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Enjoying New York City on a Budget
Getting to Know NYC


View of Statue of Liberty from out on New York Harbour. One of the many things you can enjoy cheaply or free in New York City

Introduction

In this section, you'll learn the Manhattan street system, the major neighbourhoods, transportation basics, and a suggested great way to start your visit to New York City. You'll also get help choosing accommodation and learn key safety tips.

This information should help you feel comfortable exploring New York City on your own.

Topics include

New York City orientation: starting on the water ("Surfing the Big Apple" below)

New York City orientation: learning about Manhattan neighbourhoods

New York City orientation: understanding Manhattan's street system

New York City orientation: using New York City transportation

New York City orientation: visiting the Statue of Liberty


New York Visitors Bureau

After arrival stop by the NYC & Company information centre (1 212 484-2000) at 810 Seventh Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd streets, just north of Times Square.

NYC & Company is the official New York City visitors bureau.

This office hands out helpful advice, maps, and information sheets daily. It's easier to stop by than to reach it by telephone. Be sure to ask for Manhattan bus and subway maps.


"Surfing the Big Apple" — Starting on the water

When planning your trip, think of New York as a waterfront city with a great harbour and—in the summer—great beaches nearby.

You easily orient yourself to the water when visiting Hong Kong, Vancouver, Rio, Cape Town, Sydney, etc., but may forget to do that in New York City, which is a shame.

At anytime of year, start your New York City by going out into its harbour in order to view its spectacular skyline and exciting waterfront.

Taking the Staten Island Ferry from the tip of Lower Manhattan to Staten Island is the traditional way to cross the main harbour. This combines easily with a visit to Ground Zero and the Wall Street area.


New York Harbour cruises

Circle Line harbour tours are sold at most major hotels. There are more.


"Sun, surf, sea, and sand" — New York style

You may find it hard to think of New York City as a beach front resort, but in some ways it is.

Coney Island in Brooklyn features an in you face often very crowded, somewhat grungy, but nevertheless fascinating urban beach experience near the main Russian immigrant area, which is easily reachable by subway from Manhattan.

You don't go to Coney Island to relax. This is more like an historic carnival on a beach.

Modern American beach and boardwalk culture started here in the late Nineteenth Century. Even the American version of the hot dog was invented here.

Free thinking New Yorkers snubbed the prudish "beach costumes" worn until that time that covered nearly all their bodies—as Americans have ever since. At the time it was all very shocking to most Americans.


Better beaches await

The most well-known beach resort near New York City has to be Atlantic City. Doc V gives you an a review of it in the link.

There are far less urban and less crowded beaches convenient to NYC.

However, you'll find less urban beaches than Atlantic City's in and near New York.

In summer, by far the easiest and quickest to reach is via Sandy Hook in the New Jersey section of the Gateway National Recreational Area. That involves just a ferry ride from Manhattan to near the entrance to New York Harbour.

This trip is discussed via the link above.

Go on to learn about Manhattan's neighbourhoods or New York City day trips.

Others >

New York City orientation: understanding Manhattan's street system

New York City orientation: using New York City transportation

New York City orientation: seeing the Statue of Liberty

Safety

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