I recently took a trip to New York and found a few different things that are generally on the must-do list that you should not do. Sometimes it just is not worth it to do the popular thing and often times there are things you can do instead and get the same enjoyment. The three things that I feel you should avoid are The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, and The 9/11 Memorial.
The Empire State Building:
The Empire State Building seems like an excellent place to go and see the whole city. To that extent, it is excellent. Once you reach the top, the sight is excellent if that is what you are looking for. The reason you should avoid the Empire State Building is the line. The amount of time you have to wait in order to get to the 86th floor of the building is absolutely ridiculous. I waited approximately 3 hours to get from the bottom to the 86th floor. I thought my experience might have been an outlier but after speaking with locals they said this was the norm. The views from the building are not worth the wait. What I would recommend is doing the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller center. You will get similar views with little wait.
The Statue of Liberty:
The Statue of Liberty recently reopened and again the lines are insane. Not only are the lines ridiculous tickets to get to the crown are booked two months out. This is why I recommend not going to the island itself. If by chance you are going and you have crown tickets, then yes by all means go to the island. It would be worth it. If, however, you are somewhat near-cited with your actions and didn’t book tickets two months in advance, I would avoid the island. The same reason I would recommend avoiding the island is the same reason you should avoid the Empire State Building, the lines. When we arrived on the island, we realized that the line back was just absolutely insane. We got off and literally got right back in line in order to not have to wait forever. We took pictures from the line and just stood in line until the next fairy arrived. We stood in line for approximately 1 hour. What I would recommend instead is to take a boat/fairy around the island and take your photos from the boat. This way you still get great pictures but avoid the waiting for the next ship to arrive.
As of 8/1/13, the museum is not open at the 9/11 Memorial. Until this opens, I would recommend not going to the memorial. In order to get tickets you have to wait in a long line or walk eight blocks away to get “pre-ordered” tickets. If the line is not long then by all means go visit. In my opinion, without the museum it isn’t worth the wait to see the fountains unless you have a connection to the 9/11 Tragedy. Once the museum is opened, I am sure this will be something great to do.
Overall, I suggest avoiding The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, and the 9/11 Memorial. Basically because of the length of time waiting does not justify the enjoyment at the end of the line. There are many things to do in NYC, and these are ones I would avoid.