Newest Review: ... you will know that Times Square is a lot more grand and dramatic. It is a huge tourist attraction due to its shops, restaurants, bars a... more
Tourist Trap Square
Times Square (New York, USA)
Member Name: Gemma_C
Times Square (New York, USA)
Advantages: The lights are quite a sight at first, and I did enjoy wandering around Toys R Us.
Disadvantages: The crowds of tourists will put many people off.
On my trip to New York I must admit Times Square wasn't too high on my list of the places I was going to visit, and this was mainly because I did quite a bit of research before my trip and I knew it was a place that was going to be chuck full of tourists. This doesn't mean however that I wasn't going to give it a miss altogether, I mean how could I? Times Square is one of the most famous squares in the world (has anyone seen those rice krispie square adverts recently?) and I had to admit to myself that I did want to go and see those pretty lights.
Times Square is an intersection at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue. It has a huge number of flashy LED lights, mostly adverts, and my guide book informs me that it actually has an ordinance that requires all building owners to display illuminated signs. Times Square is also the place where people go to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve, and you can see this ball on top of one of the One Times Square building.
Wandering down Times Square at about 8pm on an evening and the place is jam packed with tourists, and it is harder to walk about Times Square than it is anyway elsewhere in the city, even at rush hour, it is constantly busy through out the day and into the evening. There are quuite a few shops around this area too, and they are open till late in the evening around 10-11pm as the area does not quieten down. There are also numerous restaurants in the area such as Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and many more. There are large sections of the roads around Times Square which are now cornered off to be Pedestrian Plaza's and are scattered with metal chairs for the tourists to sit on.
Times Square was the only place in New York where we were hassled by people, and this was by people trying to sell tickets for comedy shows or those red open top bus tours, though this wasn't too bad as they often took the first 'No thanks' as the final answer rather than following you down the road for another 5 minutes.
I did visit a couple of shops on Times Square, one being the Toys R Us store which has a large ferris wheel in the middle of the store. I also went in M&M's world, and couldn't believe there could be so much merchandise with M&M's on it (3 floors of it in fact!) and you had to fight your way through all this merchandise just to purchase some actual M&M's (I wanted pretzel and peanut butter flavoured ones!) We also popped over the road to go into the Reese's shop trying to rival M&M World though this was much smaller and I didn't last 2 minutes in there. Believe it or not there's even a whole shop dedicated to Pop Tarts too, and again you can buy some t-shirts and caps and many other items from here. I also wandered into Forever 21 which was a huge shop again covering several floors and is a must for anyone who likes New Look or TopShop. Also in the area is a Madame Tussaud's wax museum (I can never understand the appeal of this) and a Ripley's Believe it or Not! Which are newer attractions on the redeveloped 42nd street.
I went to Times Square twice and on both occasions I didn't last very long at all, as it's a complete tourist trap and to me it was much nicer to wander the streets of New York on an evening. When I did visit once during the day the area was even busier and it's quite hard to move around in some parts. By all means I suggest going to visit it once, just to see those lights, but be prepared to fight your way through crowds of tourists who are desperate to buy M&M bedsheets and eat dinner at Planet Hollywood before having their photos taken with waxworks.
Summary: Go and see the lights of Times Square, before going elsewhere for your evening meal.