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Cheap way to see things / recommendations in New York

London, United...
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Cheap way to see things / recommendations in New York


Travelling to NYC (Manhattan) in a few weeks with my significant other.

Just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for things to see & do there (that are relatively cheap) and tips on local things (like tipping on a budget etc).

Things that I'm going to try to do / see:

Top of the Rock - best time of day and week to avoid ques / avg prices?

Stanton Island Ferry to see the SOL from far - best time

Canal Street market - bartering / safety

Brooklyn Bridge - best time of day / week to visit

Grand Central Station

NBA game - where to get tickets?

A comedy show - recommendations / cheap way to get tickets

Bronx Zoo - Is it worth going on the free day (Wednesday).


Is $700 dollars (per person) enough for 5 days ($140 per day each) if we try and do things on a budget?

Tipping - is 10% acceptable?

Wi-Fi - Availability across NY?

Safety - Avoiding certain areas, safest times of day, safety using the subway at later times of the day

Any other advice that might be useful.

I know i'm asking a lot here but any advice would be greatly appreciated as a first timer to NY.

Thanks folks!

4 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Baltimore
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1. Re: Cheap way to see things / recommendations in New York

"Tipping on a budget"--I've never seen that phrase used anywhere. Tipping *in an appropriate amount* is a necessary and added cost of the related activity (e.g. full-service restaurant meal, taxi ride, housekeeping tip to hotel maid).

If you need to tip below generally accepted minimums to make your budget work, it's fair to say the accompanying activities are outside your budget as well.

Tipping threads in this forum always turn into opening the proverbial can of worms, but minimums generally agreed upon in NYC tend to run higher than the rest of the U.S. Figure on 20% to restaurant servers unless service is sub-par (in which case I'd be letting management know).

Note: You posted this in the New York state forum. You will get more visibility posting this in the New York City forum. https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g60763…

Edited: 14 May 2018, 21:39
Boston, MA
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2. Re: Cheap way to see things / recommendations in New York

The NBA regular season is over. Playoffs are on now. I am not ahuge basketball fan and do not know if the NY teams are involved. If they are, tickets will be very expensive. If you need to ask about "budget tipping", NBA playoffs are probably out of reach.

As you know tipping is a percentage of the bill. 10% is not acceptable. One way to avoid huge tips is to not eat at expensive restaurants ... tip $4 on a $20 diner bill, tip $50 on a $250 steakhouse bill. Also , take the subway instead of taxis and so on.

WiFi is in all Starbucks and McDonald's. It is polite to mAke a purchase if using their WiFi. I believe it is in some public spaces too, but I will let the New Yorkers answer that.

There's really no "best" time for the Statten Island Ferry, but I would avoid it during the commuter rush hours. Try to go between 10am and 3pm or 7pm or later.

You can find Top of the Rock prices here: https:/…ticket-menu

Happy Planning.

Brooklyn, New York
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3. Re: Cheap way to see things / recommendations in New York

IMO, the best time for the Staten Island ferry is at sunset. On the trip to SI, you see the sun set right behind the statue of liberty. On the trip back to Manhattan, you see the skyline start to light up as it gets dark.

And 10% tip at restaurants isn't even close to acceptable.

Edited: 15 May 2018, 00:19
New York City, New...
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4. Re: Cheap way to see things / recommendations in New York

A couple of notes:

Expect any alcoholic beverages to be much more expensive than you are used to

All prepared foods are taxed at 9% and the usual tip for a server or bartender is 20% of the price - so understand that the final price will be 30% more than listed on the menu

And agree that if you can;t afford the tip then you can;t afford to eat in that place - go someplace less expensive. Your budget should not take needed wages out of the pocket of hardworking and poorly paid wait staff. You need to save your money in other ways - or else wait until you can afford he rip that you want.

Buying a 7 day unlimited MetroCard will be one great way to save money - only $33 per person and gives you access to all subways, regular city buses and the Roosevelt Island Tram

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