Doing New York on a shoestring

Notes from a cheapskate on advance sleuthing, chutzpah and haggling


Advance Sleuthing

If you want to jam in six of NYC’s top attractions, from the Empire State Building to the Guggenheim, buy a US$89 New York CityPASS and save US$77 a person. Good for nine days from first day of use, this pass also gives you VIP treatment by letting you skip most ticket lines. Another booklet of savings is the US$75-US$200 NYC Explorer Pass, good for a 30-day period that includes three, five, seven or 10 attractions (depending on price)—from the American Museum of Natural History to bike tours, Madam Tussauds and even a tall ship sailing cruise. You save 45 per cent off most admission rates.


I’m not sure whether it’s gumption or stamina you’ll need for touring NYC at a clip, but it’s a great way to explore a neighbourhood or two. Join a City Running Tour and you may just learn the history behind the United Nations Building, which stars have noshed on oysters in Penn Station, little-known facts about Broadway and more.


Is there anyone who hasn’t heard about the same-day, half-price TKTS Discount Booth in Times Square that can shave hundreds of dollars off show tickets? Sure, there are deals here, but the cost is your time. Luckily, there are other means for cheap tickets, depending on the show. Try heading straight to a specific theatre’s box office, where same-day prices may be discounted up to 50 per cent (and you’ll avoid the lengthy queue at Times Square). Some productions, like The Book of Mormon and Wicked, even have a lottery system. Show up two hours in advance of the show, put your name in a drum and hang around to discover if you’re one of the lucky winners of two tickets (often a block of 20 to 50 tickets is released). Sometimes, you can snag a US$200 ticket for as low as US$26.50

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