New York City Tourist Trap Tips by shutterlust Top 5 Page for this destination
New York City Tourist Traps: 324 reviews and 186 photos
First of all, I have to say, by criticizing Dylan's Candy Bar as a tourist trip, I feel as though I'm betraying a close friend. Dylan's Candy Bar was created by Ralph Lauren's daughter and Ralph Lauren, I'm sorry, is the greatest designer ever. Period. I <3 Ralph Lauren. Ooh the little polo man...
Anyway, this is about Dylan's. It's an incredible tourist trap. According to my brother, "white-sneaker clad, hip-bouncing bag carriers wearing scrunchies are the only ones who could possibly frequent such an overrated place." (Great minds think alike?)
Save your money and get your licorice and hershey kisses somewhere else. Parents, save your tempers and give your kids a book instead. (Or go across the street to 360 Brassiere. Fantastic little bistro).
Unique Suggestions: Don't bother with the chocolates (or any of the other edibles. You can visit virtually ANY other candy shoppe in Manhattan and get the SAME EXACT sweeties for 1/5 of the price!) Instead, pick up the 'dirty' t-shirts they sell, like 'Lick Me' or something. At least that'll last you more than 2 minutes and doesn't go to your hips.
Fun Alternatives: Get some excellent chocolates at Charbonnel et Walker on the 8th Floor of Saks Fifth or downtown in SoHo at Vosges Haute Chocolate. Far classier than Dylan's Candy Bar.
Particularly around Union Square and below, there are several 'deaf' beggars signing to you to stop or handing out small cards to them. If you take the card thinking its free (like a coupon or handout) think again. If you take this piece of paper and keep walking, the 'deaf beggar' will follow you, signing to you to read the paper, which will say that it is a guide to American Sign Language (the alphabet) and that he's asking you to donate some money to him in exchange for the little paper ASL guide.
Don't be tricked into giving him/her money for the ASL guide. More often than not, he's not deaf. (I know ASL and I signed to him and he had no idea what I was saying...granted he might know BSL or FSL, but still, you can never be too sure). Don't give your money away too readily.
Unique Suggestions: I guess if you feel bad enough, give the guy some money. However, you risk the chance of him following you around even more to see if you will give up even more money?
While walking on the street you may be approached by someone asking about your hair or clothes. Don't pay attention to them, they are only advertising rip-offs. They will likely be package deals or time-sensitive offers for professional hair and clothing advice, to get professional suggestions from NY's best stylists.
Fun Alternatives: An alternative: Go to a department store like Barneys or Saks and get free make-up consultations (when you buy products of course) or get a copy of Vogue and consult that.
Not necessarily just the ones around Central Park, but they're the one who profit so well off of tourists. Use your common sense. Don't be drawn in by flattery from these so called artists and vendors who negotiate prices to have your portrait sketched. They will almost always suggest a low price before, and then ask for a higher price after. You will almost certainly lose money by paying attention to these vendors. Mind you, they're professionals, so buyer beware!
Unique Suggestions: Haggle all prices, never agree to the suggested price, always walk away if you feel you're being bullied into a purchase or if the vendor appears overly aggressive to make a sale.
Fun Alternatives: Stand aside and laugh as other people get sucked into the touristy madness.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art supposedly charges an admissions fee of $12. Dont' pay it. They get tons of money from donations (from people like my parents) and from other organizations. I never pay the 'suggested' $12. Give them like, a dollar to get the little admissions pin and walk right in. Always check for the word 'suggested' before parting with your money, I hate the concept of having to pay to see historical and artistic works. The public should be allowed the right to such achievements...
Unique Suggestions: Pay half of the suggested fee if you feel bad just giving a dollar.
I used to go to Serendipity's all the time as a child. Then it became a tourist trap. Only tourists go there, like the Statue of Liberty. It's charm has been completely washed away with the drab masses of white sneakers and scrunchies harassing midtown East. Now it's crowded, takes 3 hours to get a table in high hours, and the food just isn't that great anymore. The staff is overworked and tired and just want to leave. And it's loud, the children are rude and obnoxious and it's such a painful experience to go. I wouldn't recommend it at all.
Unique Suggestions: Get the frozen hot chocolate and or the humble pie.
Fun Alternatives: Want to treat your children to sweets but want something classier than Serendipity's, where all the tourists go to recreate movie moments? Go to Charbonnel et Walker, 8th Floor of Saks Fifth Avenue (see my Shopping Tip). It's a beautiful little chocolate shop that is simply a fantasy to enter and far more beautiful and classy than Serendipity. Far better experience than being jostled by other tourists
While Chinatown may have excellent restaurants, groceries and few shops, many of those open shops (I don't even feel that they can be called shops) are complete rip-offs. I <3 New York shirts can be bought as cheaply as $1 for each, if you buy in bulk, i.e. 10 for $10. Don't pay any more than $3 for one of those shirts.
Unique Suggestions: If you must buy something from these dollar-store equivalents, at least haggle and save some of your money. If they declare a price, ask for something lower than what you would pay for, they would then offer a price above what you suggested and hopefully it'll hit exactly what you hoped to pay. (I.e. he says its $5, you offer $2, he says $3.50, you agree because that's what you hoped for).
Also, try walking away, pretend you don't want the product and they'll lower the price as you walk away, hoping to get you back. If not, don't worry, the next place will have the exact same thing.
Little shoe stores or jewelry and accessory shops that say "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS" or "CLEARANCE SALES"...BEWARE. Most of the time they are NOT going out of business or having a clearance sale because they're moving locations. I know this because several of the stores that once said that are still standing there years later. They are just trying to get you to come into the shop and see their merchandise, which they have price tagged with handwritten tags to make ti seem cheaper than merchandise that has been price gunned with more official looking tags. Try to be aware of the price, don't let the store's cheap atmosphere or handwritten tags fool you into thinking it's actually a bargain. Most of the time their merchandise is more expensive that the store next door that is NOT advertising a clearance sale.
Unique Suggestions: If you feel you must go into a Going Out of Business store, be aware of the prices, don't let the store clerks force you to try anything on, because once you have it on, it'll make their sale easier for them and don't part with your money to readily.
Fun Alternatives: Try boutiques and haggle prices or chain stores where such deception is not allowed. Learn how to haggle. It's a fun game!
Avoid Times Square like the plague.
Unique Suggestions: If you must go to Times Square, at LEAST check out the Howard Johnson diner and/or Ruby Foo's (Best Sushi Ever. Period.) Keep away from all other restaurants in that area. They are RIDICULOUSLY over-priced and the food is terrible! You're better off heading downtown for an excellent and more reasonably priced cuisine.
Fun Alternatives: SoHo, TriBeCa, Alphabet City, Lower East Side, the Village, Greenwich, Chinatown, and Little Italy. Must, must, MUST visit at some point.
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