New York: How to visit on a budget

 

So just before I get into this amazing city, I am moving away from the theme of capital cities and instead I am going to be focusing this month on America. Not only is the 4th of July this month but it’s the only country that really has something going on in July. I have spent a lot of time in America so there is a lot to cover which we will get through in the next few weeks and I hope you will enjoy.

New York has been one of my very favourite cities every to visit. I have been three times in the last five years and I have actually got a few hints on how to visit New York on a budget. Something serious happened where my card was frozen and I literally had 30 dollars left to survive off for 4 days but I managed it. Here’s a guide to the city and how to save, and a few must do activities;

Climate;

New York has a sub-tropical climate meaning it is very hot and humid in the summer and very cold and dry in the winter. The concrete traps in the heat and being by the sea the air is very muggy. In winter the wind funnels up the very straight streets lowering the temperature down to the extreme. The best time to visit is the spring when it is around 20 degrees and the plants are coming back to life. A lot of activities are outdoors so its good to make the most of both inside and out of New York.

Accommodation:

New York is expensive. Some places which might be a little cheaper can be in unfriendly neighbour hoods. Be careful if you venture out of the tourist areas. I know people who went to the Bronx and were warned by locals it was not safe. The busy areas around times square are the most popular but can come with a hefty price. 5th Avenue is where the highly expensive hotels are looking out onto central park. But on the upper west side on the red line are the cheaper and safe areas to stay. HI hostel and the Broadway hotel come to mind. I managed to get a 2-bed basic dorm for $20 dollars each a night. They are a 15-minute ride into town but it is worth the commute. But the best deal place is the international student centre on 88th west street. I have stayed here multiple times. Except from the stairs which nearly made me faint the place is warm affordable, friendly and has a great atmosphere. It is literally right next to the blue line that goes to JFK and into town and a stone throw away from the natural history museum.

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Transport

The underground is a bit grotty but is the best way to get around. Taxis are ok but not worth it and there is uber but there is so much traffic its not worth it and you can get an unlimited ride card for 32 dollars. Be aware and safe on the trains. Also, it can get unbearably hot on the lines. If you are leaving and you have time left on the card, donate it to a homeless person to help them out. Homelessness is a big issue and it is due to poor welfare systems. These people could have been ill and it made them bank rupt or just need help so be friendly and sometimes a good will gesture of food will make their day. OR horse and carriage is an option, just saying

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Food

There are so many places to eat. If you want something cheap there are hot dog vendors everywhere for about 2 dollars. Be wary of the kebabs sold of these. There are loads of restaurants to eat at but if you are on a budget try some of the smaller diners or cafes where you will get your moneys worth. My favourite place is Max Brenner’s chocolate bar for burgers and then fondue!

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Budget sites:

Grand Central station

This station is easy to get to on the underground. Its main hall is stunningly decorated but hidden in the tunnels are the whispering arch ways. You can literally stand in the comer, whisper into the wall and the person on the opposite side will hear all your secrets!

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Central Park

You could spend the whole day in this place. There is so much to see and so many movies to tag. Not only that you can row on the boat house lake for as little as 6 dollars for an hour. In the fall there is also ice skating and in summer Shakespeare in the park, games, music and so much more.

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Brooklyn Bridge

This is a must do. You have to get the red line just over the water and walk back across the bridge. It takes about half an hour as it gets really busy but it is the best photo op you will get and the views of the Manhattan sky line are amazing.

 

Coney Island

I haven’t been there myself. But this is effectively the beach and theme park area of New York which is at the end of the train line. Definitely worth a day visit.

Monica’s Apartment.

Just off St Christopher’s inn on the red lien is a really nice area in which the outside of Monica’s building was filmed. Ross’s is across the street and Phoebes down the road. It is worth having a look just for the sake of it. I had a great time posing outside of it.

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The flat iron building

Have a good look for this one as it is hidden in the south part of Manhattan but this building and the area around it have barely changed since the 1910s. The building is an iconic symbol of New York and you can picture Spiderman swinging past.

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Times square

This is the centre of the city and the tourist district. Covered in lights and screens you will barely notice when it gets dark. Though there is nothing to actually do here you need to come and visit and have a look round for the sake of it.

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9/11 memorial

This is a very sobering and beautiful area in memory of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack. There has been a museum opened since I visited. But there are these amazing fountains in place of where the buildings stood with all the names of the victims carved into the side.

Intermediate priced Attractions

Museums
New York is home to many amazing museums such as MOMA, MET and the natural history museum. These aren’t expensive to get in but can add up. IF you have a student card they can be as little as $17 dollars. I think the natural history museum is definitely worth seeing. These however do have free entry days but the lines can get long so go early.

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Rockefeller and Empire State building.
You have to go up at least one of these buildings to get the iconic view of the Manhattan city skyline. Both have their pros but I recommend Rockefeller which is faster, has more space and you can see empire and the statue of liberty. This one also allows you to stay up longer and get a view of the Christmas tree.

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Statue of Liberty

The statue will take you half a day as it does require a boat trip and long lines on either side. You can go right up into the statue but it is just as good seeing her from the outside. You can also hope over to Ellis island to see the immigrant’s museum which is really interesting.

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Pricier activities

Broadway Musical

Broadway show is a must do but the prices can be ridiculous. I have seen 6 Broadway shows but I saved up for them and got rush tickets. It is worth seeing one as there are a lot of shows that don’t run in the UK and it is always a talking point. They are booked out every night though so book in advance. (go to magical musicals to see what I attended.)

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Helicopter ride

This way you get a private tour around the city with the best views but it is $400 dollars for 30 minutes so I don’t know if its worth it.

Macys shopping

I f you have the money there are plenty of places to go shopping but the most expensive places are on 5th avenue. I accidentally ended up there and had a look round and everyone was nice to me but the customers didn’t look so thrilled about me in my hoodie.

Overall this city is a dream to visit and should have a good week planned to get around everything. I met some amazing people there and I would love to go back again one day but it is expensive to get there, go around and return. I got really good flights and lived off a budget but I think this is the place to go when you can spend a little bit of money to really make the most of it. The city is changing so quickly I wonder what the skyline will be like in 10/20 years. The people are lovely, welcoming and always happy to help. Go see what it can offer you!

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