How to Fall in Love with Times Square in 2 Days (Seriously)
There's an actual neighborhood hiding in America's biggest "tourist trap."
Times Square attracts upwards of 20 million visitors every day. It's (probably) America's most famous, most infamous, and most maligned tourist destination. But for native New Yorkers and/or seasoned visitors who don't crave a run-in with a knock-off Elmo or a plate of crab-stuffed shrimp at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Times Square is more than likely a place to avoid.
But it shouldn't be.
In this episode of the Thrillist Explorers podcast (listen here!), I spend 48 hours in Times Square in a quest to find the actual neighborhood buried beneath the towering neon screens and the world's largest Olive Garden. We visit the legendary dive bar that has miraculously survived the Disney-fication of the area, Jimmy's Corner. We discover the large-scale (and occasionally hidden!) art installations inside the Square, and the artists working to add a layer of culture to the city's "least culturally viable" area. We speak with Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar (who dole out some very tequila-centric advice). We experience a slice of "classic" New York (cocktails, mood lighting, pianos) with the always excellent Rum House and owner Kenneth McCoy. We figure out where to eat in Times Square, spend a late night walking around talking to the many characters who inhabit the area, and end up on top of 1 Times Square, right underneath the iconic NYE ball.
After all is said and done, you actually might <3 Times Square, too.
Wil Fulton is a Senior Producer at Thrillist and a passionate doer of other stuff. For more info, you'll have to do a free background check.