You know that old cliché “the best things in life are free.” Well sometimes it is true and sometimes not. Lets just say that mostly people enjoy getting things for free. Whether it is a free sample at the supermarket, free panties from Victoria’s secret, a free trip (provided you listen to a timeshare sales pitch), or even a free re-fill of coffee at Starbucks.
Living in or visiting NYC can end up costing you a bundle if you want to go out on the town and have some fun. Think about it all of the museums, shows, tourist attractions and what not is not cheap. For example getting a ticket to the Empire State Building Observatory costs $27 per adult and $21 for a child. Add the taxes and fees and it will cost $107.02 for a family of four (2 adults & 2 children). That is just crazy.
By the time you get up there with all of the crowds the visibility could be horrible and you might not get to see anything. That is just way too much money to pay for a view. In my experiences living in NYC I have come across some alternatives to shelling out this kind of money. Here are some of my tips for free fun in NYC:
1) Take a Free Ride on the Staten Island Ferry: That’s right you can take a 30 minute cruise (each-way) on this Orange ferry for free. The ferry leaves from lower Manhattan at the Whitehall Terminal (also known as South Ferry) every 30 minutes. Check the schedule on their website for exact times of departures. The ferry leaves Manhattan and cruises past Governors Island (another freebie) and then passes by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. You get some great views of the Verazzano Bridge in the distance and all of the cargo ship activity in the busy port of NYC. The journey to Staten Island takes about 30-minutes and the ferry is very comfortable. You can sit inside or stand outside on one of the several decks. When you get to Staten Island you can either rush to catch the ferry going back to Manhattan or you can hang out a bit in the St. George Terminal. There is a pretty cool 1600-gallon salt-water tropical fish tank in the terminal.
2) Governors Island: Right next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal in Manhattan is the Governors Island ferry terminal. The ferry to Governors Island is also free. Governors Island is a 172-acre island that was opened to the public in 2003. There are some old military sites and buildings on the island as well as a 2.2-mile bike path, mini-golf, picnic area and more to explore. During the warmer weather months various festivals are held on the island so check out their website for more information.
3) High Line: The High Line is a public park built on historic freight rail line that is elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. It is open from 7am to 7pm daily. It gets a bit crowded on the weekends during warmer weather but it is a great way to check out Manhattan. Trust me on this one you wont regret checking out this unique park.
4) New York Public Library: Located at 5th avenue and 42nd Street in Midtown East you cannot miss this gem of NYC. The NYPL is a tremendous building that is as long as a city block. Thousands of people pass this building every year and sit in front and take pose for some photo ups. But how many of those people actually venture inside? For those that do they are in for a treat. The first time I walked into the library I was in awe. First of all the enormity of the library is pretty daunting not to mention the architecture of the building. I suggest you check it out for yourself.
Now I just mentioned four of some of the many free things to do while visiting NYC. There are many more gems out there and please don’t feel slighted if I didn’t mention your favorite one. If I did this article would be about 4 pages long. Hope you enjoy my suggestions and I hope you will share some of your own.