Welcome to “Times Scare.” While the Crossroads of the World has seen better days, New York Post’s Survival Guide to NYC has your back.
Here’s a roundup of insider tips and restaurant recs to get you through Times Square — roughly the West 40s along Broadway — whether you’re a tourist or a local feeling like you’ve shot yourself in the foot by going there at all.
First step to surviving midtown Manhattan is sidewalk etiquette. In the Big Apple, it’s best to walk like you drive: Pass on the left, ride on the right. Don’t be afraid to tailgate the slow walkers. And make sure you “pull over” if you’re going to stop and look at your phone.
If you find yourself smack dab in the middle of Bubba Gump Shrimp territory, whatever you do, avoid the costumed creeps. If you see “Elmo,” just know that this character is far from Sesame Street. As for the Times Square superheroes, they are not your friendly neighborhood Spider-man. In 2016, a man dressed as the web-slinger physically attacked a family after they stiffed him on a tip.
Dodge anyone dancing, shouting, singing, making eye-contact, or asking, “Do you like comedy?” These street hawkers are actually aspiring stand-up comics hoping to rope you into their show. Stick with the legit venues such as Gotham Comedy Club where you might see Jerry Seinfield.
Hate people? Then you might want to avoid the most crowded part of Times Square, dubbed “The Bow Tie.” It spans between Broadway and Seventh Ave from 41st to 47th Street.
There are a few secret passages and shortcuts pedestrians can use to avoid the crowds: The Shubert Alley on 45th Street, The Minskoff Theater underpass on 46th Street, The Marriott Marquis underpass on 47th Street, or The Gershwin Theater underpass between 50th to 51st Street.
While Times Square is notorious for chain restaurants such as The Olive Garden, there are a few eateries where real New Yorkers still frequent.
For something divey, try Jimmy’s Corner on W. 44th Street. While you’re there, pour one out for boxing legend and owner, Jimmy Glenn, who died of coronavirus last year at 89. The walls of this storied bar are covered with photos of fighters he’d met over the years. The last scene from “Raging Bull,” starring Robert De Niro, was also filmed here.
For a taste of old New York, The Lambs Club on 44th Street dates back to 1905. It started as the home to the Lambs, America’s first professional theatrical club.
Ditch the Times Square Taco Bell, which serves booze and is now digital-only. Instead head over to Los Tacos No. 1 on 43rd Street for a chance to try birria, this year’s biggest traditional Mexican food trend.
As you walk around this often maligned neighborhood, you might get a whiff of those honey-roasted nuts wafting on every corner. While they smell like sweet perfume, be warned that they taste like chewing wood chips.
If you want street food, go with a classic dirty-water hot dog, which may take years off your life and tastes like it’s been boiled in the tears of anyone who’s spent too long in Time Square. In other words, delicious.