What’s overrated and underrated in NYC?

We declare what deserves more of the spotlight and what should people seriously calm the hell down about
Over/under Issue 1110
Illustration: Eliot Wyatt
By Time Out editors |
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New York is the best at, like, everything. Pizza, nightlife, dining...you name it. Okay, so maybe we’re not great at the whole modesty thing. But just because something here gets a lot of attention and buzz doesn’t necessarily mean it’s tops. (Don’t tell your Instagram-famous friend—you’ll break her heart.) So we decided to cut through the incessant “everything is awesome” chatter to break down the things that are truly worth the accolades and the ones that need to get over themselves. Try not to spill your unicorn milkshake, NYC, and prepare yourself for some piping-hot takes.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in NYC

Overrated/Underrated in NYC

Green-Wood Cemetery
Photograph: Shutterstock

Green Spaces

Overrated: Central Park
Any oasis in the middle of an island that’s otherwise covered in tar and concrete is, admittedly, awesome. And sure, very few people have explored the space corner to corner. But New York’s backyard is also filled with tourists, pooping carriage horses and an insufferable number of marriage proposals.

Underrated: Green-Wood Cemetery
Okay, so this is technically a cemetery, but it’s a damn pretty one where you won’t find any crowds—only beautiful Gothic Revival architecture and an unspoken respect for the dead. Clayton Guse

Over/Under 1110
Illustration: Eliot Wyatt

Hookup Spots

Overrated: Bathrooms
You may have a degree of privacy in there, but you’ll also experience a lot of people impatiently waiting (or repeatedly knocking) just outside the door, literally shitty smells and copious amounts of strangers’ urine on the floor where you’re kneeling. Just say no.

Underrated: Shadowy archways
What a breezy evening we’re having. Quick, let’s bang in this barely-hidden-away doorway/entrance to this building! Yes, you are more likely to get caught, but you’re also more likely to have a little room to roam (and moan). But yeah, there might still be pee on the ground. Jillian Anthony

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Things that hang from the ceiling at the American Museum of Natural History

Overrated: The Giant Blue Whale
New Yorkers go so crazy over this life-size model that you’d be forgiven for thinking the 21,000-pound, 94-foot–long fiberglass beast was the only thing at the museum. But for all its mass and pop-culture cool—it was the subject of Jesse Eisenberg’s adolescent gaze in The Squid and the Whale, which was great—the whale pales in comparison with some of the amazing artifacts that fill these halls.

Underrated: The Great Canoe
The museum acquired the canoe in 1881 and it’s one of the most compelling pieces there. It’s 63 feet long and was carved from a single red cedar tree in the 1870s. (Think about that for a second). Suspended in the Grand Gallery, it’s covered in designs by Northwestern Native Americans that are nothing short of awe-inspiring. CG

Times Square characters

Overrated: Woody from Toy Story
Instead of the emotionally expressive cowboy of the film, this plastic-faced avatar carries a frightening, frozen grimace, like a half-melted wax demon waiting to push you into traffic. You’ve got no friend here, partner.

Underrated: Minions
There’s something geometrically calming about the obolong goggle-wearing Despicable Me sidekicks. And unlike other Times Square photo ops, it actually makes thematic sense when there’s a gaggle of six-near identical characters hanging out together. Andrew Frisicano

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Masterpieces in the Met’s Egyptian Wing

Overrated: The Temple of Dendur
The fact that the Met hauled a whole friggin’ temple from Egypt —one from 15 BC, no less—is damn impressive. And the greenhouse they put it in with Central Park views is grand. But face it: It’s really a tourist attraction with not much to offer beyond those wow factors.

Underrated: Portrait of a Youth with a Surgical Cut in One Eye
Small and easily overlooked, this object is one of a group of funerary masks created during Egypt’s Roman period (30 BC–AD 641). The faceplate for a mummy, the image gives you the feeling of someone looking directly at you over the ocean of time, making the subject—dead now for millennia—seem uncannily alive. Howard Halle

Chinatowns

Overrated: Manhattan
No disrespect to the more-famous Chinatown, but this place has taken a bit of a beating thanks to rapid gentrification and skyrocketing rents.

Underrated: Queens
Flushing’s Chinatown, on the other hand, is at its culinary peak, boasting a ton of authentic spots such as DaXi for Szechuan and Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao for soup dumplings. Danny Yu

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Over/under 1110
Illustration: Eliot Wyatt

Where to be at 3am on a Saturday

Overrated: The club
You just waited in a line that includes everyone you’ve ever slept with and never wanted to see again just so you could go into debt from having drinks with your unemployed “friends” from high school. And did we mention that there’s no food at the bar?

Underrated: Your apartment
Your roommates are gone. The apartment is quiet. Now is your chance to take a bath, eat ice cream in your underwear and watch whatever

Jersey City
Photograph: Shutterstock

Waterfront views

Overrated: Manhattan from Williamsburg

Underrated: Manhattan from Jersey City (pictured)

Where in JC to take it all in:

Newport Lighthouse Park
This lush green space has a red-and-white-striped lighthouse, a sandy beach and a stunning view of One World Trade Center from its pier. 31 River Dr South

Surf City Bar
Sipping a tiki cocktail, munching on clams and lounging on a beach cabana atop this laid-back rooftop bar will bring on the Key West vibes in no time. 1 Marin Blvd (201-516-9000, surfcitybar.com)

Liberty House Restaurant
Dining indoors at this romantic American eatery is unacceptable when you can sit outside by a fire or at a high-top stone table in the restaurant’s garden. Why? That unobstructed view of NYC’s skyline, you dunce. 76 Audrey Zapp Dr (201-395-0300, libertyhouserestaurant.com)

Jennifer Picht

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Food Trends

Overrated: Magical food
This summer felt as if we were living in a Lisa Frank fever dream. We had rainbow-covered treats (crepe cake in Queens, bagels in Williamsburg), the ugly battle over the unicorn lattes (Starbucks vs. the End) and an invasion of pastel-colored, sparkle-dusted, candy-topped desserts throughout the city, like the Unicorn Parade milk shake at New Territories and the “Unicornolli” at Gelso & Grand. Rainbows have their place in NYC, but let’s leave unicorns for grade-schoolers.

Underrated: Ricotta toast
Avocado toast was just the tip of the iceberg for the sliced-bread trend that has reverberated through NYC cafés. Our new favorite take is ricotta-topped toast. The soft cheese spread is usually drizzled with honey for a creamy, savory-sweet bite that might get less social-media fanfare than smashed avocados, but is just as tasty. Alyson Penn

Over/under 1110
Illustration: Eliot Wyatt

New York Specific Relationship Goals

Overrated: Cohabitation
Rushing into a shared living situation after six months of dating to save money on rent and move to a better neighborhood may seem like a good idea at the time—until you break up another six months later and have to walk on eggshells whenever your former better half is around.

Underrated: Landing a second date
After plowing through 10 dates with lackluster romantic interests, you finally do it: You go out with someone you would actually like to see again. Get that second date on the books, baby! Like a rare comet, it could be years before the next one comes around. JA

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Chain

Overrated: Shake Shack
The burger here is good. It’s just not the crack cocaine between two buns that some of its biggest fans make it out to be. And heaven knows NYC has enough other stellar burgers (cough, Burger Joint, cough) that you cannot in any way justify standing in a long-ass line for one of these patties.

Underrated: Barnes & Noble
We’ve all seen You’ve Got Mail, okay? We know you’re not supposed to root for the big-box bookstore over smaller independent outlets. But damn it if the Barnes & Noble flagship in Union Square isn’t impeccably organized and always has what you’re looking for. If you’re overwhelmed with guilt, browse here and buy a few blocks down at the Strand. Will Gleason

Over/under 1110
Illustration: Eliot Wyatt

Hangover cures

Overrated: Hair-of-the-dog cocktails
Mimosas and Bloody Marys are for the balls-to-the-walls partyers who don’t want the buzz to end. The problem is, they’re usually just as expensive as your eggs, an unnecessary cost for an OJ-and-champagne blend that will just delay your monster hangover instead of cure it.

Underrated: Leftover street meat
Who says drunk food can’t do double duty the next day? Unlike greasy leftover mozzarella sticks, street meat bought the night before and tossed in the fridge is perfectly preserved in the AM to satiate those morning pangs. Dig into that saucy chicken platter for an extra boost of protein before you grab your sunnies and venture out into the ’hood. AP

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Guernsey Street, Brooklyn
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Matthew Rutledge

Gorgeous street

Overrated: Stone Street
Cobblestones may be a welcome change of scenery in the primarily steel-and-glass Financial District, but that doesn’t mean they’re a scarce commodity in the city as a whole. Just ask anyone who’s precariously balanced on a pair of heels while walking through the Meatpacking District at night; gotten lost in the curving, charming streets that veer away from the city grid in the West Village; or posed for that perfect shot in Dumbo.

Underrated: Guernsey Street
It may not have the cachet of other winding New York thoroughfares, but this understated street in Greenpoint is one of the most beautiful to walk down, no matter the season. Rows of towering trees frame the sidewalks on either side, and the promenade ends in the leafy enclave of McCarren Park. A stroll along this mainly residential strip during autumn in particular is close to picture-perfect. WG

Under/rated 1110
Illustration: Eliot Wyatt

Walk of shame essential

Overrated
A Gatorade from the first bodega you see to nurse your drunken body back to health while also (with any luck) giving off the impression that you just came from a more reputable form of working out.

Underrated
A MetroCard so you can actually get home and—wait, what neighborhood am I in?

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