So you have decided to visit New York City and want to find the best deals to make it a CHEAP trip.
Here are some tips from a native New Yorker on deals and steals in the city, so you can make it here and not spend a lot of cash.
Do NOT take Southwest airlines to fly here. Southwest does NOT fly to NYC , but rather Islip, NY which is about 50 miles outside the city, and about $100 cab ride and 1.5 hour trip WITHOUT traffic to the city , if you have already bought a Southwest ticket. The Long Island Railroad takes about an hour from the airport via the Ronkonkoma station. Price is about $15 and then you can take a cab to your airport from Penn Station.
Once you are here, the best way around is the subway. Don't worry it is plenty safe (as is the entire city) An unlimited ride card costs $24 for a week or $76 a month. Subways are fast and safe although I would try to avoid during rush hour as they can get really packed. The Subway will get you to almost any attraction you might wish to visit while you are here. Most of the major attractions are in Manhattan where you are most likely to be staying.
Staten Island Ferry, this FREE boat ride takes you right past the Statue of Liberty and you can get nice shots of it from the boat. The Statue itself is closed and only the pedestal is open since 9/11. If you wish to visit the Statue and Ellis Island, try to show up early as the lines can get quite crowded and security is tight since 9/11.
Nearby to Staten Island Ferry and Statue of Liberty Ferry is the Ferry to Governors Island. This is free on Friday and Saturday and gives a great quite view of downtown Manhattan and the statue. The Island itself has many historic sites and is part of the National Park Service.
Other free things near the ferries are Ground Zero , the museum of the American Indian and the New York Stock Exchange. So you can spend an entire day downtown and not spend any money!!
New York is famous for the Broadway shows, these shows can be expensive, but don't fret there is a boot in Duffy Square (Just north of Times Square) on 47th St and Broadway that has Broadway shows for Half-Price. Tickets are available day of show only, but you can check out what shows were available during the last week at the TDF website.
Ok you've heard about New York City food and maybe you have heard some of the prices as well , but most locals don't eat at such places. Here is how you can eat CHEAP and experience real NYC food. Probably the best NYC food is pizza, we do not have many Dominoes Pizza here as we have local pizzerias, once you try this pizza you can never eat Dominoes again (In NYC area Dominoes has a different recipe because New Yorkers KNOW what pizza is supposed to taste like). You can have a Pizza at a pizzeria for about $15. Bagels are another NYC specialty. You have not had a real Bagel until you have eaten a Zabar's or H & H Bagels. Lenders are just garbage compared to them. A Bagel will set you back about $1.50 each with cream cheese and maybe a coffee.
Another New York cheap eats treat is the Pretzel or Knish. These are usually sold by a pushcart. These pretzels are not your normal pretzels but almost bread. A Knish is sort of a Potato (usually) pie. Its a filling of an enclosed dough. These items will only set you back a few dollars.
There are all you visit passes to many of New York's attraction. Newyorkpass is probably a good thing to get. The price might seem high, but many of NYC museums and attraction charge $10-$15 a person (The MOMA is $20 a person) if you intend on seeing everything, probably a good idea to get.
Here is a secret tip for FREE entertainment. Many authors do talks and book signings in New York City. You can see a celebrity author for free and get an autograph just for buying the book (at regular B & N prices) . These events are usually listed in the Village Voice or online at stilljohn or leecoke has a great website . You do not need to buy the book to see the author, just show up. If you cannot come to the city but would like one of these books signed, I usually carry them in my Ebay store. I have met many celebrities this way. You can check on my aboutme page of some of the pictures I have taken.
Enjoy your trip to NYC. NYC was just rated the nicest and SAFEST Large city in the US. New York has a reputation, but once you arrive you would be shocked how great the city really is. Remember NY is a big place and there are lots of people here, so don't expect the same friendliness as a small town where everyone knows everyone, but the city isn't exactly the meanest nastiest place either.