New York City, NY

One New Yorker's Suggestions for Tourists

Remington Write

But, hey, you do you!

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I'll walk by but I doubt I'll ever stand in line to actually see that /Photo byTammy Remington

Count me in with the guy selling newspapers and candy from his newsstand in the shadow of the Empire State Building. He’d never been up to the famous observation deck where Cary Grant had a very bad night in 1957 and had no idea why anyone would bother.

Full disclosure: I have been up to that storied observation deck but only to take out-of-town friends up on a foggy day so there were no lines. And they paid.

While I'm generally pretty content living in a destination city, there are some things that are really just for the tourists.

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Go for it. I'll wave.Photo byTammy Remington

Here are a few which we New Yorkers encourage our visitors to enjoy while we're finding tastier and more inexpensive things to do.

  • The Russian Tea Room belongs in movies and music videos. Period. While I’m sure the Traditional Tea Room Red Borscht with pickled red beets, seasonal vegetables, and dill in a short rib and bacon broth is all that for $26 a serving, I’ll stick to the delicious cold summer borscht at Veselka for $11, thankyouverymuch.
  • Horse-drawn carriages in and around Central Park really exist only for the tourist trade. I adore seeing horses in the city so I’ve never jumped on the Ban The Carriages bandwagon. The horses I see seem well-groomed and healthy. And come on, the smell of horse shit in the city is far more delightful than so many other city smells. However, to actually pay to ride in one of those dolled-up carriages? Yeah, no. At over $100 for 45 minutes, let the tourists line up for that one (hell, I didn’t even bother with the damned gondolas when I was the tourist in Venice)!
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The beagle probably had fun but didn't have to tip the gondolier /Photo byTammy Remington
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And talk about tipping!Photo byTammy Remington
  • Take your pick of any of the way-up-high observation decks: Top of the Rock, The Edge, The Vessel, The Empire State Building (except for that one time). If I want to enjoy an amazing view of the city, I’ll just go up on my roof and gaze over at the sun setting behind St. John the Unfinished. It’s free and there are never any gabbing, gawking tourists are around to ruin the vibe.
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The best view in town and it's free but no tourist will ever find it /Photo byTammy Remington
  • The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island belong in documentaries and old movies. I’ve been told that my great-grandfather's name is in one of the many ships’ manifests that are on display over there on Ellis Island and that’s still not enough to get me over there. I’ll wave as I glide on by riding the (free) Staten Island Ferry but to actually pay to jam myself in with people who have simply seen way too many movies about New York? Not happening.
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The view from the (free) Staten Island ferry is good enough for me /Photo byTammy Remington
  • Times Square. Ok, ok. Yes, I have been to that pit of tourist hell. More than once. But never willingly. The best times to be in Times Square are during really foul weather or just about any time during the pandemic. Sadly, those days are only memories. Now it’s back to being its normal, obnoxious, overcrowded self. Even desnudas are back along with Spider-Man, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Batman, Elmo, and an enormous panda that I suspect has to be inflated by the way it rocks in the breeze. I will, however, often watch the webcam just to revel in what I’m missing out on.
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Proof positive I've been to Times Square but I can't remember why /Photo byTammy Remington
  • The Highline was actually worth checking out for about the first three years after they opened it up. What a treat it was to walk along that old elevated railroad bed before every developer and his brother-in-law from Jersey had to build high-priced condominiums and hotels all around it and destroy the views. There was a delightful array of wild plants — aka weeds if they were growing down at ground level — and it’s always fun being able to peer into people’s apartment windows. But, as I said, those days are gone. There’s absolutely no reason to put yourself through the aggravation especially since the proprietors of the Standard Hotel have been discouraging randy guests from providing public sex shows in their floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Highline. New York sure ain’t what it used to be!
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Once upon a time you would admire the view on the High Line /Photo byTammy Remington

Consider this a public service to the intelligent people who want to experience New York City.

The things I’ve listed here? These aren’t New York. These are basically the same types of lame tourist crap that can be found from Munich to Shanghai to Sydney to Buenos Aires. Who needs it?

So skip these worthless money-sucking pits. You can do better. Drop me an email when you get here. I can point you in the right direction to experience New York.

Hell, I might even write about it!

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Covert dilettante with an omnivorous capacity for wonder. Writing because I can't not write. Always watching for the hidden patterns and connections. I don't know I cannot fly..........and so I do.

New York City, NY
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