Student in NYC: The Poor Person’s Guide

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

After an unreasonably long flight and an experience with the most hot-headed Uber driver you’ve ever met, you find yourself in a cheap hotel where you can hear the people in the next room groaning and a picturesque view of a hairy old man in a tank top smoking in an alleyway.

Instead of questioning why you are willingly in the same Country as Donald Trump, however, you lie on your hotel bed without a care in the world and acknowledge that you made it to the Big Apple!

Now that you’re here though, with endless possibilities ahead, you begin to wonder; ‘What should I do first?’ ‘Where should I go now?’ and more importantly – ‘What’s cheap?’

Well thanks to me and my infinite wisdom, I am able to tell you what the best and cheapest things to do in NYC are. So whether you’re here for one day or two weeks, listen up pal as these suggestions should definitely keep you busy.

Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Central Park. No, not ‘Central Perk’ (sorry friends fans), I’m talking about the huge park in the centre of the city lasting from 59th Street way up to 110th. Here you can recreate classic and iconic scenes in American culture from movies such as ‘Friends with benefits’ and ‘Enchanted’…

You and your loved one can also partake in ice-skating (winter) or rent a row boat (summer) for an additional small fee.

Traveller’s Tip: The boathouse is a famously expensive restaurant in the heart of the park. Not many people, however are aware that around the back of it, you can grab a lunchtime burger and fries for approx. $8. You’re welcome.


If you have finished taking all your selfies in the park, the next place to head to is the M.O.M.A.

The Museum of Modern Art has a recommended charge of $20.00, however this is totally recommended and you can just walk inside and pay nothing. Hooray. Even if museums aren’t your thing, it’s worth checking out as there’s a groovy museum rooftop garden where you can take great snaps of the NYC skyline as well as views of the park and 5th Avenue.

Speaking of great views, the Skyline is the next stop on the P.P.T. (poor people tour). The Skyline is essentially a completely unnecessary elevated path along the city which has some bushes and trees on it. I’m not sure what exactly the point of this was, but you can basically hop on and off the skyline every few blocks throughout the city and can walk along enjoying the architecture and scenery for as long as you like. Don’t get me wrong, as pointless as it is, it’s totally worth doing otherwise it wouldn’t be on this list, bro.


Next stop for those weirdos among us who actually like walking and exercise and stuff, is the Brooklyn Bridge! Of all the bridges in NYC, this is THE Bridge to be. Brooklyn Bridge (when walked from Brooklyn into the city) offers amazing views of the city and gives you the ‘hustling city life’ feel as you walk across it, seeing locals on their morning runs and me stumbling back home after a night out…

Traveller’s Tip: As much as the Brooklyn Bridge is awesome, it’s even better around sunset-evening time as the city, just like first kisses, looks way nicer with a sunset backdrop or lit up with all the lights of business men who haven’t gone home to their wives yet.

So you’re probably waiting for me to mention the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building like the overly-keen tourist you are trying not to be. Well sorry babe but this is the poor-people’s guide and those things cost big bucks. In fact, walking along the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise was 1000% better than being shoved into a tiny lift to the top of the Empire State with the entire population of China and a crying baby.


Anyway, next on the list is Union Square. Possibly one of the more artsy-er areas of the city and also one of the busier. Union Square is located around 16th Street and always has something going on. Whether it be a protest against Trump or a flash-mob, it’s a lively place to walk through or sit down with a street-vendor’s hot-dog.

Traveller’s Tip: Speaking of food, I have to let you know that Vapiano is a really cheap and stylish Italian restaurant minutes away from Union Square and you should eat here because I say so. As quoted by my New Yorker friend; ‘There aren’t many places you can eat in the middle of the city for $10 and not still be hungry after the meal.’ (Vapiano should be paying me).

Finally, the last stop on the tour would probably have to be the iconic Times Square. Yes it’s full of expensive stores and restaurants, but the centre of the Square allows for some epic photos and an epiphany-provoking vibe that makes you realise just where you are and how many other people (particularly celebs) have stood where you are right now. It’s on the maps for a reason folks.

Traveller’s Tip: Don’t make a rookie mistake and buy clothes or souvenirs in Times Square, they are honestly way too overpriced and you can get the same item from the same store just blocks away for half the price. Trust me, I checked the H&M and the Times Square store is ruthless.


In conclusion, when you go to the city that never sleeps, be poor and do most of these free and easy things  to do! (But take good pictures for Instagram and make all your friends think you’re cool and rich). You’re Welcome.



Current Location: Tokyo, Japan


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