Don’t get caught in the tourist traps: try these places instead.
When news came that the Fodor’s offices were moving to Times Square in New York, there was collective hesitation among my colleagues. Wading through crowds of tourists taking selfies in front of the Chicago the Musical marquee just to get to work? Not ideal. But as we settled into our new quarters, the benefits of being in the heart of the city became more apparent.
But I get it—it can be overwhelming. Apart from the Times Square staples you may be accustomed to, or trying desperately to avoid, from Broadway shows with early birds rendering sidewalks unusable to Irish pubs that could not be more out of place, there’s much to explore. Whether you are tethered to Times Square for business or a special occasion, you can steal away to much tamer, more palatable, and culturally rich enclaves nearby. Here’s our list of worthwhile destinations that’ll spare you from the tourist traps.
Get fancy and festive at the Ophelia Lounge in Beekman Tower, an Art Deco building from the late ’20s. While you wait for libations like the Rising Star cocktail (Pierre Ferrand Cognac, El Dorado 12 Rum, cinnamon simple syrup, and lotus cookie-infused cream), peruse recovered relics from its days as a women’s-only haunt, with photographs and trinkets carefully preserved under glass at the bar. In winter, sheepskins are strewn across the barstools. Cozy up with a date at the enclosed terrace with magical panoramic views of the city.