December 13, 2019

Manhattan Date on the Super Cheap

Posted on March 22, 2010 by in Entertainment, New York City

Alternate Side Parking in NYC

It’s not just fools who part with their money in Manhattan — everybody does. If you’re on a date, you might as well just stay home and burn a few  $100 bills instead of stepping anywhere near the city. If you’re smart about it, however, you and your honey can do a day trip to Manhattan on the super cheap. Follow these specifics for a day full of Manhattan fun for under $19.75 per person.

Getting There

Sorry Mass Transit advocates, it’s still cheaper to drive to Manhattan if you do it right. First of all, avoid the $8 tunnel tolls if you can (sorry NJ residents) by taking the 3rd Avenue bridge from the North or any of the bridges on the East side.  Next, avoid the parking pitfall by timing your arrival to coincide with alternate side parking regulations.

I’m suggesting that you arrive where single family homes and parking is abundant — the area between 92nd and 96th between 3rd Avenue and 5th Avenue is a good place to start. If you time yourself to arrive Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday between 9:30 and 10 am, you’re practically guaranteed a space because the locals are moving their cars for street cleaning. Just pull up behind one of these New Yorkers (they’re all in their cars reading the paper) and sit there with them while eating your $2.50 “egg on a roll” bodega breakfast until 10:30 am. Lock up and put your mirror in — you can keep your car there for at least two days without risking a ticket.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Antonio Canova

High brow Culture at Low Brow Prices

Your first lesson in NYC Chutzpah will be to go to the Metropolitan Museum and, instead of paying the $20 per person fee, offer the person a quarter for your entire party. The museum is a cultural institution and therefore adhere to a suggested-donation policy…although you won’t see them advertising the fact at the ticket counter…trust me…just ask for however many tickets you want and give them whatever you want (or nothing). Since you didn’t spend $100 getting into the museum, you won’t feel like you need to stay there all day. I suggest quickly viewing the sculpture garden, including Canova’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa and the excellent mid-late 1800 century paintings. Your children might want to see the knights armor exhibit or the Egyptian mummies.

Recession Special even has it's own Wiki page

Strolling Through The Park

Next, stroll through central park and up to Belvedere Castle. The view is nice and the cost is free. On your way over to the Strawberry Fields to hang with those who are morning John Lennon, you might be tempted by a $2.50 hot dog from the kiosk vendors in the park but resist the temptation because Gray’s Papaya Recession Special is waiting for you on 72nd and Broadway.

After Lunch, take a ride on the subway, all the way downtown to Battery Park. There you will embark on the 5 mile, 25 minute ride boat ride over to Statin Island, which will provide you with majestic views of New York Harbor and a no-hassle, even romantic, boat ride, for free!  From the deck of the ferry you will have a perfect view of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You’ll see the skyscrapers and bridges of Lower Manhattan receding as you pull away and coming into focus again as you return.

After the boat ride, you should be ready to walk over the historic Brooklyn Bridge. Few things in Manhattan will be as thrilling and romantic. If you want souvenirs for the nieces when you return, you’ll find some seriously inexpensive tchotchke while on your free walking tour of China Town, especially inexpensive are the stores on Mulbery Street below of Canal Street. You’ll probably also want an inexpensive bowl of noodles for dinner.

If you still have energy and you’re looking for nightlife, head over to The Livingroom and catch the rock band de jour for the price of a drink…no cover. When you’re done, get on that 4,5,6 train back uptown to your car.  Here are the damages.

  • $2.50 egg on a roll breakfast
  • $.25 admission to the met
  • $3.50 recession special lunch
  • $4 subway rides
  • $4.50 noodles in China Town
  • $5 pint of beer at the LivingRoom

Other Inexpensive Manhattan Experience Ideas:

  • Reading Room of the Library – free
  • Central Park Carousel – $1.50 a ride
  • Pinball Machine tour
  • Museum of Natural History – regular entrance is a donation of any amount

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