So you want to end your summer with a bang? You can’t beat a quick getaway to New York City. Though the city is notoriously hot in August, it also tends to be less crowded as locals flock to the Hamptons and upstate to enjoy the last bits of summer anywhere but here.
If you’ve already booked a visit, or are planning one in the next few weeks — or even months — there are some tips and tricks that can make your stay in NYC more enjoyable and seamless. (And actually, that’s one of them. For food delivery from pretty much any restaurant in Manhattan, use Seamless.)
Here are some tips from someone who spends every waking minute in the city that never sleeps.
NYC is expensive, but your activities don’t have to be
Yes, there are unimaginably expensive meals in New York City. (Like at Masa, where it costs close to $600 per person, and if you dare cancel a reservation, it could cost you $200 per person.) And Broadway shows, such as the ever-popular “Hamilton,” will cost you a pretty penny.
But there’s plenty you can do in NYC on a budget. Like what? Visiting Central Park is a must-do during any visit to New York. You can pay $12 for a Citi Bike day pass and pick up a bike from any of the stations scattered around the city. Enjoy a ride in the park, and then explore the rest town on bicycle for the remainder of the day.
Not into biking? You can also explore the city on foot. There are plenty of pay-what-you-wish walking tours around NYC, many of which center on downtown Manhattan, where you can see the New York Stock Exchange, the famed Charging Bull statue and the 9/11 Memorial. There are also frequent street fairs during the warmer months. They move locations each weekend, but a quick Google search can help you find one to peruse.
Cheap eats also exist in the city if you just do a bit of research. The Halal Guys have parlayed their Mediterranean street cart into a full-blown phenomenon, and they now have multiple locations around the country. Gray’s Papaya is a celeb favorite where hot dogs cost just a few bucks. Plus, you don’t want to leave New York City without trying a grab-and-go slice of pizza from Ray’s, Little Italy or any of the other quick eateries around the city.
It’s not just about The Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is NYC’s Louvre, but the city also has plenty of other museums to see. For instance, a $25 adult ticket to the Met is good for three days and gets you into The Met Cloisters and The Met Breuer.
The Museum of Modern Art is closed until Oct. 21, but MoMA PS1 in Queens is open through the summer.
But there are plenty of other museums outside of the one the city is best known for.
The Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side tells the story of the area’s immigrant history. The Museum of the City of New York is a history and art museum located near the top of Central Park. The Museum of the Moving Image, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Jewish Museum and the American Museum of Natural History (complete with dinosaurs!) are just some of the other cultural must-sees in the city.
If you really want the most authentic food, consider leaving Manhattan
Chinatown has great Chinese food, but for a seriously authentic experience, head to Flushing in Queens. Astoria in Queens is well known for having the best Greek food in the area, and Jackson Heights has long been celebrated for having great Indian food. And while Little Italy has great Italian food, Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is even better.
Exploring Brooklyn is great, but plan ahead with subway construction
If you’re spending any time in NYC, you should be taking the subway. One of the most popular things to do is explore one of Brooklyn’s hottest neighborhoods, Williamsburg.
Williamsburg is popular with good reason. It’s only a short train ride from the center of Manhattan, and gathering places like the Brooklyn Brewery and the East River Park offer great views of the city skyline from across the water. On warm weather weekends, the open-air food market Smorgasburg attracts people from all over the city.
But before you hop on the train, a note: The L train runs only every 20 minutes on weekends, so plan wisely. Google Maps can help you time out when the trains are coming. How long is this planned construction on the L train, which is a result of damage sustained in Superstorm Sandy? Locals would love to know just as much as you would. Per the MTA’s website, an alternate service plan is in place “through summer 2020,” and the work on the tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn, “which started on April 26, 2019, is expected to take 15-18 months.”
The upside is that Williamsburg is far less crowded thanks to the construction, so it actually makes for a laid-back weekend activity.
Taxi prices recently went up
One more transit tip you need to know: Earlier this year, a $2.50 “congestion fee” went into effect in Manhattan for taxi rides below 96th Street. The fees also impacted the pricing of ride-share apps like Uber, so think twice before you assume that it’s cheaper to take a cab than to hop on the subway. Plus, any trip to NYC isn’t complete without a few cramped subway rides.
Related video: Where you can save big by traveling after the summer crowds leave (Provided by Travel + Leisure)
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