany and leave the travelling to us.
Top of the rock is by far the best the view of Manhattan with esb in the back ground is fantastic, Went to new york in june 09 with family i did not want to go but now so glade that i did i will be back next year because NEW YORK is the greatest place in the usa. Leaves los angeles for dead .