NYC on a student budget
It seems like everyone at Student Flights HQ is in a New York state of mind right now. It's like a tag team of travellers with people jetting off to JFK swiftly followed by dollar bill-wielding colleagues hot on their Trans-Pacific heels. Just let's not mention the team members left in the office pleading for cheap cosmetics and a Magnolia Bakery cupcake to be brought back for a taste of the Big Apple. Such is the year-round allure of New York City.
We've detailed the 10 ways to see New York on a budget before, but clearly we never tire of swapping tips and tricks to get the most out of your NYC vacay. One of the best things about New York City is that you can spend hours simply walking the length and breadth of Manhattan, not to mention the other four boroughs, and never get bored. On top of this, there's plenty of activities to keep you entertained while travelling on the cheap there.
The Staten Island Ferry
Who doesn't know about this steal of a tour? The Staten Island Ferry is a free service run by the City of New York that was initiated to move residents between Staten Island and Manhattan. For tourists, however, it’s like a free romantic mini-cruise and gives you the most perfect view of the entire cityscape and the Statue of Liberty. In most cities you’d pay for this kind of view.
One of the quintessential stops in NYC is always Times Square – it’s central and a buzzing place to kick start a trip. The neon lights and the billboards are dazzling and you instantly feel as though you’re on a movie set. This is a great place to get the NYC adrenalin pumping.
The entire Sydney CBD could be placed within Central Park for an idea of the size of this iconic green space. For some time out in the big city, wandering through the sprawling green of the park, seeing the skyscrapers in the distance and watching the locals at play is pretty special.
Wall Street and Trinity Church
Near the corner of Wall Street and Broadway is one of the most stunning churches in Manhattan. Pop inside and take in the beauty and calmness of Trinity Church before experiencing the frenetic energy of nearby Wall Street – it’s intense, but well worth a visit.
The Top of the Rock or the Empire State
We've listed these together as both give you a sprawling view of NYC (and the Empire State Building is obviously iconic), but you can actually see the Empire State Building from the top of the Rockefeller Center so it feels like you’re experiencing a little more of the city. Although entry is not too expensive (tickets are $US 27 each), don't do both. The choice really comes down to experiencing the Empire State or actually seeing it. Your call.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein. Students of art on a budget should allocate a small portion of your holiday funds ($US 25) for a visit to MoMA, which is quite simply one of the best museums in the world for contemporary art. You can spend a whole day in this amazing place.
American Museum of Natural History
This packs as much of a punch as MoMA but is aimed at history buffs and dinosaur lovers. There’s an earthquake room, a giant T-Rex, a blue whale and a whole section dedicated to Earth and space. Geeks can rejoice here for around $US25.
And for something a little different:
If you book ahead online (around four to six months) then you can get yourself on the list to see TV shows that are recorded live in NYC. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon would be at the top of our list. You won’t be told who the celebrity guests are until you’re in the queue on the day but you can be sure that on a production like The Tonight Show, they'll be worth the wait.
But wait...there's more.
Tip: If you fancy seeing all the sights, a NYC CityPASS ($US 109) will save you lots of money on admission fees plus you can skip the ticket queues. Want to save even more cashola? If you're a full-time student, teacher or aged under 26 - mazel tov! Just for being your wonderful self, you can save serious moolah on your New York airfares with our exclusive Black Market Flights deals!