I’ve been on the subject of NYC landmarks lately, so let’s talk about Times Square.
It sucks. That’s right, I said it. Times Square sucks. Now, some of you may want to defend Times Square as a can’t-miss-it tourist destination, the Crossroads of the World, etc. To you I say: WRONG!
The place is overcrowded, overpriced, and overhyped. It’s overrun with tourists who believed whatever guidebook told them they’re getting the real New York experience, but any real New Yorker knows to avoid the place whenever possible.
Yes, Times Square has big–enormous–billboards and TV screens and stock tickers and news tickers, and yes, even the police station has neon lights. But all that gaudy, phony commotion just makes it Las Vegas East. I mean, the biggest billboards there are for stores and banks whose nearest outlets are miles away. Miles.
Also, no matter how small the buildings and billboards are in your hometown, what self-respecting human being takes a vacation to look at advertisements? I’ll save you a bundle by letting you stay home and watch some click-through ads online. They even blink, just like many of the ads in Times Square. You may not be aware, but there’s a lot of other stuff to do in this city.
Yes, Times Square has big–enormous–stores and restaurants. And there’s not a single one you’d even think of walking into in your hometown (and they’re ALL in your hometown, BTW). I mean, Bubba Gump Shrimp? Because nothing says New York like a pseudocreole chain restaurant inspired by a fictional New Orelans-based fishing company in a fictional movie and created not really to feed people but to sell them some logoed T-shirts and shot glasses. It’s so ridiculous that it makes the Billabong store (as in surfing gear and surfer fashion–not exactly the heart and soul of Manhattan) look like a venerable NYC institution.
Real New Yorkers don’t eat at Bubba Gump because they know a great little shrimp place. Real New Yorkers go to sample sales, not to Billabong. And real New Yorkers know that New Year’s Eve is better spent indoors, where you can drink legally and avoid frostbite.