Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New York City: Do It Cheaply!

(so you can save money for Broadway!

I love New York City and I have the privlege of visiting it often because of my job. My job, however, is a missionary with a Christian organization, so I am not rolling in the dough (and I am content with that). I've learned how to have fun inexpensively and there are several things in NYC that are surprisingly inexpensive. This is a small guide to some inexpensive fun in NYC. Much of this I learned in 2007 when I spent 6 weeks living and doing ministry in New York City.

Cheap Places to Eat

1. Otto Pizzeria -Located in the lower east side of Manhattan: 1 5th Ave.
I discovered this place a few weeks ago when I visited NYC. This is probably my favorite cheap dinner. Pasta dishes are $9 and pizza runs from $7-14. This is a fun place to go because it looks really nice, but it is inexpensive and the food is YUMMY. Click the link to see a menu.

2.  W Cafe - Located in Manhattan near Bryant Park and the Empire State Building: On the Corner of 5th Ave and 36 Street
This yummy deli-cafe offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, burgers-and my favorite "make-your-own" pastas. Plus, they have a variety of yummy desserts. It's walking distance from both Bryant Park and the empire State Building (it lies between them on 5th Avenue).

3. Djerden - Located in Midtown Manhattan- 221 W. 38th Street between 7th and 8th Aves.
This Balkan restaurant offers several yummy Bosnian eats, specializing in the Burek, which is a flaky dough stuffed with meat, cheese, potato, etc.

4. Gray's Papaya - 2090 Broadway at 72nd St. OR 402 sixth ave. at 8th Street
Two hot dogs and a drink for $2.45!!

5. Street Vendors-everywhere
I highly recomend trying the little carts that sell food during lunch. They are cheap (around $5-$6) and delicious-especially the falafels and chicken and rice.

Cheap Attractions

1. The American Museum of Natural History - 79th Street and Central Park West
The "suggested donation" is $16, but you can pay ANYTHING. Just go up to the counter and say "I am paying ____" I usually pay $5, but I had friends who paid $1. This place is great for adults and kids.

2. Staten Island Ferry 4 South Street
The ferry leaves every half-hour and is FREE. The ferry takes you to Staten Island, but on the way you pass and get a good view of the Statue of Liberty. It's a great, fast way to see it.

3. Central Park - It's free and there's plenty to do and see! Click on link for a list of things to see.

4. Bryant Park - also free, but not nearly as much to do. However, in the summer they host Broadway in Bryant Park, where casts from the different shows perform a few songs from their shows-and it is free! Check the website for schedule. They also screen movies for free in the park.

5. TKTS - This booth is located in Times Square and offers Broadway tickets up 50 percent off. You can only buy tickets the day-of, but it is usually worth it! Many shows are available (but not Wicked!) and it is totally worth it. I saw Spam-a-lot a couple of years ago for $30!

6. New York Public Library - 5th Ave. and 42nd Street (next to Bryant Park)
It's free and there usually are exhibitions and film screenings.

7. The Metropolitan Museum of Art - 1000 5th Avenue
Suggested donation, so you can get in pretty cheap. This museum has works from some of history's most famous artists, including Monet, Van Gough and Saurat.

8. The Brooklyn Bridge
It's really fun to walk across-and free.

Cheap Places to Shop

1. The Strand - 828 Broadway
18 miles of books! What more can you want?! This used book store sells used, rare, and some new books. They also sell really cute tote bags for $10-a perfect souvenir.

2. 34 Street and/or Grand Central Station - Near the Empire state building, there is a plethora of cheaper clothing stores including H&M, Strawberries, and Forever 21. Also, the Manhattan Mall is nearby, across the street from Macys. The same stores are located near Grand Central Station.

3. Chinatown-lower East side Manhattan
You can bargain for name brand knock-offs (and trust me, they are ALL knock-offs, even if they take you into a "secret" store or the back of a truck!) or buy NYC souvenirs. But be warned, the t-shirts are poor quality! And by poor, I mean the writing comes off after one wash.

Delightfully loving New York,


  1. Great tips! I'm taking my mom to NYC so this is really helpful!

  2. Great ideas, I hope to get there some day and now I know I will have to visit The Strand! Thanks for visiting my blog... I'm checking out yours now, love your header! :)


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