We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Things I didn't know...

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
3,050 posts
45 reviews
Things I didn't know...

before I started posting on this Forum.

The point made about the Staten Island new shopping development, that locals don't even know about it, got me thinking: what are tourists more likely to know, or more likely to want to do and see, than most New Yorkers? This isn't "I never..." it's more "I didn't even know..."

For me:

1. People take public transportation to LGA. I never have - I did NOT even know that there was a way to do it. I don't know anyone irl who has. The "train to the plane" has always been advertised for JFK - but never LGA. I took the subway to JFK for the first time last summer. It's not a bad option - happy to know it's a viable option for JFK because traffic is annoying and unpredictable, and $70 is a lot of money. But LGA is still close enough to make a cab worth it for me (emphasis on "for me," my choice doesn't have to be anyone else's choice - no arguments please!).

2. The obsession with cheesecake. It is such a big thing for tourists - why? I have never met a local for whom cheesecake was a "thing" (maybe if people are sharing one dessert, there will be a debate between the chocolate option and the cheesecake option - if there is one - but not as a focused activity, like going to Junior's. I'm sure I've seen it. But I've never even noticed where it is.). Same with donuts. I've had friends who were obsessed with the cupcake craze a few years ago, that was huge. Otherwise, the NYC local "thing" is that everyone I know diets all of the time (hence: "skinny girl Margarita," something that no one here discusses). Fights about the "best bagel," however, is most definitely a New York thing.

3. $1 Pizza. I guess it's a "thing." I've never had a discussion about $1 pizza before. Everyone loves pizza. And everyone has a favorite pizza place, usually the one in their neighborhood. But travel for it? Wait in line for it? Not so much.

What's the one thing that, in order to answer questions about, you first learned about from this site/from tourists?

109 replies to this topic
New York City
Level Contributor
6,428 posts
70 reviews
1. Re: Things I didn't know...

Dyker Heights christmas lights never heard of it until this forum

The whole obsession about "Doing the things the locals do" ...When I am on vacation, I want to do tourist things

"Ghetto tourism"

Edited: 23 August 2018, 23:07
New York City
Level Contributor
6,428 posts
70 reviews
2. Re: Things I didn't know...

How many tourists want to go to Woodbury Common, yeah its a nice place but I wouldnt want to spend a whole vacation day going there

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
3,050 posts
45 reviews
3. Re: Things I didn't know...

Howard, ghetto tourism. Good one. (When I was in Italy a few years ago, I did want to do/eat "the things the locals did." I found that hard as people kept directing me to tourist things. I finally got in the car, drove out into the countryside and started just driving into places that looked interesting but were clearly not tourist sites. And it was one of the best things I ever did, even if I did have to struggle with the phrasebook to be understood.)

Southern NJ
Level Contributor
1,719 posts
128 reviews
4. Re: Things I didn't know...

To me, a big thing is that it seems locals hate Times Square while it’s almost a “must do” for tourists. I know there a lot of shady people that hang out there and take money from visitors on a variety of ways. It IS Times Square that people see everyday on TV and movies and every New Years Eve. There are restaurants and stores that locals would NEVER go into or patronize but, above everything, Times Square is the crossroads of the world that ALL tourists want to see just once.

USA
Destination Expert
for Tucson
Level Contributor
16,120 posts
30 reviews
5. Re: Things I didn't know...

I love cheesecake, but rarely eat it out, unless I'm near Rocco's and really want a piece. Never had Junior's and don't care to try it. I buy one from Pearl River that is sold in WF, I freeze it, cut it into pieces, then when I want a small piece, just let it sit in the fridge for a while.

Times are changing, the $1 pizza will be gone soon. I was on 9th Avenue recently and walked by a place where the $1 was painted over, I think it's now $1.25. I'm sure others will follow, if they haven't already.

Advertising is targeted to tourists, so maybe places like the outlets are known about long before they come here?

USA
Destination Expert
for Tucson
Level Contributor
16,120 posts
30 reviews
6. Re: Things I didn't know...

Good one Howard, that's your phrase now: "Ghetto Tourism".

New York City
Level Contributor
6,428 posts
70 reviews
7. Re: Things I didn't know...

I live in Queens so taking public transportation to LGA or JFK is just silly, A cab is like $20-$25 to my house. Its not really much more money, I only knew about the Q70 bus from this forum as I would never take it , its out of my way

The JFK Airtrain I know about since I drive under it at least once a week

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Brooklyn
Level Contributor
4,409 posts
20 reviews
8. Re: Things I didn't know...

Quite a few things, actually! Many involve quirks of the public transportation system - e.g., the inability to add the 7-day unlimited option to a card purchased for the JFK Airtrain; limits on how many people can be swiped in on a single metrocard; limits on the # of metrocards purchased with a single credit card; how to respond to the zip code security question if you're from outside the U.S. Not things that I need to deal with as a resident, but helpful to know when giving advice to others.

I also didn't know about the Amtrak Red Cap service - I mean, I knew there were porters in the station, but I didn't really understand their function (I travel quite a bit by train, but always light, so I've never needed assistance with luggage). I still haven't used them, but at least I now know that's a way to board the train early if I ever need to.

Destinations I'd never heard of: Ellen's Stardust (doesn't appeal), 230 Fifth (been there a couple of times for meet-ups), the Ghostbusters fire station, a number of others.

Risa, my experience with cheesecake and doughnuts is a bit different from yours. With the first, I think living in Brooklyn has something to do with it: Juniors is still a local icon that people feel very proprietary toward. I remember walking back to work carrying a takeout bag from Junior's (it held a sandwich), and having multple passersby say "oooooh, cheeeeeesecake" and threaten (jokingly) to take it from me.

With the second, I think it's a matter of hanging out with voraciously hungry runners. But many of my friends are obsessed with doughnuts . . . to the extent of mapping out running routes to hit as many spots as possible.

Astoria, New York
Level Contributor
20,210 posts
9. Re: Things I didn't know...

Elsewhere some cheesecakes are marketed as "New York Style" which might explain some of those questions and perhaps it's a quest for "authenticity"

Although unlike the "bagels taste different here because of the water" theory, not sure there's any ingredient in cheesecakes that would city unique/specific and difficult to replicate elsewhere.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
3,013 posts
20 reviews
10. Re: Things I didn't know...

New York cheesecake is listed on a lot of menus on the West Coast but not so much down here in Santa Fe New Mexico. I never really paid attention if it was on the menus in other parts of the country since I’m not into it. My theory is when in New York we want to try it if we like cheesecake already.

Also when people go on vacation they want to reward themselves with food treats and other foods that they normally deny themselves. Such as donuts, pizza , cupcakes ,ice cream and...

I think the popularity of juniors diner in time square is that many tourist don’t want to dress up or go somewhere where they think they will feel uncomfortable because In their eyes -they’re not New York fancy enough.

M“Ghetto tourism “ I think is a very small percentage of tourists who want to do that.

One thing I didn’t know before reading this forum, ( I’m sure I’ll think of more things) was the existence of Long Island city as an option for more for your money hotels.

Edited: 23 August 2018, 23:37
Reply to: Things I didn't know...
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about New York City