How to save tourists in New York: personal experience and lifehacks
I have been to New York four times. She spent a month there in total. At first it seemed to me that this is an extremely expensive city. On the first trip, I gave 200 $ for a taxi tour and for the same two nights in a hotel. I liked New York and thoughtlessly spent money was a pity.
Then I learned to save and not deny myself pleasure, writes Antonid Pashinin for Journal.tinkoff.ru. Now I know how to go to museums for free, have a hearty meal on 4 $ and ride over the city without spending the 200 $ helicopter.
Spent on a trip to New York for a week in 2018 - $ 1205
- Air ticket - 450 $
- Accommodation - $ 290
- Food - 220 $
- Shopping - $ 100
- Entertainment - $ 60
- Unforeseen expenses and souvenirs - $ 43
- Transport - 42 $
New York is a city that never sleeps. There are thousands of opportunities to have fun. You can ride the cable car directly above the city, go to a Broadway musical, look at the skeleton of a tyrannosaur in the American Museum of Natural History, or climb the crown of the Statue of Liberty. After visiting New York it seems to me that I have been in several countries at once.
Entertainment in New York is expensive. On average, a ticket to a museum or a zoo will cost 25 $. But budget tourists know how to save on entertainment: once a week, most New York museums are allowed free of charge or offer the option “pay what you want” - pay what you wish. This means that the guests themselves call the price. So you can buy a ticket for 1 — 2 $. There is no single preferential day - every museum has its own one. The ideal option to see everything and save on tickets is to spend at least a week in the city.
On the subject: How to save in New York on transport and entertainment
Pay what you wish tickets are only sold at the box office for cash. I advise you to wait in line for 15 — 30 minutes before opening.
For the rest of the day, see the sights nearby or explore the surrounding areas. In Harlem, you can listen to jazz, in Soho there are trendy galleries and cafes, and in Little Italy, the Godfather-2 was filmed. In Chinatown live visitors from Asia, in Brighton Beach - from Russia. All areas are colorful and interesting, so I like to walk on them - with or without a guided tour.
Here top attractions mapwhich can be viewed in New York in a week.
When to fly
Local residents are advised to go to New York in early autumn, spring, early or late summer. In winter it can be too windy and cold. In summer it is hot and humid, and the sun is too aggressive. In 2018, I flew to New York in June. The sun burned so that the protective cream did not save, and I was burned.
In my opinion, the ideal month for travel is September. I spent autumn in 2015 and 2017 in New York. The sun was not aggressive. The city was warm and pleasant, I walked in summer dresses.
Visa and insurance
Visa. I received a US visa three times: in 2009, 2010 and 2015. Every time I flew to America alone, there were no problems with issuing a visa. In 2010, I was late for a week in the States. When I received the visa at 2015, I honestly told about it in the questionnaire and explained the situation to the consular officer at the interview. The following visa was given for three years.
In 2018, the consulate in St. Petersburg closed - now it is more difficult to get a visa. The embassy works in Moscow, the consulates in Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok. The visa fee is 160 $. List of required documents specified on the website of the consulate.
At the consulate or embassy can not carry any electronics: phone, chargers, headphones. Full list of prohibited items published on the official website. The problem is that there are no lockers in the consulates and the US embassy. Therefore, it is better to leave the equipment at home or under the supervision of a friend. Otherwise, at the last minute you will have to pass it on to unknown people or bury it under a tree.
Insurance. Every trip I buy medical insurance. Once again I do not want to risk: medicine in America is expensive. Last time, insurance for 16 days with the amount of 50 coverage 000 $ cost me 2165 rubles (34 dollars).
I take a small first-aid kit for the trip: medicines in America are also more expensive than in Russia. Many drugs and products are sold only by prescription after an examination by a doctor. If I take the pills prescribed by the doctor, then I buy them in Russia and just in case I take a prescription for medication so that there are no problems at customs.
To pay in America, I issued a dollar card. So I don’t worry about double conversion and I always know exactly how much money will be written off. In America, almost everywhere they accept bank cards and there is a paypass. I have a regular chip card, but most Americans prefer to pay for purchases by touch.
On the subject: 14 rules for tourists visiting New York
Cash is also needed. They are needed to pay off at a cafe in Chinatown, buy food and souvenirs from street vendors, tip guides and taxi drivers, buy tickets of certain categories in museums. Just in case, it's better to take around 200 $ with banknotes.
In stores and restaurants, prices are exclusive of taxes - you will have to pay more on 8,875% when you buy. Clothes and shoes worth up to 110 $, medicines and products are not taxed.
I search for flights to the USA on aggregators. I usually buy six months before the trip: closer to the date of departure tickets are getting more expensive. In the summer, tickets for the route Moscow - New York - Moscow cost from 30 000 P (475 $) and higher. In the spring and autumn, they are cheaper on 60-90 dollars.
I like to buy tickets with a long transfer in Europe. So for the price of one air ticket, I visit two countries. For example, in September 2017, I flew with an eighteen-hour transplant in Amsterdam. During this time, managed to walk around the city, spend the night in a hostel and even visit the museum.
Most European airports require a Schengen visa to enter the city. I usually have a Finnish Schengen. Petersburgers just get it: if there is a registration in the city, do not even need a certificate from work.
Road from the airport
I always fly to John Kennedy Airport, or JFK. The city can be reached in different ways: by subway, bus, shuttle, land train, taxi. The cheapest is by bus. I use the Airtrein aeroexpress and the metro, because this method is fast and inexpensive.
AirTrain is a train without a driver, running between the terminals of the airport. Travel at the airport is free.
Airtrain terminal stations at the airport are Howard Beach and Jamaica. They are connected to Howard Beach and Sutphin Boulevard & Archer Avenue MRT stations. If you enter or get off at them, the ride on the Airtrain becomes paid - $ 5. Another $ 2,75 will cost a one-time metro ride.
The bus is the cheapest way to get from the airport to the hotel and vice versa. The fare is 2,75 $. Buses depart from Terminal No. 5, where the Airtrein arrives. There is no need to pay for entry and exit from the Airtrein at this station.
I went by bus to the airport twice. It was inconvenient: on the way I had to make two transfers, and the luggage had to be carried. I spent on the road about 50 minutes more than I would have traveled by metro and Airtrein. In my opinion, the bus is suitable for thrifty and leisurely tourists.
The LIRR ground train goes from Jamaica Station to Manhattan. Prices depend on the final stop of the route and travel time, during rush hour - more expensive. For example, to Penn Station metro station a ticket will cost 7 — 10 $. Another 5 $ will have to pay for the "Airtrane". Travel time - 20 minutes. Schedule and prices can be viewed at the official website.
Shuttles are minibuses that carry several passengers. They are paid and free. As a rule, free shuttles belong to hotels near the airport and ride after tourists by agreement.
Paid shuttles are like comfortable minibuses. They can be reached with other passengers to popular hotels. Traveling by shuttle is 7 times more expensive than on a bus. For example, a car ride from the airport to the Penn Station subway station in Manhattan costs 21 $. Back in 2 — 3 $ will cost tips. Trips recommend booking in advance. on the shuttle site.
A room in a modest hotel in New York is on average $ 900 a week or more. A room with a shared bathroom in a mini-hotel can be found cheaper - for 600 $.
On Booking.com you need to carefully watch the conditions. The cost of some rooms includes a city tax - 3,5 $ per night, but does not include a sales tax of 14,75%. It happens that both taxes are not included. In this case, the amount at check-in will be significantly higher than indicated on the site.
I save on accommodation, so I live in hostels or rent a room through Airbnb.com. Usually book rooms for three months. In January - February, low season, many hostels reduce prices.
I look for hostels on the sites of Hostelworld.com and Hostels.com. It is cheaper to settle in a multi-bed room, where 2 — 10 beds. A week in a hostel costs 200 — 300 $. Additionally, the sales tax will be written off - 14,75%, plus the placement tax - 3,5 $ per night. This amount will be added to the check during registration.
As a rule, the fewer people in a room, the more expensive it is. The most expensive option is an individual room or a double room with a double bed. The Q4 hostel is 65 — 75 $ per night per person plus taxes, you can only book for two.
In June 2018, I booked a bed in an eight-bed room in the Q4 hostel on 7 nights for 290 $. The price includes taxes. There is a clean, fresh renovation and an interesting design; it takes only 10 minutes to go to Manhattan. But the rooms are not the best: there are no curtains on the beds, there is little free space. Some guys complained that they could not sleep because of the noise of the overground metro. But in the hostel is fun: every week in Q4 spend evenings of karaoke, games and comedies.
In September 2017, I lived in Central Park West Hostel. It is located near the Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum. Most of the rooms are doubles; accommodation costs 50 $ per day plus taxes.
I recommend to take a small castle for a trip. It is useful to close the closet with valuable things in the room. In hostels they are sold for 4 — 6 $.
From the photographs, it seemed that the hostel made an excellent repair. But it turned out that the hostel is old, dirty and shabby, cockroaches ran around the rooms. I talked to the administration, and they moved me to a better room, but there were cockroaches there too.
On Air-en-bi you can find an inexpensive room within 40 — 70 $ per night. Prices may vary depending on the season. In 2015, I rented a room in a house on Staten Island. For two days I paid 95 $. The room cost 35 $ per day, 15 $ - cleaning, 10 $ - services of Air-en-Bi. In 2019 prices remained at the same level.
Mistress Emma was pleasant and sociable. On the day of my arrival she showed me the house and brought a basket with shampoo, a toothbrush and useful trifles. The room was cozy, but the trip to Manhattan took about an hour. At first it was necessary to get by train to the ferry, then by ferry to reach the subway and only then go further. I do not recommend staying on Staten Island for a long time: such trips tire. But for a few days this is a great option to take a break from the bustle of New York and explore the island.
In September 2017, I rented half the room in a house on Hancock Street in Brooklyn. For each day of their stay I paid around 25 $, the collection of "Air-en-bi" was still 8 $. In 2019, housing costs the same. I shared a room with another girl. On the beds were covers with locks, and valuables I cleaned in the closet lock.
Owners often serve complimentary breakfasts or snacks. The hostess of the house on Staten Island, Emma, baked a banana cake in the morning, cooked eggs, left a jar of oatmeal, raisins and canned pineapples on the table. When I left, she gave me food in a container and did not take money for it.
Many homeowners allow guests to use the kitchen. This is usually spelled out in the rules of the house at Air-en-bi. If not, it is better to check with the owners. In the house on Staten Island, you could use a microwave and a refrigerator, heat water for tea and coffee, but it was impossible to cook. In the apartments in Brooklyn, guests were allowed to cook, but they could not use the oven.
Rent a room will appeal to those who want to learn more about the lifestyle of New Yorkers. In America, I lived with a businessman, an artist, housewives, a translator and a student. Each person and the house was interesting in its own way. Emma told me a lot of useful things about the island, subways, buses and museums. For me, communicating with the hosts is also a way to practice English.
But homeowners come with fads. For example, when I lived in Washington, a vegan mistress asked me not to defile her plates with meat and fish - I had to use disposable dishes. With the rules of the owners have to put up if you do not want problems. It was interesting for me to live under other laws for some time, so I didn’t care about such requests.
In New York, I use only public transport: it is inexpensive and convenient. If I come to the city for more than three days, I immediately buy the unlimited travel card “Metrocard” for 7 days. It costs 33 $ and allows you to ride the subway, buses and cable car without limit. In fact, Metrocard operates as Petersburg “Plantain” or Moscow “Troika” and costs 1 $.
The card is sold in cash machines and cashiers in the metro. In the future, it can be replenished at any station.
Metro. The New York subway is the largest in the world in terms of the number of stations: their 472. It works around the clock. To navigate the subway is not as difficult as it seems at first glance. The main thing is to have a map at hand. I take the paper from the cashier at the station, it is free. If you want an electronic version, you can download on the official website subway, choose a route in the "Google Maps" or use applications like "Citymapper».
The main difference between the New York subway and the Russian one is that on both sides of the same platform, trains often travel in the same direction. To go in the opposite direction, you need to go to another platform.
In New York, two types of trains: express and local - local. Express trains miss a number of stations, so they travel faster than local ones. Signs, scoreboards, and announcements of arriving squads will help distinguish one from the other. Sometimes one train goes to different parts of the city. On the train and map they are marked with different letters or numbers.
On the map, white dots indicate stations where all trains stop. Black - stops only local trains. Express stations are missing. Metro and bus map can be download on the website of the transport company MTA.
At some stations there is no transition between platforms. To get on a train that goes in the opposite direction, you will have to go outside and enter through another entrance, that is, pay twice. Such stations can be found on the plate at the entrance. It says that only one type of train stops there: Uptown only or Downtown only. If it says Uptown, the trains go higher on the map relative to my station, Downtown - lower on the map.
Even if you carefully studied the map, you need to read and listen to ads in the subway. Speakers often report that a station is temporarily closed, and trains have changed their route or do not go at all. Once I spent half an hour at the station and only then noticed an advertisement that the train would not stop here today.
The subway is dirty. On the ways of garbage and puddles, a couple of times I saw fat rats. At the station in the Bronx, teenagers shamelessly threw empty cups on the rails. But over time, I stopped noticing it. It is also very stuffy on the platforms, but on the contrary, air conditioning works on the trains, and it is comfortable to be there.
Staten Island Railroad. There is no metro on Staten Island - it is replaced by a railroad that consists of one line. The ticket is paid for "Metrocard" and costs 2,75 $. A transfer from the train to the subway or bus is free for two hours; routes indicated on the carrier's website.
If a passenger travels by bus to Staten Island Railroad, two more transfers are free for him: first to the train, and then to the subway in Lower Manhattan or to buses M5, M20, M15.
Buses. A single ticket costs 3 $, travel on the "Metrocard" - 2,75 $. To pay for it, passengers enter through the front door and insert the “Metrocard” or coins into the reader. Sometimes you need to buy a ticket in the terminal at the bus stop.
Under the "Metrocard" you can transfer from the bus to another bus, from the subway to the bus and vice versa for free within two hours from the moment of payment for the first journey. If a passenger has bought a one-time ticket, he can transfer free of charge only to another bus. To do this, during the fare payment you need to ask the driver for a transfer card, in English - transfer.
Stops are rarely announced, so it was difficult for me to navigate. I downloaded the MapS-mi app for New York in advance: it shows the location even without an internet connection. So I watched where I was going. For reliability, I asked the driver or passengers to say when my stop would be, and they always helped me.
Cafes and restaurants
On average, I spent on food 15 — 25 $ per day. But sometimes it came out more expensive. I usually cooked breakfast myself, occasionally - dinner. She always dined in the center: it was inconvenient to return to the apartment or hostel through the whole city. To save on food, I bought food at points in street food, Chinese cafes and self-service establishments.
Street food. Although there is a lot of money spinning on Wall Street, it's cheap street food. My typical breakfast at the Sky Cafe kiosk is average 1,50 $ coffee and cream cheese bagels for 1,50 $. Sweet pastries cost 1,25 — 1,75 $, a small cup of oatmeal — 2,75 $.
Right on the street are tables and chairs. There you can leisurely eat breakfast, watching as serious men in business suits rush to the stock exchange.
List of buffets:
A cafe. In New York, a huge number of cafes and pizzerias. The cheapest pizza - for a dollar per piece - is sold even in Times Square. I remember most about pizza with artichokes in Artichoke Pizza. The piece costs 6 $, but the price is justified: I tried this pizza and no other one impresses me.
In the popular Max Brynner cafe, half a chocolate pizza costs 10,5 $, a cup of hot chocolate - 7 $, salads - 15 $, pasta with cheese - 16 $.
Chinese food in Chinatown is a treasure trove for budget travelers. In many low-cost restaurants, for 4 — 7 $ you can buy soup, rice, or noodles with vegetables and meat or seafood. In some places, free green tea is served.
In the cafe Mei Li Wah sell delicious sweetish buns with meat or lotus paste for 1,20 $ apiece. They are popular among New Yorkers - regulars buy them in boxes. In the Japanese street food cafe Yaya Tea onigiri with salmon is 2,50 $.
In Chinatown, street vendors sell relatively inexpensive exotic fruits and vegetables. For example, 450 grams of litchi costs 2 $, 450 grams of pitaya is about 4 — 6 $. Finding merchants is very easy: they sit with boxes of fruit on the street.
Restaurants Lunch or dinner in a restaurant will cost at least 20 $. For dinner at Emporium Brasil, I paid 40 $ with taxes and tips. Water in cafes and restaurants is free. When I was Americans asked to fill the bottle, and the waiters never refused them.
Tips in New York are required. They make up at least 15% of the order in cafes and restaurants. Americans often leave more. If you pay for food on the card, the waiter will give a check in which you need to enter the size of the tip in the Tip box, specify the total amount with the tip and sign. Tips from my card were not immediately written off, but for several days.
In some restaurants, service is included in the price of lunch and no tips are expected. This is usually indicated on the menu or on the check. If you want to buy a dish in a restaurant, but there is no desire to pay for the service, I recommend ordering takeaway food. In the stalls on the street tip is not necessary, but if you want to encourage chefs, you can throw a couple of dollars in a special bank near the cashier.
I buy food in supermarkets, for example Whole Foods. In New York, they come across on every corner. This network specializes in organic products without harmful additives and trans fats. Even in "Hole Foods" sold ready-made dishes. They need to be folded in a cardboard box and weigh at the checkout.
These stores are considered expensive. But lunch here is cheaper than in a restaurant, and food will be healthier than in a fast food cafe. 450 grams of salads and hot dishes cost 10 $. Small cup of soup - 4 $. I took the soup and a bit of everything: baked chicken or pork, mushrooms, broccoli, guacamole. 11 usually paid for this — 12 $.
The shops have toilets and a dining area with tables and chairs. There are also racks with microwaves, spoons, forks, napkins, spices, mustard and mayonnaise. Many dining areas have drinking fountains.
Trader Joe's supermarkets are popular with New Yorkers. Products are cheaper in them than in Hole Foods, but the choice of organic food is less. Here is what I bought at Trader-Jos:
- can of nut paste - 2 $;
- 2 tuna cans - 4 $;
- bundle of asparagus - 2 $;
- four bananas - 1 $.
On my last trip, I bought a liter of almond milk for 1,99 $ for breakfast, a bottle of kefir for 2,99 $, muesli for 4,39 $ and a piece of cheddar cheese for 3,99 $. She brought a pack of tea bags from Russia. That was enough for five days - one homemade breakfast cost about 2,7 $.
With me I always took a thermos with tea, coffee or water. You can always replenish water in drinking fountains in parks, museums and large stores. As a snack, I bought fruit: a pack of strawberries for 3,99 $, a pack of dried cranberries for 2,49 $, four bananas for 0,76 $, a pound of lychee for 2 $. This allowed me to eat healthy food and save about 10 $ per day.
Sometimes I cooked dinner. In the hostel, I baked chicken in the oven and ate with tomatoes, boiled asparagus and sandwiches with guacamole — enough for three dinners and one lunch. The cost of each was about 5 $.
Museums and parks
American Museum of Natural History. The ticket costs 23 $, it includes the standard exposure. A ticket with a visit to additional shows and expositions will cost 33 $. For example, in September 2018, one could watch a space show about the history of the Universe. Paid exhibitions are constantly changing.
The option “pay what you want” is valid every day at any time. With a ticket for 1 — 2 $ you can see the main sights: dinosaur skeletons, 28-meter blue whale model, Lucy's australopithecus skeleton and dioramas - stuffed animals. I went to the museum on a ticket for a dollar and spent there the whole day: so much interesting can be seen. An hour before closing the museum was allowed free of charge.
In the Museum of Modern Art Masterpieces of 20 century painting are kept: one of the versions of “Dance” by Matisse, “The Constancy of Memory” by Dali, “Water Lilies” by Monet. Even in the museum a huge number of works of contemporary art. Some installations shocked me frankly, such as a bathtub filled with gurgling mud.
On ordinary days, entry costs 25 $. On Friday, 16: 00 to 20: 00 is free. If you have time, during this time you can visit the cinema at the museum. They show classics, art house and films of young directors. Free ticket give at the box office. Schedule better check in advance on MOMA site. It's great that this movie is without popcorn: it is not accepted to eat and drink in this cinema hall.
Metropolitan Museum, or MET. You will have to pay full price for visiting MET - 25 $. But it's worth it: it is one of the largest art museums in the world. It contains masterpieces from different parts of the world, European painting, medieval art and much more.
In the museum you can join the excursion, which is carried out free of charge by employees. I recommend to visit the tour dedicated to the pearls of the collection. Each guide has his own route and a list of major masterpieces.
Solomon Guggenheim Museum - an unusual museum of modern art. Visitors climb to the top floor of the building by elevator, and then go down the twisted stairs.
The ticket costs 25 $. On Saturday from 17: 00 to 19: 45 at the box office, you can buy a ticket for any cost at the request of the visitor. Employees accept cash only.
9 / 11 Museum dedicated to the September 11 attack. Among the exhibits are a crumpled fire engine that worked at the site of the tragedy, the last column of the World Trade Center and the belongings of the dead. The interactive hall presents portraits and biographies of victims of the terrorist attack. Being in this museum is not easy - some can not hold back tears. The ticket costs 26 $. On Tuesdays from 17: 00 is free.
In the Museum of the moving image talk about cinema, special effects and video blogging. Here you can see unusual exhibits from famous films, such as Freddy Kruger's sweater or a mask from the same film. The entrance ticket costs 15 $. Every Friday from 16: 00 to 20: 00 attendance is free.
Tours I like to look at New York through the eyes of the locals. To do this, I go on excursions, which organizes Free Tours by Foot. With them, I visited Harlem, Chinatown, Little Italy, Soho, walked around Central Park, the night city, met the ghosts of the Brooklyn Bridge and visited food tours.
Guided tours are free, but participants pay guides tips. This is usually around 10 $. Reservations must be made in advance. I recommend a night city tour. And for those who want to see everything at once and not afraid to walk a lot, there is a tour "New York in one day". It lasts six hours and passes through famous areas with lunch on the market in Chelsea. After the tour you are very tired, but it is worth it: it was thanks to the tour that I saw how contrasted the city was. The guide paid attention to various details that during the independent walk I would not see.
Viewing platforms. Many tourists climb the Empire State Building. A ticket to the 86-th floor of the observation deck will cost 37 — 39 $, depending on the season. To visit the 102 floor, you have to pay 57 — 63 $.
The observation deck is also on the seventieth floor of the Rockefeller Center. A tax ticket costs around 40 $. Approximately the same is the ticket to the One World Observatory. An elevator takes visitors to the 102 floor in 47 seconds.
I was in Empire State in 2009. This is a memorable sight, but year after year the price of the ticket grows. You can not spend money on viewing platforms, but instead buy a cocktail or a glass of champagne in a bar with a panoramic view.
The Statue of Liberty located on Liberty Island. Ticket on official merchant site Statue Cruises costs 18,5 $. You can also get to Ellis Island, where the museum of immigration is located. The ticket price includes a trip by ferry to the islands and back and a visit to the museum with an audio guide.
If you buy a ticket a month before the trip, for the same 18,5 $ you can also book a visit to the pedestal of the statue. It houses the museum of the history of the creation of the symbol of New York. Three months before the trip, you can buy a ticket with access to the crown of the statue. It is more expensive than usual on 3 $. You will have to climb on foot along a spiral staircase - this is a test for the hardy. I was only on the podium.
When boarding the ferry inspect, as in the plane. Double screening awaits those who have booked a visit to a pedestal or crown. Metal things, food and drinks can not be carried into the statue. Have to throw or leave in the storage chamber. I had a metal thermos with me, I paid 2 $ for its storage in the cell. There was no need to buy water: there are drinking fountains on both islands and in museums.
The Statue of Liberty is made of copper. But the metal oxidized, and it turned green. There is a version that the face of the statue is the face of the mother of the author of the monument, sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. The Statue of Liberty wears 879 size sandals by American standards.
Bronx Zoo - the largest in the USA: it occupies 107 hectares. In the zoo lives more than 6 thousands of animals. It was here that, for the first time in America, animals were freed from their cages and placed in open enclosures.
The zoo consists of thematic zones, in each of which live different animals: “African plains”, “Congo gorilla forest”, butterfly garden and “Wild Asia”. Not everyone is able to get around the zoo on foot, so the shuttle runs around the territory - a special bus that carries tourists.
The Total Experience ticket for 36,95 $ gives you the opportunity to visit all the zones and attractions of the zoo and ride the shuttle. It can be paid at the box office or buy online at the zoo site. The 22,95 $ General Admission ticket provides access to major expositions and is sold only at the box office. On it you can see birds, reptiles, lions and rhinos. On Wednesdays, the General Admission ticket is free, but the zoo asks visitors to donate some money. Access to other thematic zones and a shuttle ticket will have to be bought, each ticket costs 6 $.
I was at the zoo on Wednesday. I looked at pink flamingos, heron and giraffes, then I bought a ticket for 6 $ and rode a monorail in the “Wild Asia” zone. It is laid on top, like a surface metro: the only way to see some animals. Looking at animals from the monorail is more interesting than walking around the enclosure. For 20 minutes, I saw an elephant, a rhinoceros, a tiger and other animals of wild Asia. Monorail booths are built so that visitors can see everything in front of them.
New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is a huge forest inhabited by birds, hares and squirrels. You can also find fancy dwarf trees, metasequoises, and a rose garden where 650 rose species bloom from May to October. Free excursions and yoga classes are held in the botanical garden. Excursion Schedule there is on the site.
Weekday visit costs 23 $, on weekends 28 $. The ticket gives access to all the pavilions of the garden. All day on Wednesday and from 9 to 10 on Saturday morning, the entrance to the park is free. An additional fee is charged for the entrance to the greenhouse, riding on the tour bus and visiting exhibitions.
Cable car and ferries
Cable car Popular entertainment in New York is helicopter riding. You can forget about it for the budget tourist: the flight costs from 200 $. Inexpensive ride over the city can be on the cable car to Roosevelt Island. The ride is paid for by the Metrocard; shuttles arrive every 7 — 15 minutes.
Water cruise costs from 20 $ and up. For 2,75 $ you can ride on New york ferry. This is a public transport that passes through the East River. The ferry has several routes to Wall Street with stops. On board food and drinks are sold, there are sockets for charging equipment.
Another option is a boat trip - free ferry on Staten Island. On the way there is a view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. The ferry leaves from Whitehall Terminal. The nearest metro station is South Ferry.
Broadway - the theater district of New York. Without viewing the musical, the experience of visiting the city seems to me incomplete. A visit to the Chicago and Phantom of the Opera musicals will cost an average of 40 — 200 $, prices for Evil and The Lion King start from about 100 $. The cheapest tickets are instantly sold out.
Unsold tickets for musicals are sold at the box office of the TKTS organization with a discount of 20 — 50%. The ticket office is located right behind the steps in Times Square. At TKTS you can buy tickets only on the day of the show. In 2015, I bought a ticket to the Chicago musical for 71,50 $. It was written on the ticket that the discount was 50% of the initial cost.
The organizers of the musical “Evil” hold a lottery among the spectators. A standard ticket to a good seat costs around 150 $, and lottery winners can buy it for just 30 $. To do this, you need to come to the theater "Gershwin" two and a half hours before the beginning of the performance, write the first and last name and give it to the employee. An employee of the theater will collect leaflets with the names of all the lottery participants, throw them in a hat, and then pull out the names of the lucky ones. 26 seats are played out in total, you can only buy a ticket for cash. I won this lottery in 2017 year.
- From the JFK airport you can reach the city on the Airtrein and subway. It is faster than the bus, and cheaper than the shuttle.
- Buy a Metrocard unlimited pass for a week: it's cheaper than buying one-time tickets. Metrocard operates in buses, subways and cable cars.
- Almost every museum can be visited for free or with donations. Plan your visits - and visit museums for free or for a couple of dollars in special hours.
- Do not neglect street food and explore Chinatown: there is delicious and cheap. If you take takeaway at restaurants, you can not pay a tip.
- In New York, tap water is potable. Water in the bottle can be recruited from drinking fountains. These are in museums, parks, shops.
- To save on the show, you can buy tickets at the box office TKTS or participate in the sweepstakes.
- All expensive tourist entertainment can be replaced with cheap counterparts. For example, budget tourists ride past the Statue of Liberty on a free ferry, rather than on an expensive boat.
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