Love Where You Live

I hate Times Square. Hate it.

This is not a unique sentiment among New Yorkers. The majority of us agree that it is black hole for happiness, to be avoided at all costs. Here are some of the reasons why Times Square is terrible.

Times Square Crowd
There are WAY too many people
Too many of those people are tourists.
Too many of those people are tourists.
Tourists are very bad at walking around NYC
Tourists are very bad at walking around NYC
Costume characters are super creepy
Costume characters are super creepy
Tourists + street food + novelty shops = terrible smell
Tourists + street food + novelty shops = terrible smell

But the absolute worst part about Times Square is the impression it gives people. Friends from other cities tell me that “New York is fun, but I could never live there” or ask, “how can you stand the crowds in New York?”

These people have ONLY ever been to Times Square. Guess what, I couldn’t live in Times Square either.

But despite all that, I found myself there last week, checking out the Super Bowl festivities. I expected to leave pretty much instantly.

It was crowded. There were a ton of tourists (even more than normal, if that is possible), and Super Bowl apparel was being sold on every corner. But, surprisingly, the whole scene made me happy. I must have been in the right mood, but I saw Times Square differently, just this once.

I saw people, both from New York and from elsewhere, enjoying themselves and playing in my city.

Kids get to go through NFL training
Kids get to go through NFL training
A gigantic slide!
A gigantic slide!

Sure, consumerism ran rampant and there was no way I was going to wait in the RIDICULOUS lines to participate in any of the events, but the playground that the NFL had set up, along with the free pink lemonade that some vendor gave me, had me smiling.

I remembered that Times Square is an attraction for a reason, even without the Super Bowl hoopla going on. The lights, the sights, the sounds, heck, even the mass amounts of people all add up to something worth checking out at least once.

And guess what? That part of Times Square is free. If you can avoid the ads and overpriced food and bars that are being thrust at you, you can experience any neighborhood in NYC for free. You can experience any part of ANY town for free. And I guarantee that you can find cheap activities, places to walk, or inexpensive places to eat as well.

So I still hate Times Square, but it’s good to know that, given the right mood, I can actually enjoy it – and for free.

So maybe this weekend, take a small trip to someplace near you. See if you can enjoy it, while not paying a cent.

Where are you headed?

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17 thoughts on “Love Where You Live

  1. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life February 6, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Oh gosh, I thought times square was ESPECIALLY awful last week. Glad some people were enjoying it though
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted: Love and Money: The Most Romantic GiftMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget February 6, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I think if I had been in any other mood, I would have hated it as well. I think I may work on being in a better mood more often – it seems to be much more enjoyable!

  2. Shannon @ Financially Blonde February 6, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I used to work near Times Square and I hated it for all of the reasons you mentioned, but especially those creepy costume wearing people who charge you to take a picture with them. And I am always curious who goes to eat at the Olive Garden in the middle of Times Square. You come to NYC and the “best” Italian food you can find is Olive Garden? That being said, I do go there frequently because I love seeing Broadway shows and unfortunately they are in that vicinity, but worth the pain. 🙂
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    • Mr NYBudget February 6, 2014 at 11:18 am

      I saw some “Minion” characters from Despicable Me the other day – creepiest ones I have seen yet. And I completely agree. It makes no sense to go to Olive Garden. I don’t quite get how some folks travel.

  3. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply February 6, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I really wanted to make it out to Times Square to see the Super Bowl festivities…not gonna see a Super Bowl in the NY area again anytime soon or ever. I couldn’t make it out there but I heard it was pretty crowded. My sister went and there was a huge line to see the Lombardi trophy, so she just took a picture from outside. Looked like she was right next to it…not sure why people waited hours to see it. I don’t really have such a strong hatred of Times Square haha! But I don’t live in Manhattan or work there, so it’s fun to go out there once in a while…even if it’s to a touristy area.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted: Are You (Financially) Better Off Than Your Parents?My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget February 6, 2014 at 11:21 am

      It was definitely crowded. There was zero chance that I was standing in line (you can tell I am not a native New Yorker, as I don’t say “stand on line”) for any of their events. There were plenty of ways to waste time and money, but just watching people and taking in all the sites (like your sister did with the trophy) was fun!

  4. Kristin Wong February 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Haha, the same way Los Angelenos hate Hollywood/Highland. It’s pretty terrifying. A few weeks ago, we shot a video there some crazy rando yelled, ‘I could murder everyone right now.’ Adorable.
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    • Mr NYBudget February 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Ha – sounds like an interesting place.

  5. Leslie Beslie February 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    The one time I absolutely love Manhattan is during the winter holidays. Something about the city in December really feels magical.
    Leslie Beslie recently posted: January Monthly Spending in NYC 2014My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget February 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      That’s true – that brief period after a fresh snow and before it turns to slush is actually pretty amazing.

  6. FI Fighter February 6, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    That’s funny, I live in the Bay Area and never have the urge to go visit San Francisco. Parking is terrible, traffic is always bad, and the weather is usually gloomy. If a person has never been before, chances are they will love it. Yes, there’s definitely a ton of things to do there, but having grown up in the Bay, I’m desensitized to all of it. Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Academy of Sciences, *yawn*

    Maybe it’s TIME I went to visit TIMES Square and had some real fun 😉
    FI Fighter recently posted: Year 3: The Conservator (2014)My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget February 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      I see what you did there! If you ever do make it out to NYC – hit me up and I’ll buy you a beer (or beverage of your choice)!

  7. Phil February 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I also hate Times Square and could not agree more. Other than for seeing a show I avoid it like the plague! I had some friends who went there for Super Bowl week and wanted me to go. I passed but at least it seems like a few people such as yourself enjoyed it.

  8. Debby February 16, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Every time someone comes to visit me, they want me to take them to Times Square – and I get it, I do. But they’re killing me. And by the the time I’ve strolled through Toys’r’Us, bought a sugar rush overdose at M&M and climbed those red stairs, I’m bitchy and my guests feel I’ve become an obnoxious New Yorker. Fortunately, I don’t have guests every month.
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    • Mr NYBudget February 16, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      I absolutely hear ya. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it that day is because I didn’t have anyone dragging me to all the terrible parts. That and I stayed for a grand total of 30 minutes – just enough to feel the enjoyment and not so long that it wore on me.

  9. Broke Millennial February 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    T-square is the worst! When I worked for Letterman I had to spend a decent amount of time working in Times Square which left me with even more hatred for the area. BUT, I do appreciate it late at night, well after the tourists have gone to bed. It reminds you of the “energy” people always talk about (not a literal sense, but I would love to see the electric bill).

    • Mr NYBudget February 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      I feel the same way. There is something about Times Square that is awesome – it is just buried beneath tourists, bad smells, and terrible merchants 99% of the time.

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