New York’s Worst Tourist Traps: Times Square, Scams, Frauds, and More

New York’s Worst Tourist Traps: Times Square, Scams, Frauds, and More

Welcome to New York City! There are tons
of fun things to do here. However, there’s also tons of tourist traps. Today I’m
going to show you the worst tourist traps in New York City. Let’s start with this one Times Square.
The only good thing about Times Square is the Broadway shows. This is a massive
tourist trap. Everything’s overpriced and when you’re in Times Square, under any
circumstances please don’t go to Madame Tussauds or Ripley’s Believe It or Not. It’s not even fun there guys. Come on! That’s the
biggest tourist trap you can ever find. If you want something that says New York
on it don’t come to any of these cheesy souvenir shops. You’ll see these all over
the Midtown area. Instead, a way to get these for way cheaper price, is you go
to Chinatown or you can go to any Duane Reade or Walgreens. They sell it for so
so cheap, okay? Instead of going to places like the Freedom Tower or the Empire
State Building, skip it. Those places are so expensive and they
have really long lines. It’s just packed. Instead go to these amazing rooftop bars.
We have so many in New York and the views are better than what you get there
or at the Empire State Building because you’re not surrounded by tourists. Here
are a few of my favorites. Like this place this is St. Cloud at the
Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square. Come here look at this view that there is. Look at this view here. That’s the New Year’s Eve Ball right there. There’s other great places too. Some of my favorite rooftop bars are Jimmy at at The James, Monarch Lounge, at the top of the Met Museum there’s an amazing rooftop
bar looking at over Central Park, and the top of the Gansevoort Hotel. All those
places have amazing views and there’s no one there. It’s just so much better
than going to be Empire State Building or the Freedom Tower. So go there instead. Instead of shopping on Fifth Avenue where it’s really expensive and it’s
really where all the tourists go. Go to we’re real near New Yorkers shop which
is the West Village, Nolita, Union Square, any of those locations have tons of
really cute boutique stores that are way better price and all the stuff here on fifth avenue. When you’re walking the streets of New
York you’re going to get offered a lot of these little pamphlets for these big
bus tours, don’t do it. It’s a huge scam and it’s not even a good tour.
Essentially they’re just going to corral you into a giant bus full of tourists,
and give you generic information about the city as they go past all of the
landmarks and cool sites really quickly. Instead of doing this, what you should do
is go on a private tour or a small group tour. One of my favorite companies to do
this with its Urban Adventures. They have tons of really fun tours of all over New
York City and it’s really personalized. So don’t use these guys. Instead use awesome companies like Urban Adventures. Instead of going to Starbucks, there are so many cool cafe’s here in New York. Like this one called The Uncommons. Here you can get a delicious coffee and a bagel, New York style. While you play board games and they have over 500 board games. So check this out. It’s my move now. Three. One, two three. Your turn! If you don’t want to deal with the
hordes of tourists at museums like the Museum of Natural History, The Met or the MoMA, head over to the more undiscovered museums. This one is the Museum of Moving Image and it’s an Astoria, Queens. It is all about the art of film. It takes you through all these different movies and shows you behind the scenes. It’s very interactive as well so I highly
recommend checking this out. Also it’s free on Fridays from 4:00 to 8:00. Way better than those really busy places in Manhattan. Probably the biggest tourist trap of
all in Times Square which is New Year’s Eve. Now you may have seen this on TV it
looks super glamorous and amazing with confetti falling down but that’s only
for one moment. The rest of the time it’s terrible. You have to get here probably
like 15 hours before everything starts. You’ll be fenced in an area and you
can’t leave that area until the show starts. You just have to sit there and
wait for the show to start. A lot of people end up wearing diapers. The
other option is doing one of the “great package deals” that restaurants will
offer you here which are really terrible they’re extremely overpriced. Normally
they’re around five hundred to a thousand dollars it can be more than that. Times Square for New Year’s Eve not what
it seems like just watch it on TV in your cozy house or at a bar it will be
so much more fun that way and you won’t end up fenced in a corral, not being able to
go to the bathroom for 15 hours. Do not, under any circumstances, take pictures
with these costume characters like the one behind me. What they do is they’ll
try to jump into your photo pretending like they just want to be in your photo
and then what they do is they demand you to give them a tip and this tip will be
like five to ten dollars. It’s terrible! and a lot of tourists fall for this and
they feel like they’re obligated to pay them. You’re not obligated to pay them so
don’t pay them. Another thing that you’ll see all the time. You’ll be walking along
the streets, like the guy behind me here it’s doing it, and they try to sell you a CD of their mixed tape. Don’t buy this. It’s a blank CD, they try
to charge you like $20 for a mixtape and there’s nothing on it. Okay? Don’t fall
for these scams. They’re so dumb save your money. These pedicabs right here are a scam. Don’t take them. they’re really expensive,
and they don’t even get you places fast. Instead just take the subway. Literally no real New Yorkers take those pedicabs, so just don’t do it. Instead of going to the overpriced Rockefeller Center ice rink, come here instead. This is Bryant Park
they have tons of really fun activities all year long. Here you can skate for just 20 dollars and at Rockefeller Center
it’s a lot more, plus you’ll be waiting in line for half the time. Do this one instead. So that’s a wrap everyone, those are the
worst tourist traps of New York City. If you enjoyed this video, subscribe, follow
me on Instagram @sarahfunky, and I will see you next time.


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    Sarah Funk

    Watch the full NYC series:
    Visiting NYC? Get my NYC sightseeing checklist for FREE:

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    This is pretty on point, but just wanted to add a slightly different perspective on some points (also live in NYC). 1. Main fashion area is NoHo, SoHo, Nolita, and parts of LES. Union Square is mostly chain stores, not worth going there to clothes shop. 2. Uncommons is way too small for the crowd it gets at night. It feels like you're playing board games on a rush hour packed train and the time limit is too short for the price. The price you pay to complete a full game could end up being close to what you'd pay for it at the store. Unfortunately, the only similar places I know of are in Brooklyn. 3. I avoid Starbucks for coffee but they're my go to if I need to pee, with a few exceptions, most have rest rooms and you don't need to buy anything. Many New Yorkers do the same. 4. The Met is actually pay what you want, so you can pay $5 if you want. I recommend paying full price if you are there all day though, they need money to stay open. 5. In general, I recommend not making eye contact with people trying to get your attention. They can get pushy at that point and it's harder to say no / walk away. If you avoid eye contact, just keep walking and they'll focus on other people. Same when you're on the subway. 6. Avoid rowdy / tough guy posturing groups and groups of teens, especially if you're by yourself in an area with very few other pedestrians around. Similar with the teens / young men on bikes that ride wildly and ignore the lights, plow through pedestrians, weave between cars, ride on the sidewalks, etc. Some want to provoke a reaction and harass people, if you react, you get their attention focused on you and it's just not worth it.

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    Maria Garcia

    I beg to differ on the New Year’s Eve Package Deal, I bought one and had the best time!! We had food, music, restrooms, a/c, and we were brought downstairs at exactly was magical! Definitely worth the money $$$

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    4F Productions

    Sure the rooftop bars are fun. But nothing beats watching the sun set over the entire city from the top of Freedom Tower or the ESB. I went once in the summer and the views were worth the money I put down to go. Got some amazing pics. So I’m glad I went. I can say that I’ve been to the top of those two buildings in my lifetime. 🙂

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    Susanna L

    I like the bus tours, it’s like hop-on hop off, you can go wherever you want. Call me tourist but 😂🙏 I do agree with some of the point though, nice video 👍

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    ronnie horn

    We'll be in NYC next June. Coming from Austin, Texas.. Thank you so much for the information… Your video was great, to the point and well organized! thanks again. I will check to see if you have a video for restaurant recommendations.

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    Carl Johnson

    I don't get it! What's wrong with tour bus? Is it overpriced ? I agree with you on taxi bikes they're overpriced and they don't pay insurance and gas like motorcycles

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    Mario Mendoza

    I've been to NY several times. The first time I went, I got Times Square and the Empire State Bldg out of the way. Were they packed, yes, but they aren't tourist traps. I mean, I didn't spend any money in Times Square and was there only 1 hour. It took maybe 30 minutes to get to the top of the Empire State Bldg, it's not like I wasted a whole day there. Besides, those two are spots that you have to visit at least once. The MET, MoMA and MoNH are incredible, all other museums there are second rate in comparison. The other advice is pretty on point. Those buses, the character and the scammers; I can't someone would pay for a CD in the street.

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    Soldier _76

    You’re clearly biased in this video- the Empire State Tower is a wonderful spot for those who never went to that spot. Personally I dislike that cocky attitude of yours lol- though you got good intentions 🙂

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    My wife and I went on one of the big tourist bus tours and had a great time and were able to get a good tour of the city. We went back after to the places we wanted to spend more time in.

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    Suzie’s House 3 boys and a dog

    We fell for the CD scam but they took my $20 and promised me $15 change and walked off!! Also the costume people tried to get money off us but we refused haha

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    Donald Nowve

    The "Hey, I'm a vet and need $5.00 for gas" scam from the #1 and #3 trains is alive and well 300 miles away at the truck stops along I 81 in Va.

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    Maurice Rivers

    The trick to navigating Times Square is very simple: no eye contact with anyone hawking/selling anything, no pictures with people dressed in costumes, no small talk with anyone that seems overly-friendly, and absolutely no taking anything that anyone claims to be giving out for "free". Honestly, it may seem rude, but Times Square scammers are rude for coming at you with the bullshit and nonsense. Mean-mug them ignore them, because they hate when they can't get a moment of your time. As soon as you come out the subway and hit the sidewalk, start walking fast like you're about that business, and you won't have any problems.

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    Dot cotton

    What I got from this video, everything tourist related is overpriced and a scam. Has she ever been to anywhere else in this world?

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    I would never in a million years avoid going to a Starbucks and go to a random coffee shop instead. There’s one thing to be helpful with tourists and another thing to stop them from enjoying nyc

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    Rudie Obias

    I have a friend who lives in a high rise in Times Sq. NYE at her place is great! We spend most of the time in her apartment and then about 5 minutes before midnight, we go down to the street level in front of the ball to watch it drop. No waiting. No crowds. It’s pretty cool to experience that NYE moment without the hassle.

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    Benoit Joseph

    Very depressing your video. I hope you're telling the truth. There are trap tourists in every major city in the world.

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    Gigi Gigi

    I really have to make a decision here…Do I take a ride with the guy in the bike, or I take the Subways full of Giant RATS running and jumping, all over the Subways…

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    Life long New Yorker here. Let's get something out of the way, Time Square has always been the anus of NYC. The worst food, dirty sidewalks, overcrowded streets , a tourist trap destination at its worst. I know first time visitors always seem to want to go to Times Square, but what is unfathomable is the sheer number of tourists who plan their entire visit around this area of NYC. Ther city is huge. Go around on foot, visit Lower Manhattan and the Financial District, Tribeca, SoHo, Central park, East Village and Bowery. Greenwich Village etc. So much to see and experience, why waste it on spending days in Times Square. That's like going to Italy and only visiting Stazione Termini in Rome.

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    The Overlord Of Procrastination

    Thanks for this. We are flying from Wales, UK to see Steely Dan at the Beacon in October and these tips are duly noted. I salute you.

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    A.C. Steel

    I live in new york grew up in long island now i live queens this video is 100% accurate they tried selling me garbage mix tapes i gave them rolls of pennys they took em back, my wife cursed out elmo, i almost beat batmans ass, i can go on

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    “Don’t go to time square it’s a tourist trap” goes to a roof top bar “look it’s the New Year’s Eve ball”…..

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    John Smith

    You have to be a dense empty headed fool to skip the MOMA, it might be the only time in your life you can be in the room with 5-9 Jackson Pollacks. Duh. When I was there they had a Ferrari exhibit including the first one ever built. Go to Asoria Queens instead??

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    Nikko Does Travelling

    I flew 30+ hours all the way from Australia and you’re telling me not to go to times square or rockefeller centre? Hell nawwww

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    Stephen Fry

    Love your channel, but ya kinda lost me when you told people to NOT go to the top of the Empire State Building!! Yikes!! Everyone should do it at least once when visiting the city! It’s a magical view up there!!
    How about telling people the best time of day/week to go and do it??

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    I think you’re missing the point of tourism. Yes we know we’re getting ripped off and we could get stuff cheaper but I didn’t fly for 7 hours to NOT go to the Empire State etc,the reason why there’s ‘hoards of tourists’ it’s because we’re tourists want to go, of course I’d avoid those places like the plague if I lived there but for many it’s once in a lifetime. Would you go to Egypt but avoid the pyramids because it’s a tourist trap? We’re not New Yorkers we’re tourists.

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    I think you’re missing the point of tourism. Yes we know we’re getting ripped off and we could get stuff cheaper but I didn’t fly for 7 hours to NOT go to the Empire State etc,the reason why there’s ‘hoards of tourists’ it’s because where tourists want to go, of course I’d avoid those places like the plague if I lived there but for many it’s once in a lifetime. Would you go to Egypt but avoid the pyramids because it’s a tourist trap? We’re not New Yorkers we’re tourists.

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    norton wayne

    I got ripped off by Barnes and Noble. They charged me 180bucks for a 18dollar pen but I was in a hurry and didn't check the price they put in when I was paying. I later contacted them and sent them a proof of purchase and they got an executive to dick me around for 8 months and they still wouldn't pay and said they sent a cheque in the mail.

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    Comicbook Lover

    I’m a NYC’r Yes these are nice views, but skip Empire State Building? Yeah right. Go at least once in your life. Enjoy EVERYTHING. But I do agree about the scams.

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    Jerome Lombardo

    Did she say not to shop on 5th Ave………Clutch my pearls (that I bought on 5th ave). I make it a point to shop up and down 5th ave. You have to how to shop there.

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    Vera Ramirez-Medina

    I agree with almost everything but mostly the cartoon characters. They were so mean and pushy. They wouldn’t let go of my sons arm. I almost had to call the police.

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    70s Queen of England

    I’ve been in the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Center and neither of them were that crowded

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    70s Queen of England

    The “not go to the Rockefeller center thing” got me pisset for som reason because I mean what is cooler skated at the Rockefeller center or a random hockey rink

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    Brenda Chasse

    Thank you so much I am planning on coming soon with my granddaughter and these tips are really helpful.

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    David Wadsworth

    This is nothing.I remember when Times Square was owned in the 70's by hooker's and their pimps. Porn shows EVERY WHERE! Trash ever where! Getting mugged in broad daylight,and subways were worse.It is Disney Land like now. Oh I forgot all the junkies, nodding out on the side walk.

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    Andy Smartt

    It was my 1st time in New York, and I had never heard of the CD scam before so when i was approached by a guy asking for donations to ‘support’ his budding music career, i believed him. Well his group of buddies saw that i had fallen for it, and all decided to jump in and well me being a young kiddo freaked out and lost more money than i am willing to admit.

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    Honestly idk why you said that madame tussaud and believe it or not is a scam i did go in both of them but in amsterdam and its quite funny.

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    I got back from New York last week, it’s similar to London but more expensive. People were rude, metro system not that good, food is all junk. On top American accent was bad. I preferred Chicago a better city

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    I’m from New York and I still go to all the tourist traps I love them no one comes to New York to see roof top bars the come to see the Empire State Building and freedoms tower.

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    The Devs

    Sarah incorrect.
    There kids who want to see views. Not go on top of buildings full of drunks,
    You can’t say the Empire State Building and the World grate center are crap. You just cant.
    You get the best view and no, it is not crowded like you show. So stop making people hate the WTC.

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    I've been to NYC several times and I avoid the tourist traps. However, I have been to the Empire State Building , that's kind of the whole point. The places you're suggesting must be paying you!!

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