Relax in NYC: On the Cheap

There are so many ways to spend money in New York, but I wanted to share some ways to minimize the money spent and still have a relaxing time.


Relax in NYC: On the Cheap

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on February 23, 2009

I have visited New York with various amounts of money in my bank account. I know anyone who goes to NYC can easily find ways to spend money, I just wanted to add some options on how to go there and not spend as much money.

Walking around and taking pictures is an easy way to save your money. As is visiting any of Ray's Famous Pizza shops or one of the corner hot dog stands. These all make sense to the budget conscience. I wanted to highlight some of the activities that are maybe not as obvious. I know there are hundreds of ways to stay cheap in NYC, and I can only offer a few.

You Must:
Eat a slice of pizza
See the Statue of Liberty
Do something you saw someone do in the movies (Central Park is a great place for this)
Try to get tickets to see David Letterman
Do the NY Times crossword puzzle while eating your bagel at breakfast
See a Broadway show
Walk across the Brooklyn bridge
Go to a museum
Bring a magazine or a book to read while you are in the subway
Eat something Italian in Little Italy
Buy a bag in China Town
Go to an outdoor market and buy homemade jelly or candles.
Sit outside of the Plaza Hotel and count how many people walk by you in 1 minute. ${QuickSuggestions} Many museums have free-times to visit. For example, the Museum of Modern Art is free on Fridays from 4pm to 8pm.
The Metropolitan Museum is suggested admission. That means if you don't have the money to pay for it, you can give them less money and they will still let you in. (Later in life when you do have money you can give them extra to make up for the difference.)

Get tickets to the television shows taped in NYC. There's David Letterman, the Daily Show, Conan O'Brien, and more. (David Letterman films two shows on Thursday -Thursday and Fridays show- it is easier to get in if you do what you need to do on a Thursday.) Stand outside of NBC studios to watch a taping of the Today Show.

Hang out in one of the public libraries and read about the history of NYC while sitting in historical NYC. Tickets in Times Square offers discounted day-of tickets to popular theater shows. It also doesn't hurt to walk right up to the ticket window of the show you want to see to see if they have any cheaper seats available. Bring a bottle of water and a map, you will get thirsty and you will get lost at some point of your trip.${BestWay} Many museums have free-times to visit. For example, the Museum of Modern Art is free on Fridays from 4pm to 8pm.
The Metropolitan Museum is suggested admission. That means if you don't have the money to pay for it, you can give them less money and they will still let you in. (Later in life when you do have money you can give them extra to make up for the difference.)

Get tickets to the television shows taped in NYC. There's David Letterman, the Daily Show, Conan O'Brien, and more. (David Letterman films two shows on Thursday -Thursday and Fridays show- it is easier to get in if you do what you need to do on a Thursday.) Stand outside of NBC studios to watch a taping of the Today Show.

Hang out in one of the public libraries and read about the history of NYC while sitting in historical NYC. Tickets in Times Square offers discounted day-of tickets to popular theater shows. It also doesn't hurt to walk right up to the ticket window of the show you want to see to see if they have any cheaper seats available. Bring a bottle of water and a map, you will get thirsty and you will get lost at some point of your trip.

Cosmopolitan Hotel

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on December 10, 2006

Affordable hotel in a great location of New York City that is clean and has a private bathroom?!? SIGN ME UP!

Why I love this hotel
I've stayed in several areas around New York and I love all of the areas and hotels I have stayed at. But, there is something about this Tribeca hotel that makes it the place I go back to whenever I go back to New York. I think it probably has something to do with the fact that I can stay there and still afford to SEE New York. I have never paid more than $150 and in return I get a comfortable, clean hotel.

Location
It is located at the Chambers Street subway station stop off the 9 train. And I mean, RIGHT off the Subway Station stop. If you've walked 5 feet and haven't seen the hotel, you are looking in the wrong direction. It's a straight shot to Times Square on the Subway. It's also within walking distance to Century 21, the cheap and popular shopping destination that has been featured on "America's Next Top Model." There are also little eating choices near by. There's a Jamba Juice right across the street, a small convenience store and a few blocks down the road, a Mail Boxes, Etc. The hotel is not near popular NYC attractions, but it is easy to get to those areas. This means there aren't a lot of tourists walking around, which is good for some people. If you like to take in a little bit of everything the city has to offer, this hotel is great. If you prefer to stick to the area of town you know you love, then don't stay at this hotel unless Tribeca is the area of town you know you love.

The Room
The Room is spotless and tastefully decorated. It's been recently renovated. I had a double room, which was one double bed and there was basically enough room for the bed and us to walk around the bed. I didn't mind because it's New York and I didn't plan on spending too much time in the hotel anyway. The bathroom was also spotless, and small.

My VALID complaint
The elevator is way too slow. In a city that is known for being fast-paced, their elevator is a joke. To add to it, there is only one. And to make it even worse, this isn't an elevator that holds many people. Request a floor on a lower level and take the stairs!
Cosmopolitan Hotel
95 West Broadway
New York, New York, 10007
(212) 566-1900

Bar None

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on December 12, 2006

New York City has many choices for having a great evening with friends. If your friends are between jobs or you just aren't interested in being part of some trendy scene, but you still want to have a great time - go to Bar None.

MONEY First, there was no cover. I don't know for sure if it's like that every night, but the Wednesday night we went it was free. The drinks-cheap. I know I drank a lot. I know I bought a lot of people drinks. I even bought strangers drinks. When I woke up the next day and checked my bank account, there was still money in it. That's a great sign.

DRINKS Yes, the drinks are cheap. They are also very good. I don't spend money on drinks if they aren't enjoyable.  

THE "SCENE" Some people were wearing dry-clean only clothes, and some people probably didn't know what a washing machine was. Anything and everything was acceptable. All age groups were represented and all music styles were available. Everyone was laid back. It was an amazing environment that I've never seen in my hometown. People who seem to have no reason hanging out in the same bar were happily hanging out in the same bar. There was also a celebrity there. No one bothered him, because that's just the way it is. Overall, I felt that Bar None exemplified a cheap and relaxing NYC evening experience. It was comfortable, unpretentious and enjoyable. I'm scared to even post this message because I want Bar None to feel the same the next time I'm in the city.

Bar None
98 Third Avenue
New York, New York, 10003
(212) 777-6663

South Street Seaport

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on December 17, 2006

I know what you are probably thinking. How can someone consider the South Street Seaport a relaxing, cheap option in NYC? Well, allow me a moment to explain.

What is South Street Seaport?

South Street Seaport is filled with history and is now a tourist destination. Tourists came here because the area is home to some of New York cities oldest buildings. Renovations have encouraged more tourist visits because there is now a mall, restaurants, museums, and boat tours. Besides the mall, it is reminiscent of Old New York. The added value of South Street Seaport is that there are street performers and its on the East River location makes it an ideal place to catch the Brooklyn Skyline.

Museum and Shop

South Street Seaport Museum Family fun giving visitors a look back into NY's history. Admission: $8 adults; $6 students/seniors with ID; $4 children 5-12; children under 5 and Museum Members free. On Mondays, admission for adults is $5, seniors and students $3, and children age 5-12, $1.

Shop. There are typical mall stores like Bath and Body Works or Abercrombie and Fitch. There are also New York focused boutiques where NYC themed art is for sale. There is a little bit for everyone

Why is it cheap? How is it relaxing?

Here's where I offer advice. If you go into the shops and window shop your way right past all the stores and food places, there's a deck with a bunch of deck chairs where you can sit to your heart's content. Here you get a great view of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge. The deck chairs are comfortable and this is probably one of the best places to catch up on some reading, take in the sites or just RELAX. And it is absolutely free.

Last bit of advice: FOOD
NYC is known for its great restaurants. I would have to say that South Street Seaport is not a place to eat. Like any mall in America, the food options are boring and highly priced. I did eat at the Irish pub and was highly disappointed. The sandwich was two pieces of wonder bread with about 1 1/2 inches of the saltiest turkey I've ever tasted piled inside. Mayonnaise rounded out the sandwich. No lettuce, no tomato. Every bite of this sandwich burned my mouth. It was that salty. As a side item, I choose potato salad. The potato salad was diced potatoes with mayo. White bread, white turkey, mayo and potatoes. There was no color to this dish and absolutely no flavor but salt. Please look elsewhere for your food, don't make the same mistake I did.

I recommend this area to anyone who really loves NYC and wants to see it in the closest resemblance to its history available today.

South Street Seaport and Seaport Museum
Fulton & South Streets, Pier 17
New York, New York, 10038
(212) 732-8257

Statue of Liberty

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on December 20, 2006

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated to the US from France in 1886. Its copper skin is 1/8 inch thick and has turned green through the years due to oxidation. In order to understand how large the Statue is, Lady Liberty's eyes are 2 feet in diameter and the book she carries is 2 stories tall.

There are a variety of ways you can see the Statue of Liberty. You can request a window seat on your flight and look at it from above. You can go to Battery Park and catch a glimpse of it from far away. You can take the Staten Island Ferry or you can do the Statue of Liberty tour.

Battery Park is easy enough to get to. We walked from our hotel (Cosmopolitan in Tribeca), but there are several train and bus options, for example N or R to Whitehall Street. Here you can walk along the Hudson River and see the Statue way out in the distance.

The Staten Island Ferry brings you a lot closer to the Statue and is completely free. The one-way trip is about 25 minutes. You pass right in front of the statue and can take great pictures of both the statue and downtown Manhattan. It's comfortable, but it is not a luxury by any means. You can stand outside or sit inside. There are many locals, but there is also a fair amount of "tourists" as well.

You can get here by taking many trains, for example the 1, to the southernmost point.

Statue tours. It is free to visit the Statue and Ellis Island museums. But, you do have to pay to take the ferry to get to these locations. The ferry ride is $11.50 adult /$9.50 seniors / $4.50 children. It leaves Battery Park in NY and Liberty State Park in NK. When you arrive on liberty Island there's a gift shop and a snack shop. You can purchase an audio tour of the island. Unless you've pre-purchased an in-statue tour, at this point you really only have the option of walking around the statue. They no longer let people go in the statue. It's a nice walk (if the weather is good) and it is very relaxing. Onto Ellis Island Immigration museum. The museum is well laid out. The building is large and still has graffiti from when immigrants were coming into this country. The displays give you a good feel for how it must have been to be going through the rooms. The exhibits are interesting and chances are you will leave here wanting to find out more about your heritage.

One thing to remember is Security is tight on the Island. Before you board the ferry you will go through security measures more stringent than what you experienced at the airport: x-ray machines, metal detectors, removing belts and shoes. The process and lines are long. Be prepared. Give yourself ample time. The Islands open at 9:30am and close at 5pm.
Statue of Liberty
Liberty Island
New York, New York, 10004
(212) 363-3200

Fat Black Pussycat

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on December 22, 2006

The Fat Black Pussycat is a more trendy option that is also economical.

The Scene

For those interested in the historical aspect of the club, the front room is the place to go. It is rumored that Bob Dylan wrote Blowin' in the Wind here. There are pictures from the past on the walls. I barely remember this room, it was nice. My experience led me past the front room to the very dimly lit lounge. The lounge was a perfect place for me and about 10 other people to sit on large velvet couches and chairs surrounding a table. I didn't even know if the place was crowded because we felt so cozy in our little group. The music was relaxing which made the whole mood comfortable. The lounge was very dark. Moroccan lamps provided the light and dark red, dark brown and dark black seemed to be the color of the evening. People were constantly walking by happy to take your order. When ever I got up to use the restroom, I noticed that the place was crowded. Either we were seated in an ideal location (towards the back) or the bar-owners knew a lot about bar-layout dynamics, but it just didn't feel crowded. The dress code is very simple. Look nice. No baggy clothes, pjs, t-shirts, sports clothes, sneakers or hats.

There is also a club downstairs. I didn't make it down there. From what I read, it requires an admission fee and is actually separate from the main bar.

The Drinks

The drinks were good and affordable. They have Happy Hour weekdays from 4-8pm. Their 10 oz. drinks (martinis and mixed drinks) are only $8. You can go to their website and join their mailing list to get free drinks and special. They also have something called 1/2 price drink reservations. Reserve this online and you can get half priced drinks.

Overall

It has the essence of a NYC bar. It is welcoming and unpretentious. It is comfortable. There is something for everyone. It's affordable and has great drinks, what else can you want?

Fat Black Pussycat
130 West 3rd Street
New York, New York
(212) 533-4790

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