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How To Do New York Without Blowing Up Your Savings

How To Do New York Without Blowing Up Your Savings

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Anyone who’s ever travelled to New York will tell you the city is not cheap.

You want a cocktail? It could set you back AUD $30. A (proper) coffee? $8. Brunch can easily set you back $70, especially if there are drinks involved. Add on the entertainment you likely want to experience, and you’ve spent a small fortune.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

As someone who lives in NYC, I can tell you, there are ways to get the best of the city without the offensive price tag. You just need to know where to go.

Here are my five insider tips on visiting the Big  Apple for (much) less.

Prioritise free New York tourist attractions

Believe it or not, you can see the very best of this city without paying a cent. In fact, all my favourite sights cost precisely nothing.

A walk through Central Park? Nada. A stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Brooklyn Bridge Park? Zero.

A trip on the Staten Island Ferry to take a peek at the Statue of Liberty? You guessed it! Nothing.

Meanwhile, an old converted railroad line, now a park known as the High Line, will give you exceptional photo ops in Manhattan for zilch. And if you’re visiting Williamsburg in Brooklyn, you can nab yourself a free glimpse of the New York skyline from East River State Park or any one of the many rooftop bars in the area.


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Chasing the sun

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Get yourself a great (but cheap) meal

Drop the McDonalds bag, now.

If you want to save on food, know now that you do not need to compromise on taste (no offence, Maccas).

There are tonnes of affordable eateries in the city.

Let’s start with the obvious: a New York slice. There are about 500 million (I made that number up) pizza places in New York, many of which are excellent. My favourite is Joe’s Pizza, which has locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. A plain slice (which will be the size of your head) goes for about AUD $4.

Vanessa’s Dumpling House is another must-visit, with noodles, pancake sandwiches and (obviously) dumplings costing less than AUD $10 each.

If you’re after Middle Eastern food, Mamoun’s in Greenwich Village is your best bet. Here you can get your hands on some fresh falafel for about AUD $5. It’s also open ‘til 5am. Do with that information what you will.

And if you’re after a slightly fancier experience, keep in mind that many restaurants offer oyster happy hours throughout the week. Lower East Side fave The Ten Bells does a daily special featuring AUD $1.50 oysters and carafes of natural wine for about AUD $22.


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why everything dark mode these days? including the weather and my life. iphone night vision is a game changer thooo

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Find yourself some budget-friendly entertainment

Yes, tickets to a Broadway show can be costly. But that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the razzle-dazzle of New York’s performing arts scene.

Firstly, keep an eye out for Broadway Week promotions. This is a twice-yearly special where you can grab two-for-one tickets to selected shows. The Broadway Collection also suggests booking well in advance to nab a bargain.

Beyond that, there are literally hundreds of options for cheap or free performances across the city at any one time.

The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn hosts a free comedy night on Sundays (it was started by Hannibal Buress), and She Makes Me Laugh is a hilarious monthly show in the Lower East Side featuring women and non-binary comedians. Tickets for that are about AUD $20.

Music fans will not be left wanting, either. Bars like Apothéke in Chinatown and St. Mazie in Williamsburg also have live bands playing throughout the week for free (it is encouraged that you tip, however).

Check out world-class art, for free

If you want to get your cultural fix by visiting New York’s many museums, there is a chance you’ll end up spending a fair bit of coin. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

The Museum of Modern Art offers free admission to visitors every Friday between 5:30pm and 9pm, meaning you can visit one of the most popular museums in the city for nothing.

New York is also home to some seriously impressive street art. Make your way to Brooklyn and check out the Bushwick Collective for an outdoor gallery made up of some of the city’s best. It’s also free to see.

Get your steps up

It may seem obvious, but costs creep up fast when you’re taking cabs everywhere. New York is a big place, yes. But most areas are very walkable. Save money by making your way around town by foot or where necessary, by hopping on the subway for under AUD $4.

And before you roll your eyes, believe me when I say: strolling around the city’s streets is the best way to get a sense of New York.

Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to have enough leftover cash to buy that overpriced Yankees cap you’ve been desperate to own for years. You’re welcome.


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The streets of Brooklyn look better covered in snow. Hoping for more days like this

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(Lead Image: Joe’s Pizza / David Cain on Unsplash) 

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