NYC On A Budget!

A brief word of encouragement

Hello Friends! Before I give some insight to NYC, I know 2020 is the strangest time and we are stuck at home unable to get out. This is the time to dream and know there are brighter days ahead where we can have our next adventure. Please stay well and hopefully this piece on NYC will have you planning your next adventure.

Some NYC Budget Planning

I have been to New York City more than once, taking in all the tourists sites with glee. When my cousin suggested we go back, I quickly agreed but wanted to discover NYC beyond the tourist trek and on a budget. Finding some good hotel options, along with some budget friendly walking tours we started counting down the days until we would arrive New York City.

Where to Stay

Deciding to stay central in Manhattan, we stayed at the Hilton Hotel, Times Square.  Based right in the middle of the Theatre District on 42nd street.  Ask for a high floor and a view of the Empire State Building.  Looking out over the city from the 44th floor was better than paying for any busy viewing location.  From my room, I could see the Statue of Liberty. I was treated to cotton candy skies at Sunset, and lights started to provide a glittery reflection as the sun went down.  The hotel was modern but beware of busy elevators getting to and from the lobby.  As the hotel requires one set to get to the reception on the 15th floor before taking the next set to your room.  A minor inconvenience to pay when the views are some of the best in the city!

Discovering New York City by Foot

Having varying interests in discovering New York City, we had planned some walking tours that were friendly to the budget but provided us an opportunity to learn about art, food and some history.  The art galleries and street art of lower Manhattan were first on our list.  Using a company called free tours by foot (which is a pay as you feel service), we met up with a local artist who opened our eyes to the various street art, graffiti, and galleries in Lower Manhattan. Describing the history of Street Art through the decades, including paintings, to activism to advertising, Covering the area of SOHO to the Bowery, we learned how the area used to be dangerous but is now the home to many celebrities.  Artists had filled the area in the ’80s for low-cost rent and studio space but now, of course, will cost a pretty penny to find a place.  The tour was interesting for all of us, from those interested in history or to those more captured by the art on display.

The following day, we took a food walking tour of Little Italy. What once covered a bigger area is now being overtaken by Chinatown which continues to expand in size.  From Mulberry to Broome street the Italian restaurants and brick buildings were like exploring a time gone by. Aleva cheese shop is the oldest in America and its fresh Mozzarella was the best I’ve tasted.  On the walking tour, we also enjoyed Lombardi’s pizza- the first pizza shop in America and the only place allowed to use a coal-fired oven on the Island of Manhattan. 

Only taking 5 minutes to cook, the cheese is bubbly and the toppings fresh. Wrapping up our foodie tour, we had a cannoli, one of my favorite Italian treats.  A fried dough shell, with sweetened ricotta cheese in the middle it was the perfect end to the tour.

Neighborhood Hopping

On our final day in New York City, we decided on brunch in Greenwich village.  With the city sleeping in, wandering the streets of New York mid-morning on a Sunday morning was a treat.  Traveling by subway, we found ourselves at Rosemary’s. The restaurant was bustling but we were able to get a table without a reservation. Offering a variety of brunch options from eggs to paninis, there was something for every taste. The interiors were delightful with white honeycomb tiles, wooden chairs and tables with greenery to bring in a bit of nature. Helpful service, beautiful interiors, and good food, it was New York City brunch at its finest.

Deciding to see another part of the city, we grabbed the subway and headed into Brooklyn. The weather that day was perfect, with full sunshine and bright blue skies. We found ourselves in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) right on the water and enjoyed the view towards Manhattan. We stopped out the Time Out Market, a renovated industrial building holding four floors of restaurants and shops. My favorite part was the roof deck, perfect for gazing at the Brooklyn Bridge and soaking up the sun.

Just around the corner at the intersection of Water and Washington streets you’ll find a view that’s popular on social media as it provides a perfect backdrop of the Manhattan Bridge. Watch out for cars but there’s plenty of room for you to take the perfect snap!

Discovering new corners and parts of the city, we frequently discussed how we could live here.  We found the pretty side of New York, it’s brilliant street art, delicious food, and local neighborhoods. There’s something for everyone and New York is truly one of America’s greatest cities.

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