nyc // skip & go

Skip: that overrated Broadway show in Times Square
Go: laugh your a-- off at the People's Improv Theater

Why pay over $100 for an overrated, overproduced Broadway show when you can see a unique improv set at the People's Improv Theater (PIT)?

But how can anything be more unique than The Lion King, you ask? Well, first of all, at the PIT you won't be in a room with 500 other people, nor will you have to wrestle through hell (Times Square) to get there. Second of all, PIT shows aren't sponsored by an evil company (*cough cough* Disney). Finally, PIT shows are truly unique because as acts of improv, they are created on the spot, and will never be performed again. That means you're essentially witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime piece. Try not to think about this too much after a particularly hilarious show, though - it may be saddening to realize you'll never be able to experience it again.
Tip: Mondays and Wednesdays are always free - and always great!

Skip: the Circle Line Tour and the Statue of Liberty
Go: spend the day at Governor's Island

One of my friends recently put his Circle Line Tour experience this way: "It's boring as f---". Well, there you have it, straight from a New Yorker. Don't want to spend hours on a crowded boat with loud tourists? Hop on the Governor's Island Ferry, and within fifteen minutes you'll find yourself in a magical place. What surprised me the first time I went to Governor's Island was how vast it really is - if you're an introvert like me, you'll appreciate the possibility to settle on a patch of grass that isn't surrounded by too-close neighbors. Plus, most kids there are well-behaved (either that, or they're too busy playing on the island's beautiful, museum-worthy playground structures).

For lunch, try one of the many food trucks and find a seat in one of the many available lounge chairs. Snap some borderline-touristy shots of the city - the view (pictured all the way above) will remind you how lucky you are to be in NYC.
Tip: the ferry ride is free on weekend mornings.

Skip: shopping Midtown
Go: support local shops and artisans in Williamsburg

Don't go to Abercrombie & Fitch. I repeat - do not go to Abercrombie & Fitch. It reeks from blocks away, the music is bad and, worst of all, you'd be supporting the objectification of the male and female bodies. Just don't. And for that matter, stay clear of Hollister, Armani Exchange and any of the likes. The streets Midtown are so crowded anyway - why would you willingly do that to yourself?

Instead, ride the L train with the hipsters and make your way to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. On a Saturday, drop by the infamous Smorgasburg for a foodie lunch. It can get crowded, so I suggest going there after 2pm. On Sunday, Brooklyn Flea magically replaces Smorgasburg as food trucks are swapped for booths featuring local artists, crafters and antique vendors. Some of my other favorite stops in the neighborhood include Artists & Fleas, Crossroads Trading Co., Earwax Records, Bedford Cheese Shop and Whisk.
Bonus: Take a jewelry-making class at Brooklyn Charm - the very place I learned myself! Even if you're just stopping by, the boutique itself is worth seeing.

Want more? I've got a couple extras for you:

Skip: the Empire State Building
Go: get an actual view of the Empire State Building from Top of the Rock

Skip: Little Italy
Go: eat at an authentic and tourist-free italian restaurant in the West Village

Skip: the Central Park carriage ride
Go: walk along the Highline