Low Budget New York

  • © Tim Kelly

Want to visit New York but can't flash the cash? Here are Marco Polo's top tips to get the best out of the Big Apple without spending a wedge:


Free museum admission

Entry to The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is free every Friday afternoon. The museum’s collection of contemporary art is phenomenal and its special exhibitions are outstanding. Many regard the museum as the worlds best because it gives the visitor a conclusive overview of 20th century art thanks to masterpieces such as Henri Matisse’s Dance, Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair and Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Opening times: Sat–Mon, Wed, Thu 10.30am–5.30pm, Fri 10.30am–6pm | 11 W 53 St | Between Fifth Ave and Sixth Ave | Entrance free Fri 4pm–8pm otherwise $20 entrance fee | www.moma.org | Subway: 47–50 St, B, D, F, M


The ferry not to be missed

Perhaps the most inexpensive experience you can have in New York is the round trip on the Staten Island Ferry. When it pulls away from the shore you get to see the full sweep of the Manhattan skyline from the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and on to New Jersey – all for free. On the other side of the ferry the view is of Brooklyn, New York City’s biggest borough.

Every 30 minutes during the day (every 15 minutes in rush hour), hourly 11.30pm–6.30am | South St/State St | Subway: South Ferry, 1 (only the first five front carriages of the train.)


Dining on a budget

City Bakery: vegetarian buffet with some innovative flavour combinations. Daily 7.30am–7pm | 3 W 18th St | Tel. 1212 3 66 14 14 | www.thecitybakery.com | Subway: 14th St–Union Square, L, N, Q, R, 4–6


Degustation: Tapas at reasonable prices. Mon–Sat evenings only | 239 E 5th St | Tel. 1212 979 10 12 | www.degustation-nyc.com | Subway: Astor Place, 6, Second Ave, F, M


Dogmatic: With its wooden tables set against white tiles, this hip snack bar near Union Square serves hot dogs and hamburgers made from organic meat. Choose from turkey, pork, beef, chicken or lamb. 26 E 17th St (Union Square West) | Tel. 1212 414 06 00 | www.eatdogmatic.com | Subway: 14th St–Union Square, L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6


Schnitzel & things:  This mobile food truck with its mustard coloured logo parks in a different New York street every day! For its sumptuous deepfried cod, chicken and pork chops track it down at www.schnitzelandthings.com or on Twitter. Mon-Fri between 11.30am and 2pm | Tel. 1347 7 72 73 41


Tai Thai: Authentic Thai food at Bangkok prices! 78 E 1st St | Tel. 1212 7 77 25 52 | www.taithainewyork.com | Subway: Second Ave, F, M 


Free Concerts and Exhibitions

An excellent repertoire of jazz, world and eastern European music is on offer on the tiny stage at Barbes jazz club and bar in Brooklyn’s Park Slope – admission is free. Excellent live music, good acoustics and an eclectic mix of patrons of all ages have elevated this small gem in an excellent location in Brooklyn to cult status. 376 9th St (Sixth Ave) | Tel. 1347 422 02 48 | www.barbesbrooklyn.com | Subway: Seventh Ave, F, G


World Financial Center - This complex of buildings on the southernmost tip of Manhattan across from Wall Street comprises office blocks, shops, apartments (Battery Park City), an imposing conservatory (Winter Garden), yacht harbour and green areas. The Winter Garden has a variety of restaurants and shops not to mention free concerts and exhibitions. Information: ‘events calendar’ of www.worldfinancialcenter.com | West St | Between Vesey St and Liberty St | Subway: Chambers St, A, C, J, M, Z, 1, 2, 3


Free tour guides

Big Apple Greeters are enthusiastic New Yorkers who volunteer to show tourists their city in their spare time – free of charge. These very personal tours through Manhattan or Brooklyn are very popular and it is a good idea to book well in advance. Tel. 1 212 6 69 81 59 | www.bigapplegreeter.org    


Free Newspaper

The free weekly newspaper the Village Voice is the city’s events calendar with comprehensive arts and culture listings. Look out for the red boxes at the side of the street and in some cafés. www.villagevoice.com


Keep fit!

Even though you find yourself in the concrete jungle you can still keep fit – just remember to pack your trainers! Jogging around the reservoir running track in Central Park or through Prospect Park in Brooklyn is an experience in itself. There is also the new Hudson River Park located on Manhattan’s West Side where you can either jog, cycle or rollerblade along the waterfront all the way from the southernmost point to far north of the island. In summer you can swim for free in the municipal pools in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan (www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/pools) and in winter you can go ice skating in Central and Bryant Parks and at the Rockefeller Center. Many of the parks offer free t’ai chi and yoga courses in summer www.bbpc.net | www.bryantpark.org  


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