Recently, I did something no self-respecting New Yorker would ever admit to: I went to Madame Tussaud’s, perhaps the tackiest tourist attraction in NY. And, in my opinion, the lamest. Good thing I went, so you don’t have to.
There are a lot of things to do in New York that only tourists seem to do. Some of these things, I understand. Like visiting the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building is a national symbol. It’s been a part of countless movies. Plus , the view is pretty awesome. (still, I prefer Top of the Rock, where you can see the Empire State Building, ’cause you’re not in it. Plus, I got married in that building!)
Another incomprehensible thing tourists do it visit the M&M store. I guess there aren’t any M&M’s in the rest of the world, right? Because why would you come all the way to New York to buy M&Ms? Aren’t they at every supermarket in America? I know, they have different colors, and different funny M&M alarm clocks and stuff, but seriously. M&M’s? If you want sweets, how about visiting Magnolia Bakery? Sweet, delicious, and made famous by the Sex in the City girls. And a New York original (even though they opened one in L.A.)
But perhaps the most bizarre thing people do in New York is go to Madame Tussaud’s. Why would you travel all the way to New York to look at wax statues of movie stars?
I only went because it was a free blogger event. (full disclosure) And here’s how it went: you take an elevator to the 437th floor, and the only way to get out is to walk all the way down, looking at frozen celebrities, and looking at tourists posing with frozen celebrities along the way. (Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the 437th floor. It just felt that way.) In other words, you are trapped in a “museum” of fake celebs until you walk down enough flights to escape.
Were the statues well made? Absolutely. Were they realistic? You bet. Did I care? Not at all.
This is New York! A lot of the celebs I’ve already seen numberous times in the flesh — just by walking down the streets of New York. (Maybe not Amelia Earhart or Mahatma Ghandi, but still)
Here are some of the wax figures I’ve seen in recent memory on the streets of New York: Woody Allen. (my kids went to pre-school with his. I even ate lunch in his kitchen!)
Barbara Walters (saw her a few weeks ago on the Upper East Side)
Lenny Kravitz (much cuter in a bookstore on Madison avenue than in wax)
Usher (saw him in the lobby of the Sony building few years back)
And Bruce Springsteen (a rare sighting, outside the Film Center with his wife, about to get into their car)
My point is, New York has some of the best people watching in the world. Sit in a sidewalk cafe, sit on a bench in Central Park, chances are, you’ll see fashionistas, and hipsters, and Wall Street tycoons..and maybe even a movie star or two.
They’ll be real. You won’t have to pay a bundle to see them. And hey, maybe you’ll even get an autograph. But that is SO not New York!