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July 29, 2010 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Going to the city for a week! New York. Aug 12-17. Been there a bunch but I've always had money to blow. This time I'm broke. It's my birthday week and I'll be with a likewise broke grad student friend (who is a very recent transplant). Suggestions?

We'll be based on the UES. I'd like to introduce her to Brooklyn, stuff she might overlook in her neighborhood and experience some of the things I've missed while eating in all those fancy restaurants. Dive bars, random activities, stuff going on that week that I might not know about? I found freenyc.net from an Askme from '08, but I think the post itself might be a bit outdated.
posted by sarelicar to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (19 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
* Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, and down to Fulton Ferry Park. Buy an ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

* Take the Staten Island Ferry (free, and they sell beer!), and watch a Staten Island Yankees (A-Ball farm team) game - tix are $8, beers aren't too expensive. Ride the ferry there & back regardless of the game - it's an awesome 30-minute boat ride with a great view of the Statue of Liberty.

* Walk around Central Park, or Prospect Park.

* Hit the Metropolitan Museum, where the donation is a suggestion.

* Hit the outdoor pool on the north end of Central Park (it's free!)

* Hop the A train out to the Rockaways, and hit the beach (Jacob Riis park is quite nice)
posted by swngnmonk at 12:04 PM on July 29, 2010

If you want to venture into Brooklyn, take the subway down to Brighton Beach, explore the neat Russian shops, and stop into M&I International for some delicious, inexpensive Russian food. Have a picnic on the boardwalk.
posted by litnerd at 12:06 PM on July 29, 2010

Go to the public museums.
The Metropolitian Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History.

Both of the these museums have "suggested" admission prices. You have to pay some admission fee, but you can pay whatever you want. Go to the museum and pay $1 admission fee for both of you to visit.

And do not feel bad about it - it is a "suggested" price for a reason. If you are visiting NYC, and want to go the museum, and cannot becuase the admission price - that is not good. So the city and benefactors help support the museums so that people can go.

Do not rule these museums out just because you feel uncomfortable about the admission fee - pay what you want, and enjoy two of the greatest public museums in the world. Consider it the city of New York's gift to you for your birthday.
posted by Flood at 12:10 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Check out the High Line, a former elevated train track turned into an elevated linear park.

Grab a seat in Times Square and watch the tourists go by.
posted by golden at 12:11 PM on July 29, 2010

Take a trip to Coney Island, have a hot dog at Nathan's, ride some rides, and see a Cyclones game.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:18 PM on July 29, 2010

Response by poster: you guys rock! cheap shopping?
posted by sarelicar at 12:23 PM on July 29, 2010

General source for good "in teh noe" city recommendations (customizable by borough or even neighborhood) - yelp.com. For serious, even as one of the kewl Brooklyn 20-somethings you hope to pose as, I often browse yelp for new places to check out.

There will probably be free concerts and such still happening in various city parks during that week. Pick up a copy of L Magazine or the Voice, or Time Out if you want to spend a couple bucks, and see what looks free and interesting.

The Skint and Brokelyn are great blog guides to NYC on the cheap.
posted by Sara C. at 12:31 PM on July 29, 2010

Alligator in Brooklyn (L train to Lorimer) gives you a (small but) free and delicious brick-oven pizza with every pint of beer, or at least they used to. It's a good way to stretch your money.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 12:33 PM on July 29, 2010

I really enjoyed my recent walk across the Brooklyn bridge and taking the Staten Island ferry on a clear night, as others have suggested.

If you like Chinese food, take the subway to Flushing and get awesome cheap Chinese food. Bring cash and be prepared for lack of English skills.

This was in previous NYC threads, but Oh My Rockness lists shows, including an option to show only free shows.

Upright citizens brigade and Peoples Improv Theater for comedy (around $10-15).

I haven't done this, but beer tasting at Brooklyn brewery?
posted by bread-eater at 12:33 PM on July 29, 2010

Grab a seat in Times Square and watch the tourists go by.

Total waste of time.

Tourists in Times Square look just like 90% of Americans in the rest of the country. I.e. the very people you left behind to come pretend to be hip in New York for a week.

For good people watching, try The High Line, McCarren Park, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, or the most fabulous bar you can afford in Downtown Manhattan (e.g. the West Village, Meat Packing District, Tribeca, etc.). Also any subway headed for the outer boroughs. Get on a bus in Queens and count the languages you hear. Rent a bike, ride through Brooklyn to Coney Island and watch the population transition from hipsters to yuppies to Bengalis to Hasidim to auto mechanics to side show freaks.
posted by Sara C. at 12:41 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thirding the High Line, just went to Amateur Astronomy night the other day and it was great. Got to see Saturn through a telescope!

Public Enemy is playing a free show in Central Park on the 15th... there are tons of other free shows in Central Park and Union Square, too (although you'll be too late for Celebrate Brookyln).
posted by SputnikSweetheart at 12:48 PM on July 29, 2010

When you go to check out the High Line, go through Chelsea Market to get lunch/dinner for a picnic. Some of the places are expensive, but the Thai place is pretty good & cheap, and the Fruit Exchange can't be beat for inexpensive, tasty produce/snacks. The building used to be the Nabisco factory (Oreos were made there), and you can read a bit about the history as you walk through.

Other things worth doing:
* Explore Union Square Greenmarket Mon/Wed/Thurs/Fri
* Sit under a tree in Prospect Park (pretty good people watching and is a nice place to chill out after a busy morning)
* All you can drink brunch on the sidewalk (as Sarah C. noted, Yelp is the place to find all the details), but make sure you're not right up against a busy avenue
posted by weelittlemaggie at 2:21 PM on July 29, 2010

Keep an eye out on some of the local 'One deal a day' sites like Groupon or KGBDeals. If you're into planning in advance, you can snag some fun cheap eats. Recently, I pre-bought an ice cream sandwich party from the Wafels and Dinges truck for me and my co workers.

Also, check out Midtown Lunch for some great recs on food under $10. Aaand, check your memail.
posted by mrsshotglass at 2:42 PM on July 29, 2010

There are movies in various parks - Bryant Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, etc.

Bryant Park Movies

Brooklyn Bridge Park Movies

Make sure you get there early. For Bryant Park - make sure you get there REAL early. Whenever the "gates" open, a mad dash of people run as fast as they can to get good seats.

Also, if you go to the Met, there is a rooftop garden that has a cool view, especially when the sun is setting. It feels like you are sitting above the trees in the middle of Central Park. I'd say grab a cocktail at the rooftop bar, but they are pretty expensive - $10-$14.

The Brooklyn Brewery is pretty cool. I think its $20 for 5? beers. something like that .They have picnic tables inside and people order pizzas from local places and play cards. A relaxed atmosphere. But its not really "beer tasting" as it is a cool bar featuring Brooklyn Brewery Beers. Across the street from that is a thrift store that tons of hipsters seemed to be at. You might find a good deal there while waiting for the brewery doors to open.
posted by cavs33 at 4:34 PM on July 29, 2010

Date: Sat, Aug 14th
Time: 6:00pm
Cost: Free

The Beach at @Governors Island: Neon Indian
The Beach at @Governors Island is in the heart of New York Harbor, only 800 yards and a 4-minute ferry ride from the Southern tip of Manhattan. Today, Converse Presents “Gone To Governors” Live Music Series with Neon Indian! The Beach opens at 10am, so head over early and enjoy the day! Get there on the free ferry from the Battery Maritime Building.

From http://www.freenyc.net/

Check back closer to the dates and they'll have more stuff, things usually get posted like a week before.

Also, http://www.drinkdeal.com/

Directory of NYC happy hour specials, plus some bar events etc.

Final two cents, I wouldn't feel bad paying a quarter for MET, MoNH. A dollar is generous! Also, MOMA has free Fridays.
posted by amileighs at 4:43 PM on July 29, 2010

NY Public Library is free and has revolving exhibitions if you're into paper and stuff.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:03 PM on July 29, 2010

You can eat like a king for cheap at Vanessa's Dumplings.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:21 PM on July 29, 2010

Near NYU there's a dive-type bar called the Crocodile Lounge. With every beer you get a free personal-sized pizza -- and it's actually pretty good pizza too. If you go during happy hour you can get 2 beers and 2 pizzas for $6. Not bad for NYC. And the subterranean, dark ambiance is a plus if you like that sort of thing.
posted by squawk at 9:02 AM on July 30, 2010

Response by poster: These are all awesome suggestions, thanks for coming through!!
posted by sarelicar at 7:17 AM on July 31, 2010

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