After camp I was lucky enough to get some more time to spend in my favourite city, with some new friends, before flying out to Los Angeles. The camp directors gave us all money for train tickets into the city and since we’d be there anyway, and I had a few days until my Trek America tour started in LA, I thought it’d be rude not to explore NY again! This time though, as all of us had experienced the city at least once, we decided to try and do all the free stuff it had to offer. The only big things we spent money on were meals out every night.
In an attempt to save a few dollars we booked a hotel room which should have slept four people for around seven of us and kept our fingers crossed that we didn’t get caught. I’m not recommending doing this as it’s obviously against the rules but it did save us a lot of money! As it happened it ended up only being five of us that stayed in the room, which was very lucky as it was the tiniest hotel room I’d ever seen. That didn’t matter though as we were barely in it. Our hotel was in the middle of Chinatown but none of us were too keen on this Chinatown; it’s not as nice as other Chinatowns in other cities, like the one in London for example.
Anyway! As I’ve already done a three part post about my previous adventures in NYC (Part one, part two, part three) I thought I’d turn this into a post on what to do on a budget/free things to do based on the things we did and the places we visited.
Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge Park & carousel
OK, so we walked the bridge twice, once to get to Brooklyn then again to get out of it. It’s an absolutely lovely walk (if you don’t mind hordes of tourists); although I must say Brooklyn to Manhattan is much more scenic than the other way. The first time I walked the bridge we didn’t see much of Brooklyn but this time we wandered. We visited a little indoor food market/café complete with a smoothie bar, which is exactly what I envision when I think of Brooklyn. I love the quirkiness of Brooklyn, especially the ‘protect yo heART’ graffiti art that decorates many of the streets and the mini beach and carousel that seems to be there because why not? (But after further investigation I’ve found that the carousel is actually called Jane’s carousel and it was a gift to Brooklyn Park from Jane and David Walentas.It was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and it used to live in a park in Ohio before coming to New York. It has its own website and everything!). The more you know ey? I definitely recommend spending a few hours in Brooklyn. There’s always something going on around the Manhattan side of the bridge too. When we were there, there were street performers and a market.
Staten Island ferry/ Staten island–
We’d all seen the Statue of Liberty before but we decided as we hadn’t all been to NYC together before we’d see it again, but for free as we were on a budget. If you get the subway to South Ferry Station the ferry port is right opposite. Just watch out for all the people that will try to get you to book tickets on their boat tours instead. We found that even telling them over and over that we were on a budget didn’t work but telling them that we had already seen the statue got them to leave us alone, which is quite a strange reason to leave us alone considering we were clearly off to see it again. But yeah, if any of them do come over and try and sell you an overpriced ferry tour ticket just say you’ve already seen her. Also, they have a very strong tourist radar so don’t wear flip flops and hide your map. The Staten Island ferry is quite big and it was pretty empty both times we were on it, it gives you amazing views of the city, and, although it doesn’t get as close to the Statue of Liberty as the official tours, it does get pretty close- definitely close enough to get good pictures. The only thing is you have to stay on the island for 15 minutes as they don’t want people to just stay on it all day, but hey, you can’t complain as it is a free ride past Lady Liberty!
Battery park– There’s some lovely views of the skyline from here. We started right at the end in Battery Park City and walked along the river all the way to Battery Park. It’s about a twenty minute walk and it’s one of the most peaceful walks in the city, and one that isn’t mentioned much in guides. Where we began our walk there was a gorgeous little harbour and when you’re looking at it you wouldn’t know you were in such a big, bustling, noisy city. When our walk ended we found a bar in pier A and had some drinks and sweet potato fries which were actually half decent considering the poor state of most sweet potato fries in America (sorry, America, I love you, I really do, but learn how to make nice sweet potato fries would you?).
You can read part 2 here.