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Even though I’m a Dutchie, I cannot help myself: I love the United States of America. Love, love, love. Last year, I took a solo trip to New York City. Usually, solo trips are rather expensive, since you have to pay for a lot of things and you cannot share anything. Since I wanted to keep it a bit more low budget than usually, I decided to see if there were any free or cheap things to do in NYC. And there were! I’ve made a small list of things I did and that didn’t cost me a dime. Here they are:
Kayaking on the Hudson River
I really loved this one! This isn’t available throughout the year, but you can check the schedule here. Basically you just head over to Pier 26, and the volunteers there will help you find a lifejacket and a kayak and get you in the water. Then, you can paddle around for about 20 minutes, or just float there to enjoy the view. You are free to donate, but it is not obligatory (and they are not in your face about that). The area where you can paddle is located between two piers, so you’re not allowed to kayak yourself to the Statue of Liberty or something, but it fun to do anyway.
Walk the High Line
To be honest: before I went to NYC (which was actually my third time), I never even heard of the High Line. It is a former railroad track, which they used to create some sort of park. Since it is up in the air, you’ll get a great view of the Hudson River and the city. Start and finish are (depending on the direction you take) at Gansevoort St. and 34th Street/12th Ave, and there are several other points to get on or off. Since I stayed in 42nd St, I got up in 34th/12th and ended up in Gansevoort St. (which is actually quite close to the lovely Greenwich Village). The High Line Park also offers places to sit and there is free wifi. So if you’re looking for a place where you can also get some work done, this is it.
Full disclosure: I did go to Bryant Park, I just didn’t get there in time for the Bootcamp and Tai Chi lessons that were given there. This is also a seasonal thing, so you should really check before you get your hopes up, but if you want to include some exercise in your holiday, this would be the place to do it. It’s early, but it’s (I think) worth it.
Cycling on Governors Island
I’m not really sure about the ferry rate, I think it was either for free or I paid 2 bucks, but that is still a sweet deal for a trip to Governors Island. You can take a walk here, but you can also ‘rent’ a bicycle. If you get it back within one hour, it is completely free. For me, that was more than enough time to cycle around the island twice (there were some roadblocks, so I couldn’t get to every corner). Once you’re done, you just hop on the ferry and get back to Manhattan.
Staten Island Ferry
If you want to see the NYC skyline from another point of view, you should definately check out the Staten Island Ferry. This ferry is completely free and brings to you Staten Island. During this trip, which takes about 25 minutes, you get a great view of the skyline and you even pass the Statue of Liberty. The ferry can be very crowded, so you might want to get there early, to find a good spot. You can then spend some time at Staten Island, or – as I did – just take the ferry back without getting off.
Do you have any suggestions to make sure that your trip to New York City stays well within budget? I’m really curious, so please share them in the comments!