So you’ve read all my recommendations on where to stay and what to do and what to eat, but what about all the things you shouldn’t do? It can’t ALL be great, right? Based upon other recommendations and movies that I saw, I made some mistakes in New York that I want to save you from making. Places that are not all they are cracked up to be, restaurants I would avoid, and some, just things that I would do a little differently next time and want to save you and I both some time. Learn from me and don’t make these 10 mistakes in New York City!
For the most part, people take this $40-$50/person cruise to get good views of the Statue of Liberty and to see the city skyline, however, most people don’t know that they can actually do this for free on the Staten Island ferry, or at least for a lot cheaper on the NYC Water Taxi. We ended up taking the taxi thinking it would be a little faster than the ferry and paid $22/person. If you buy tickets from vendors on the street, you can haggle and get even a better rate. The pros of taking the water taxi over the ferry is that it makes a couple of different stops along the way so if you wanted to get off at the Brooklyn Bridge and explore, you can hop back on the next taxi and continue on. It makes 6 different stops along popular Manhattan destinations while the Staten Island Ferry only has one stop. So if your only interest is to see the Statue Of Liberty, save your money, and a lot of time, and take the ferry, which runs every 30 minutes from 7am-11pm.
After our delicious Shake Shack dinner, I had a hankering for something sweet (like I ALWAYS do), and being in New York, I knew I could find something delicious around every corner. We happened to be walking past Magnolia Bakery when I remembered reading all about it in articles and hearing all about it on different cupcake competitions and shows. Magnolia was the bakery that pretty much made cupcakes a “thing”. It was made popular in the TV show “Sex and the City” and even now when people hear the words “cupcakes” and “New York City”, Magnolia comes to mind. There were no lines wrapping around the block like it is known to have, so we decided to give it a try. We got a couple different pastries including a brownie, a chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate/chocolate cupcake. Their brownie was very dry and actually falling apart in my hand as I ate it, almost like its been in the display for days. I have never tried a brownie as dry and crumbly as theirs. After one bite, I simply threw it away, which is rare for this chocoholic. And their cookie? Thin and crispy. Not at all the characteristics I look for in cookies. Their cupcakes were pretty good but they only had a couple of the chocolate cupcakes left so can’t say about the other flavors, but the one I tried was decent. I hate to say it, but it’s not all its cracked up to be. If you’re looking for cupcakes that will knock the socks off your feet, I would venture over to Georgetown Cupcake in SoHo, instead. Less busy, a lot more variety, and a guaranteed knockout cupcake.
I was so excited about trying this place out for my birthday breakfast after reading all of the amazing reviews on Yelp, however, I was not impressed. Although a charming little place, the quality of food fell short. Breakfast being my favorite meal of the day, I always place a very high standard on breakfast foods. The english muffins, although made fresh in store, were so thick, I could not enjoy the Eggs Benedict without cutting the bread in half. Their ham was thick and hard to chew and the lemon and ricotta pancakes were dry and simply inedible. $110 completely gone to waste. I guess you can’t always trust Yelp reviews…
Swanky, upscale NYC restaurant that you would typically expect from the city. The mirrored walls and ceiling create a feeling of luxury and opulence. The beautiful, dimly-lit chandelier creates a romantic ambiance and really makes a statement; the first thing that I noticed upon walking into the restaurant. But don’t be fooled by the beauty of this trendy joint. The food was on the pricer side but I suspect you are only paying more for the ambiance. The wait staff was on the slower side and it took 20 minutes just to put in our drink orders after being seated. After ordering the lobster ravioli, I unfortunately had to send it back after just one bite. The thick pasta dominated the entire dish with just a hint of what was supposed to be the lobster filling. The sauce was not impressive and lacked flavor. I instead ordered the bone marrow with crostini bread and lobster bisque which came out pretty good, despite the earlier misfortune. Although the food was good, it wasn’t great and didn’t live up to the NYC standard. A word of advice? You can find much better tasting food in NYC for a lot less money.
Highly crazed by people all over the world, I too, wanted to hop on the bandwagon and be crazy over these overpriced macarons. Let’s just say I’m glad I only got 6 to try at first. At $3.50/macaron, I expected a lot more, but to be honest, I think the macarons at Le Panier at Pike Place Market or Bakery Nouveau taste so much better. Save your time and money people, it’s not worth it!
Another New York famous food, the bagel. There is no shortage of places to find a bagel in New York City, but I wanted to try the outright best. So again I set out to do research and read a ton of articles and blogs and reviews and settled on Ess-A-Bagel. We got here at 10:30 on a Sunday Morning and the line was out the door. Not thinking much about it, we got in line and waited. 30 minutes later, we were still outside! It’s a good thing the weather was nice because, by then, we were too committed to turn back. Once we got inside, we saw the line snaking around and grudgingly wondered how much longer this was going to take. It took a total of two hours. TWO HOURS!!! For a bagel. You heard me right people. The bagel was of course delicious, it had to be if people were crazy enough to wait in line that long to get it. We got the cinnamon raisin bagel with blueberry cream cheese, onion bagel with chive cream cheese, smoked salmon and red onions, and a plain bagel with salmon cream cheese. It was hard to decide, but the best one was the onion bagel with smoked salmon. If you too have done your research and have decided this is where you want to get your bagel, than skip the 2 hour wait and go to their “Bagels Only” line. You can get the same bagels with the same cream cheeses, but just on the side. This line won’t toast your bagel either or let your get the fillings on your bagel but it’s probably what we will end up doing next time we are in town. We can spread our own cream cheese on a bagel, thank you.
Even getting in for free didn’t make up for the lost time in this museum. I do consider myself an “artistic” person and looked forward to visiting this museum for years but I guess I underestimated how “modern” this museum of art was actually going to be. We walked through the entire, huge 3 story museum in under an hour and didn’t find anything worth pondering over. Displays included ponytails made of old hair, blurred out photographs, multicolored tissue paper, amateur home videos, newspapers, and old sausage meats, framed. Perhaps it was bad timing and other exhibits are more captivating, but unless you come here with a very open mind of what “art” is, you may walk out of here very disappointed. And if you still wanted to take a chance on this museum than please, save yourself $25/person and come on Friday nights 4pm-8pm and get in for free.
Popular for housing many media and broadcasting companies including the Food Network Studios and the Oxygen Network, this market was built in the former Nabisco factory where the Oreo cookie was first invented. The Food Network Studios, where shows such as Iron Chef America, Emeril Live and Chopped, to name a few, are filmed are unfortunately closed to the public. They open up paid tours for a very limited amount of time on occasion, but you have to plan ahead and hope that they will have those available when you are in town. The whole downstairs concourse is an extensive food market filled with retail shops and eateries. Great for if you are doing shopping and buying fresh, local ingredients or if you are looking to grab some food but besides that, there is not much else to do here.
I learned about the New York Famous hot dog eatery from movies such as Fools Rush In, You’ve Got Mail, The Back-up Plan, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Yelp reviews seemed to agree so we ventured to the only location left in New York City to try the all famous hot dog. Their prices seemed almost too good to be true- $3.50 for 2 hot dogs and a drink. Their tagline reads “When you’re hungry, or broke or just in a hurry.” I guess they did what they advertised: filled us up for cheap and quick but thats about it. There is nothing memorable about this hot dog at all. Grocery store buns with a thin dinky little frank. After all the movies that I watched with celebrities enjoying their hot dogs, I was really expecting it to be something else, but you can make a MUCH better hotdog at home using much better ingredients. No need to go to New York for their hot dogs.
T.V. really does a number on you with their advertising. I watched Cake Boss for years and learned a lot about cake decorating from this show so I was thrilled to know we would be visiting NYC where their bakery is located. Upon looking at reviews to decide what I would order, I was surprised to find the overwhelming amount of negative reviews. Choosing to ignore the reviews, I decided to order their all-star famous cannolis, lobster tail, chocolate chip cookie, and a chocolate mousse cake. Not one was impressive., but of all the items, their cannolis were the worst, leaving a film of grease in your mouth as an aftertaste. I really, really wanted to like this place but with the long lines and wait times, expensive Times Square prices, and pastries that are very underwhelming, I would skip this place altogether.
Of course, these are my own personal experiences and opinions and others may feel differently, but if I had known in advance about these things, it would have helped my trip immensely. It helps to do your research, but sometimes even then, you never know what your going to get!
I hope these series have been helpful and please let me know which of all have been the most valuable to you!