I have been adventuring lately, and went to see New York! It was great fun, but a lot of the things I wanted to see and do were terribly expensive (the trick around this is to get a booklet called Citypass, which lets you see a lot of the tourist attractions for an overall discount, but this still costs over $100). Here are five of the best things I found that you can do completely free!
Central Park was my favourite thing in New York. There is so much to do and see there – there’s a lake for playing with toy boats, a lake for rowing your own (rented) boats, horses and carriages, baseball fields, a memorial to John Lennon…
The best thing about Central Park, for me, was the people. Wherever you go, there are people who want to have conversations with you – usually asking where you’re from. I met a lot of interesting people from around the US this way, and it was lovely.
Even if you don’t want to talk to people, Central Park people-watching can be very rewarding. For example, on my first day in New York I got to see this skateboarding dog
Staten Island Ferry
By the time we got on the Staten Island ferry, we’d got so used to things in America (museums, for example) costing money that we were actually shocked when we found out that this ferry is completely free. We had to double check. But it’s true! And, if you go at sunset, you can get some simply beautiful pictures of the Statue of Liberty.
The Lincoln Centre
Over the summer, the Lincoln Centre puts on a load of free entertainment and activities, including music and dance. I didn’t realise this until my last day! Seriously, go and find out what they are doing as soon as you get to New York, they had a great programme of events this summer and I am really annoyed I missed out. *grumbles*
The 9/11 Memorial
I debated over putting this on the list. On the one hand, it feels very tacky to put a memorial to such a tragic occasion on a top five list. On the other, it is a beautiful memorial, and felt like an oddly important part of my visit to the city. It consists of two square fountains, each one taking up the space of one of the towers. They are each filled with water, which flows down constantly so that you can never see where it goes (this was really difficult to describe, so if you have no idea what I’m talking about, please watch the video linked above). Around the edge, the names of the people who died in each tower are written. It is wonderful, and very, very sad.
The Brooklyn Bridge
I’ve added this at the end because it’s one of the last things I did in New York, but one which I nevertheless enjoyed. You start off in the middle of two lanes of traffic, but gradually the walking/cycling path climbs out and above it, and you get to walk out above the river on wooden planks. Some enterprising New Yorkers sell soft drinks on the bridge, and you can also learn about it’s construction (which is much more interesting that I had anticipated, and involved using a sort of zipwire).
Have I missed anything really good? Please let me know!