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longgone's avatar

What are some (almost) free activities I might enjoy in NYC?

Asked by longgone (13447points) April 22nd, 2017

I’ll be there in May. I’ve seen some of the tourist attractions, but it’s been a while so I can probably hit a couple of those again. I want to see a show, but I’d like to fill a few days with less expensive fun.

Any thoughts?

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28 Answers

jca's avatar

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a “pay what you want” policy. You can pay a dollar or you can pay 25, or more, whatever you want.

Check out Central Park. If the weather is nice, you can just hang out and people watch. Same with Washington Square Park. Any park, of course, but Washington Square Park is world renowned for eclectic people and street performers.

Walk on the High Line. I haven’t been, but it’s very popular now.

If you’re into shopping, or want NYC souvenirs, go to Chinatown. Just north of Chinatown is the Village and Soho. Funky, famouse and fun.

rojo's avatar

We had a thoroughly enjoyable time at concert given by students from Julliard. I cannot remember if there was a charge involved but if there was it was small and worth every penny; these folks are the ones you will be paying hundreds to hear in the near future.

rojo's avatar

Also, traveling the subway and observing the people is a low cost show for as long as you care to ride.
And it was fun both walking from one Irish pub to the next and drinking in them; looking for what we felt was the most authentic.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

You can walk down crime alley and get robbed.~ Or is that Gotham city. Anyway being robbed costs money so its out. I would visit the Freedom Tower.

janbb's avatar

When in May will you be here??

longgone's avatar

^ Middle to end, not sure exactly yet.

janbb's avatar

Keep in touch – I may be able to come in and meet you if you have time. Your aunty would like to treat you to lunch!

longgone's avatar

^ I would be thrilled, and I would definitely make time for that! You can meet your future nephew-in-law, too. I’ll PM you.

longgone's avatar

@jca, @rojo, @RedDeerGuy1

Thanks, great ideas! Quite a few things I can see myself doing on that list.

janbb's avatar

Central Park is great. We could go to the zoo and look at the penguins.

rojo's avatar

I had forgotten Central Park! We were there when they were setting up for the marathon.

Zaku's avatar

St. Patrick’s cathedral.

JLeslie's avatar

Don’t be thrown by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s suggested admission price that is posted (unless they changed the sign) @jca is right you can give as low as $1 to get in. I usually give $5. I think the museum of modern art sometimes has a free day, you could check the website.

You gotta eat right? You can hit some of the famous places to eat. There are three delis: Katz’s, Stage, and Carnegie. Pastrami on the with mustard would be the most basic NY item to get. Dr. Browns cream soda is also like a staple in the delis. Very sweet soda, no caffeine.

Grand Central station is iconic, it’s used as a location in many movies, you can walk around yourself, or I think there is also a free walking tour available. Also, there is an annex for the subway museum inside Grand Central that I think is free. Little bit of transportation history and you can pick up cute subway trinkets.

Talking about the subway, stand on line at the info center in a subway station and you can ask for a free map. They usually have them, once in a while you might hit one that has run out of the maps so don’t get frustrated.

There is a skyway, or I think it’s called Highline Walkway? With gardens I think, and a grand view of the Hudson River. I haven’t been through that area in years, but I know it was being worked on several years ago.

Sometimes there are free concerts in Central Park in the summer time.

I think there is a free walking tour in Central Park.

You can take the subway for the price of a single fair (probably $2.50 one way) all the way out to Coney Island (the ocean) but I don’t know if it has been fixed up or is still very run down. I could find out, or a jelly might know.

If any of those interest you I’ll get details for you.

If you like “window shopping” Bloomingdale’s on 59th street is a beautiful store to walk through. Macy’s is famous for their windows along Broadway at 34th St.

jca's avatar

If you want cheap, famous food, have a slice of pizza. There’s no bad pizza in NYC, just better and best.

JLeslie's avatar

Definitely pizza! :)

janbb's avatar

Carnegie Deli closed a few months ago.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb OMG.

Well, we usually go to Stage. Lol.

jca's avatar

Also, if you’re in Grand Central Terminal, not only are there all kinds of food places all over, but on the bottom floor there’s a whole rotunda of eateries where you can get a quick bite, slice of cake, etc.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Good point. It’s a pretty nice food court area.

Kardamom's avatar

My brother and his family went to NYC last summer. They said they ate ice cream everywhere, and it was available all over town. They said all the ice cream they ate there was incredible. We didn’t know that NY State was known for it’s dairy cows.

I would try to find a map of all the cool looking buildings and just take millions of photos. Like the Flatiron building and the Chrysler building and the diner where Seinfeld and his gang used to eat on his TV show.

PullMyFinger's avatar

If you do get to Lower Manhattan to visit the Freedom Tower, on site are the 9/11 memorial fountains (very touching) and museum (it wasn’t open yet the last time we were there, but is said to be a little…...intense…). There is a (pretty hefty) cost to visit the museum, but seeing the fountains is free….and well-worth your time.

From there, you can walk a few blocks south to Battery Park, and ride the Staten Island Ferry for free, worthwhile only because it passes right by the Statue of Liberty. Round-trip to Staten Island and back is maybe an hour (NOTE: Don’t get off to explore Staten Island unless you are a fan of landfills and apartment buildings).

Battery Park is also where you can take the Liberty Island Ferry and climb to the top of Lady Liberty’s head if you wish, or continue on to Ellis Island, which has a self-guided tour (headphones) about the millions of early immigrants who were processed through there when they first landed in this country. I think that ferry is only a few dollars…..

Have fun, and don’t be offended if the locals don’t make eye-contact.

It just isn’t done….

janbb's avatar

Have afternoon tea with an auntie!

rojo's avatar

@PullMyFinger We went there a little over a year ago and I thought one of the most amazing things was the way thousands of people can walk along the streets, going both ways and crossing from time to time, dodging cars, buses, bicycles and other pedestrians coming directly toward them, swinging past them at a faster gait or diving out of shop doors, without ever looking up from their phones or, if they were one of the few actually not on their phone they exhibited a zombie-like stare at some point into the void about fifteen feet ahead of them: seeing without seeing anyone. And yet, there were very few, if any, observable cases where citizens bumped into each other.

Yet another amazing adaptation of the human species to a harsh, unyielding environment.

PullMyFinger's avatar

@rojo Yeah, the stereotypes are well-deserved…..BUT:

I know from lifelong experience that if you are in legitimate distress, you are likely to receive better, more sincere help and care from New Yorkers than almost anyplace else in the world. That ‘zombie-stare’ is only a habitual mechanism, a signal to street-scammers of all types to “go try that shit somewhere else”.

The old cliche’ is, “If you are dying on the street, New Yorkers will step right over you”.

Absolutely false. New Yorkers are just very good at identifying the many con-artists who PRETEND they are dying on the street.

If you are in genuine trouble, trust me…..most New Yorkers have got your back, and there is no place in this world I’d rather be when my heart attack (eventually) arrives…

rojo's avatar

@PullMyFinger So true in our experience. While on our way to see some Julliard Musicians play we saw an older gentleman trip over the steps on the Lincoln Center. He hit his forehead on the step above and received a nasty bleeding head wound. When we reached him he was dazed, confused and for a short time somewhat incoherent so he was probably also suffering from a concussion he hit so hard. He was less than twenty feet away from us but by the time we got to him there were six or seven others there and more coming from all directions. Several people were already on the phone dialing 911 and within only a few minutes we heard the ambulance siren. Now the ambulance had some difficulty getting through traffic but there were a core of people that stayed with him to comfort him, keep him calm and seated, provided tons of napkins to help staunch the flow of blood and take turns keeping pressure on the wound to the EMT’s managed to fight their way through.

I have told this story many times and many times the response has been “Well, you were at the Lincoln Center, they were probably all tourists” or words to that effect but I can testify that the vast majority of voices I heard had local accents to them.

PullMyFinger's avatar

Thank you for relating that nice little story, @rojo And yes, there will always be those “Oh, they were probably all tourists” people to express a shallow, uninformed opinion from a distance.

We’ll probably never move back to New York (too damn expensive), but I know for certain that the vast majority of people there are ‘stand-up’ types, who are much greater individuals than how they’ve always been painted with that ignorant, stereotypical brush…..

rojo's avatar

^^^ met some real standup characters in a couple of Irish bars….........actually, stand up was probably not their forte but they kept that barstool upright.

PullMyFinger's avatar

Well…...you know…......that’s somethin’…....

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