Entry Date: 11.02.02
Title: I Heart New York City: All You Need Is $10
Author: cia b.
So let’s say you’re in New York City visiting, right? You’ve managed to snag your friend’s futon and have a place to stay without spending a ridiculous amount of money (hotel tabs run from $100 a night for a room with one bathroom in the hallway for the rest of the floor, to $499 a night at the Tribeca Grand.) You’ve saved some change you didn’t have in the first place but you still need to see the city for the least dollar amount as possible. What do you do? What do you do?
Believe it or not, you can see most of New York City in one whole day for only $10 -- that’s 520 pesos! You don’t believe me? Let’s calculate:
To get around New York City by subway, you need a Metrocard, the pass that will get you through hundreds of dirty turnstiles all over the city. A one-day Metrocard is $4 -- this is a great deal because a single ride costs $1.50, but with your $4 card, you get to use it for twenty-four hours for unlimited rides!
Change left: $6
First stop:The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET): You can easily spend a whole day in here but I wouldn’t recommend an overdose in art. At the lobby, the signs say admission is $10; true… if you don’t finish reading this column! What most tourists don’t know is that the $10 is only the “suggested” donation. Don’t be shy; hand over a dollar and ask for your entrance pin.
Change left: $5
Second stop: Central Park
You’ve got the culture down but now you’re probably groggy from walking around the MET, so I say, relax. From the museum, walk to the park and people-watch from your picnic blanket or from a bench. Inhale some history here, Central Park was the first landscaped public park in the United States after all. Grab a map and explore the playground, the Bethesda Fountain, the bandshell, the pond, and most importantly, the carousel where Holden Caulfield took Phoebe in Catcher in the Rye.
Third stop: Rockefeller Center
If you keep walking south in the park, you’ll reach the 50s where Rockefeller Center is. You can also use your Metrocard to catch the subway or the bus. Say hello to Prometheus, check out the ice skating rink and the amazing Christmas Tree (if it’s holiday season), or else go inside Kinokuniya bookstore and browse through their Japanese design books and magazines. On Fifth Avenue, you will also find St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Saks and other upscale stores.
Fourth stop: SoHo (short for South of Houston – that’s “house-ton” to you)
You’re done with uptown, midtown and you’ve worked your way downtown! More walking is required here (I told you to wear comfortable shoes, no?) and check out 560 Broadway, a building that houses small art galleries without entrance fees. Window-shop from A to Z (Adidas to Zara) and shop like a true New Yorker without spending any money.
Fifth stop: Staten Island, but just for two minutes
For the whole day, you were surrounded by skyscrapers and you’ve been craning your neck to take photographs of the buildings looming above you. But you can’t appreciate the beast until you’re observing it from far away and the best way to view the New York City skyline is from the Staten Island ferry. It leaves every thirty minutes and takes you and twenty million other commuters back to Staten Island for guess what? FREE! From the boat, you have a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty, the bridges that connect the boroughs and lower Manhattan. If you’re lucky, even the sun setting over the city. Follow the throngs of people to the exit when the ferry docks and run to the opposite side of the terminal so you can enter the same ferry again to go back to Manhattan – they want everyone off the boat before reloading.
Last stop: Chinatown
The day’s almost over and you still have $5 in your pocket. You’ve been good, so treat yourself to one of the following: a bowl of Vietnamese pho from Pho Bang, a plate of barbequed pork chop over rice from Nha Tang, roast duck from Noodletown or a rice casserole from Yummy Noodles. Don’t forget to ask for a free glass of water!
Change left: $1
Share your wealth: Tip your waiter or your waitress!
You’re tired and you’re still hungry. I have a longer list of places to eat in New York City but that’s for another time -- when you have more than $10 in your wallet, and maybe for another article.