Affordable choices make NYC possible
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 23:10
After the midterms and the mid–semester papers subside, it’s the perfect time to get away. Going home for the weekend is well and good, especially if a queen–sized bed and home cooking are the kind of therapy you need. But sometimes independently traveling to different locations can be just as necessary to your mental health. With Boston right around the corner, New York City often gets over looked as a viable weekend destination for student travelers.
Yes, bus tickets to New York City are more expensive, and there is the matter of accommodation for an extended visit. But the truth is, you can make it anywhere on a budget. For example, if you book a month ahead with Megabus, you can purchase tickets for a very reasonable rate. Even cheaper are the tickets through the SUBOG Broadway trips, which always give students the option to only buy bus tickets. With transportation settled, the next decision is whether to stay for one day or a few days. If your schedule permits you to stay for a few days in the city that never sleeps, you can always book a night or two in a hostel. Despite popular belief, hostels are incredibly cheap, running between $40 and $60 a night, and well–maintained. Don’t let the horror movies spook you into paying an astronomical amount for a room in Times Square. Hostels are safe and used by many international student travelers. Aside from hostels, there is the option of “couch surfing,” or booking a space on someone’s couch for free. Couchsurfing.org is a safe and free service that sets travelers up with willing hosts in their destinations. To do couch surfing safely, travel with a group of friends and make contact with your host prior to your arrival. Many hosts have space for up to four guests, so travel in numbers to ensure your safety.
After all the endless travel arrangements and planning, it’s time to set your agenda for the city. The sights of New York City are memorable, but with the price of popularity and worldwide fame comes a complimentary hefty price tag. Going to see the Statue of Liberty might be a worthwhile experience, but on a clear day you can see Lady Liberty from the deck of the Staten Island Ferry, a free, all–day ferry service that provides stunning views of the city skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Ellis Island. The museums of New York are also a must-see, and as a student you are granted free admission. The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts many of the world’s most important and valuable pieces of art and the American Museum of Natural History hosts numerous fascinating exhibits. Conveniently located on the fringes of Central Park, the museums are accessible and close to many other fun attractions. Music buffs can enjoy a stroll through the park in search of Strawberry Field and the tribute to John Lennon, located on Central Park West between 71st and 74th Streets.
Not everything in New York has to be uptown. Union and Washington Squares provide great spots to people watch and embrace New York’s more underground culture. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, the Union Square Farmer’s Market takes over the intersection of Broadway and Park. The Washington Square Park area is home of many vintage and second stores, as well as the home of the birth of iconic musical figures Bob Dylan and The Velvet Underground.
Don’t be daunted by price tags in the city. There are plenty of affordable ways to hit up the fine points of New York City. So take a break, forget Homer and Late Night and head to the city for a mid-semester change of scene!