Any good travel guide will list the major tourist attractions, but they invariably carry the highest charges. There are, however, plenty of alternative options that are not as prominently advertised to the tourist market. Below are a number of suggestions for visitors to see a side of New York they might otherwise overlook – and all at an affordable price point!
Learn What Life Was Like For Immigrants in New York
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, 91 Orchard St. offers walking tours for $15 telling fascinating stories about the struggles immigrants faced when they arrived in New York in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. There are several tours to choose from which take visitors into the tenement buildings once occupied by immigrants and, for the most part, have been left in their timeless and original state. The first tour starts at 11am and are run hourly until 5pm seven days a week.
Alternative Culture in Bryant Park
Behind New York Public Library between 5th and 6th Ave, 40th & 42nd St. is the bustling yet peaceful Bryant Park. One of the cultural gems of New York the organisers at Bryant Park hold a full programme of events from poetry and prose readings, talks from directors and authors and a variety of other fascinating subjects. In the summer, films are shown on the giant screen as part of the HBO Film Festival which is free of charge. The film starts after sunset just before 9pm but it is advisable to get there before 7pm to secure a decent spot and enjoy a picnic. The Park also has a reading area with a small selection of popular reads and timeless classics visitors can borrow off the shelf.
The Morrison Hotel Fine Art Music Gallery, 131 Bowery, displays and sells photographs of iconic bands and music artists of yesteryear. Images include Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody ‘Mamma Mia’ diamond and The Doors pictured in the window of the gallery with lead singer Jim perched in the middle with his name ‘Morrison’ arcing over him. There is also a brilliant range of shots from the three Woodstock festivals featuring The Who, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.
Take A Break on the Staten Island Ferry
Staten Island Ferry – Free trip over to Staten Island. There are some nice cafes, bars and restaurants if you want to go over for lunch. Also has a baseball stadium. Passes the Statue of Liberty for a photo opportunity but it doesn’t get very close so unless you have a good zoom lens on your camera you won’t get the best shots. This might be a great time to check out Expressway Cinema Rentals as well.
Dine to Live Jazz Music in New York
La Lanterna, 131 McDougal St. New York, NY10012 is a two tiered Italian restaurant. Upstairs is for dining only though the subterranean floor offers a much more relaxing and romantic ambience. The intimate setting is complete with seductive lighting and breezy jazz music. The menu is extensive and all food is home fresh on the premises.
Service is generally slow for food, but is perfect to make a night of it. The Lasagnes and Pizza’s are recommended though why not share a cheese board to eat at your own pace during the Jazz performance. There is an excellent selection of good quality wines ranging in price from $21-$36 a bottle or 8$-$12 glass. There is a $10 cover charge for the band and meals cost around $8-$14.