June 9, 2015 | Apple Core Hotels
A visit to New York doesn’t have to break the bank. There are numerous landmarks, museums and cultural events that are either free or that cost a fraction of what you might expect, leaving funds for shopping in the city’s flagship stores and flea markets or for cocktails in rooftop bars. Here are some of our favourites:
Free outdoor movies and popcorn: During July and August head to Hudson River Park at Pier 63 in Chelsea on Big Hit Wednesdays and enjoy weekly free film screenings under the stars – and complimentary popcorn. Forthcoming Hudson RiverFlicks screenings take place at dusk (8.30pm) and include The Imitation Game (8 July), St Vincent (29 July) and Boyhood (12 August).
Perfect for techies: Sony Wonder Technology Lab on Madison Avenue is a highly interactive museum dedicated to technology and entertainment. There are four floors of exhibits including a Robot Zone, an Animation Studio and a Virtual Surgery where you can ‘feel’ what it is like to perform open heart surgery. There are also free films every Saturday plus regular family screenings and workshops. It is recommended that visitors register in advance as walk-in tickets are limited. Open Tuesday-Saturday, admission free.
Understanding New York’s Hispanic influence: Boasting the largest collection of Spanish art and manuscripts outside of Spain, The Hispanic Society of America on the Upper West Side celebrates the magnificent artwork from Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American artists. There are some 800 paintings, 6,000 watercolours and drawings, 1,000 sculptures and over 175,000 photographs to see. Highlights include several original El Greco portraits, masterpieces by Goya and 14 thrilling oil paintings depicting the Vision of Spain by Valencian artist Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida. Open Tuesday-Sunday, admission free.
Perfect for bookworms: Enjoy some respite from shopping and sightseeing and spend a peaceful morning at one of New York Public Library’s iconic literary establishments. The Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue is one of the main branches and provides free guided tours, a Rare Book Division with fascinating maps of Old New York and Books at Noon (restarts in the autumn) which offers free conversation with acclaimed authors on Wednesdays. Open daily (times vary), admission free.
Pack your bikini: If you’re in New York for a few days this summer then why not take advantage of the NYC Beach Bus. It’s a yellow high school-style bus which departs from Brooklyn and Williamsburg to Rockaway Beach on Long Island’s South shore, plus other beaches including Fire Island. New for this summer, Riis Park Beach Bazaar at Jacob Riis Beach will be offering delicious food and drink options – order via a smartphone directly to your deck chair – plus beach volleyball, pop-up antiques stalls and more. Round trips cost from $14 to Rockaway and Jacob Riis Beaches and there are shuttles to the new destinations of Fire Island, Robert Moses and Jones Beach from 21 June priced at $25 return. Services run until 1 September, on weekends.
Behind the scenes access: The annual Open House New York Weekend (17&18 October) includes free tours of some of the city’s most important buildings and offers the chance to meet some the people who help to preserve them. From jaw-dropping private residences to historic landmarks, towering skyscrapers and even a New York Food Bank – many of which are generally closed to the public – this is an experience not to be missed. There are also regular openings throughout the year – see the website for more details. Admission free.
Inspiration for fashionistas: The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) showcases an eclectic array of outfits and accessories from the 17th century to the present day. There are over 50,000 permanent exhibits including corsets from the 19th century, Christian Dior evening dresses from the 1950s, Yves Saint Laurent suits from the 1960s plus more contemporary items from designers such as Alexander McQueen and Burberry. Open every Tuesday-Saturday, admission free.
Sample price: Combining great locations with great value (and rooftop bars to boot!), book a three-night visit from £191 pp (two sharing a Queen room) with Apple Core Hotels’ three properties: nyma, the new york manhattan hotel, The Hotel @ Times Square or broadway @ times square hotel. Excellent free-of-charge amenities include WiFi, continental breakfast (think fresh bagels, jams, cream cheese, juices, cereal and yoghurt), calls nationwide, 24-hour business centres, fitness centres and in-room coffee makers. Flights extra – from around £400 pp with Skyscanner.