New York Reddit user: cantcountnoaccount – To avoid crowded lines and tourist traps, avoid Times Square and the Empire State Building. To be honest they are top offenders. Everything else is worth a visit to varying degrees (and depending on your interests). Those two are just straight up tourist-raping asscrap.
I honestly recommend you read the sidebar and perhaps any common guidebook to NYC. There really aren’t any secret spots in NYC in fact I’d go so far as to say there is very little in the City that’s any good at all that isn’t extremely well known or rated highly on Yelp or Tripadvisor. Remember if only 1 out of 10,000 NYers have written about a restaurant, there are about 900 opinions posted.
Being that you’re in the financial district, there aren’t any specially amazing Pizza places but Big Al’s isn’t bad for a slice (I pretty much always get the spinach & cheese calzone though). Long Island Bagel Cafe on Fulton Street I recommend with reservations — they make good bagels but ALWAYS screw up my order.
A good cheap lunch spot is Sophie’s Cuban — there’s two locations in the Financial District; one near Bowling Green in a wierd back alley called New Street, the other on Fulton. you can get a bigass filling and delicious lunch for $10. I recommend the roast pork (Pernil) or the cooked-down beef in red sauce (Ropa Viejo) with Rice Moro and sweet plaintains. Also, near the World Financial Center there’s a Shake Shack that’s less crazy than the others, if burgers & shakes are something you’re into.
The Staten Island Ferry is a great freebie to see lower manhattan, the harbor, and the Statue of Liberty. The 9/11 memorial is free and lovely. The Museum of the American Indian, in the old customs house at Bowling Green, is free. Down near the seaport there’s a TKTS stand (discount broadway and off-broadway) that is way less crowded. Uptown, the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan are both pay-what-you-wish. Time Out New York has listings for activities. You wont find antique shops in Manhattan or really anywhere that’s very easy to get to, well maybe a few that charge super crazy prices. Rent’s too high.
The weather tends to be extremely hot so stay hydrated.
New York Reddit user: Hankest – One thing, be careful that your understandable desire to avoid tourist traps doesn’t mean you’ll miss some great sites that happen to be tourist filled.
The Met, the Flushing and Manhattan Chinatowns, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Coney Island all are tourist destinations, but for a reason – they’re amazing.
One hidden “gem” i suggest to visiting museum loving friends is the Hispanic Society Museum. Its collection spans the history of Spain, from pre-Roman, Roman, medieval to early 20th century…. If you’re into small art museums and happen to be way uptown (it’s on 155th st), it’s worth a visit just for the Goyas and El Grecos alone (and it’s free).http://www.hispanicsociety.org/
New York Reddit user: chworktap – The Financial District has the best Korean Fried Chicken place in NYC. It’s called Bonchon on John Street and it’s super high quality for dirt cheap. If you’ve never heard of Korean Fried Chicken you should probably go — you can get spicy or sweet or a mixture.
In FiDi, you’ll want to hit up the scene on Stone Street, lots of bars and restaurants all with outdoor seating. My favorite place is Vintry Wine and Whiskey, they have a great selection but expect high prices.
If you are willing to splurge, one of the best craft cocktail bars in NYC is down in FiDi, it’s called The Dead Rabbit. It’s three levels but all the magic happens on the second level. You’ll probably have to wait for a seat there, it will be well worth it.
As for neighborhoods, you might want to walk / bus / subway to the Lower East Side, some great places around there. Lots of cool shops along Orchard Street, start at Orchard and Canal and just walk your way up past Delancey and up to Houston Street. On Houston, make a right and you can hit up the famous Katz’s Deli for what will most likely be a great pastrami (they can be a little inconsistent, but when they’re good they’re great). You could also try to get into Russ and Daughter’s Cafe on Orchard just North of Delancey for authentic NY jewish fare: order “the classic”, a bagel with nova lox, capers, tomato, onion, and cream cheese.
I’d avoid Little Italy, it’s not where the Italians live anymore, just a bunch of tourist places. But Chinatown is definitely a trip, and that’s a short distance from you also.
Since you’re on a budget definitely jump in and brave the subway. Get an unlimited card and don’t be afraid of getting a little lost.
New York Reddit user: thesweetestpunch – Financial District is great! Here’s what I recommend there:
Fraunces Tavern – oldest bar in NYC. Great whiskey selection and atmosphere, best on a slow day (like a Sunday evening). Really chill atmosphere.
Stone Street – go on a day with nice weather, sit outside and get served a bunch of beer. It’s so good. Highly recommended.
Financial district is great to wander in, as is almost anything south of 14th street.
Go across Brooklyn Bridge and visit Brooklyn. (Duh).
If you’re gonna eat pizza: Eat it in Brooklyn. Or Arthur Avenue in The Bronx.
If you’re gonna eat bagels: Eat them in Brooklyn (or Queens).
Concerts – check out Midsummer Night’s Swing at Lincoln Center. It’s fantastic. If you want a good bagel and you’re in that area, there’s a bagel place on 61st and….whatever street is west of Amsterdam, I forgot. Great bagels. Just avoid bagels in chain restaurants, delis, etc…go to a place that makes nothing but bagels and you’ll be golden.
Delis in NYC are…alright, I guess. There’s so much hit and miss. There’s great, there’s terrible.
If you want to avoid tourist traps, just stay the fuck away from WTC, Midtown West/Times Square, and the Empire State building. That said, Midtown is worth it if you’re going to see a show. Just make sure to grab dinner/lunch at 9th ave instead of in the Times Square area.
I think a day in Queens is great. Flushing has a Chinatown that is pure chaos. Corona Park is wonderful. Forest Hills has a great dining selection and a taco truck that rivals any Mexican food I’ve had anywhere (I’m from Southern California, so…hopefully that’s a worthwhile recommendation). Sunnyside is a very mixed neighborhood with tons of dining options (and a shop called Beer World!). Astoria has a beer garden and excellent food. BTW, as far as I’m considered Sal, Kris, and Charlie’s Deli has the best ridiculous sandwich in NYC. Just off the ditmars stop on the N/Q train (and not open Sunday), it has a sandwich called The Bomb With Everything…fantastic. While there, pick up a cold non-diet Manhattan Special Coffee Soda. It roolz.