Welcome to the first installment of the "I was wondering.." monthly series where I answer all your questions about traveling to and living in New York.
Where should I stay when I visit New York?
While it might be tempting to stay on the outskirts of New York (in an outer borough like Queens or Brooklyn) to save a buck- trust me when I say your trip will be so much more pleasurable when you're in Manhattan. Anything below 90th Street is fair game and conducive to having a great time. The last thing you want to worry about is getting back to your hotel or Airbnb late at night and racking up a cab bill because you couldn't figure out the subway line. Or choosing a sketchy area that's barren and takes 20 minutes to walk to the subway.
Manhattan is what you think of when you think of New York City and if you choose a neighborhood like Soho, Lower East Side, West Village, Flatiron or Midtown you'll be able to walk to a lot of things which saves money and time. The type of accommodation is entirely up to you- Manhattan does have hostels and Airbnbs. I personally prefer to stay in hotels when I travel (there's something about maid service and fresh towels) but I don't think I've seen a decent hotel room for less than $150 a night in New York. That means you might spend a little more than you thought on sleeping accommodations but in my personal opinion that's not an area to skimp on. Yes, you might only be sleeping there but do you really want to get ready and go to bed in a hole in the wall? Didn't think so. Some call it "New York charm", I just call it dirty.
Space is at a premium, even in nice hotels. This is to be expected and doesn't minimize a room's value.
There really aren't any vegan-only hotels in New York. In fact, most hotels won't have vegan food at all unless you count fruit. This is why staying in Manhattan, where there are myriad vegan restaurants and supermarkets is so important. Wake up, grab breakfast. Heading back to your room, grab a snack.
See? You're feeling better informed already.
Are there any free things to do in New York City? It seems so expensive.
While New York City is a very expensive city on all fronts (rent, transportation, food) there are so many (and I mean so many) free things to do. Here's a few:
- Wander the streets admiring the architecture; each neighborhood has a distinct style.
- Window shop, especially during the winter. The stores on Fifth Avenue spend months putting together captivating window displays for the public to ooo and ahh over.
- Contemplate your existence at one of the many parks! My personal favorites are Washington Square Park and the Hudson River Park (this overlooks, you guessed it, the river).
- While you're at a park, people watch!
- Explore the galleries in Chelsea, all free to enter!
- I'm sure you've heard of a little museum called The Met. Did you know their entry fee is donation based? Yup! This means you can give as little as a penny to gain entrance. As close to free as museums come!
- Visit the New York Public Library. Free to enter, read, hang and even surf the web with their wifi. The real treasure though is the historic decor. It transports you back to a time when people actually checked books out of libraries.