Best Kept Secrets in New York City

Annie, who spent this summer working in New York City, tells us her top tips for getting off the beaten track and beating the Big Apple tourist traps!

1) If you fancy seeing New York from a height, instead of the Empire State Building, head up to the top of the Rockefeller centre. The ‘Top of the Rock’ has half the tourists the Empire State viewing platform has, which means you can move around without feeling like you’re being herded! It is the same price and the view some say (I agree) is better! You get to see the Empire State building in all its glory which you obviously don’t get over there and the views of central park on one side and downtown on the other are glorious! Adult entry $21

2) Must see in New York for you culture vultures are the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) and the Museum of Natural History. Both of these are ‘Recommended donation’ – they give a guide price of approx $20 but this is only suggested, so feel free to head to the counter and hand over $10 for two people or whatever you think is appropriate! A must see at the MET is the rooftop bar which is open in the summer months – yes a drink up there is no less that $5 – but now that we’ve saved you money on your entry fee go ahead and spoil yourself! The view and atmosphere up there is cracking so don’t miss out…

3) Those of you who love to shop: if you’re in a mall or a large department store, head to the information desk and if you show your international passport you can get a special tourist booklet with lots of discounts and money off vouchers to use in the store(s). Also if you love a bargain (and can handle Oxford St Primark) head to Century 21 (near World Trade Center site, it’s jammed packed for a reason, it is like a warehouse of top designer clothes and accessories all heavily discounted – a dream come true if you’ve got the will power to navigate the crowds, think TKMax and 5th Avenue combined!

4) If you want to see Lady Liberty on a budget then take the Staten Island ferry from Manhattan which is free – it rides right by the statue and better than that it offers superb views of Manhattan down town. Once you get to the other side exit off the boat and get right back on to another to bring you back! Not bad for a free boat ride, approx 20 minutes each way.

5) During June to August Bryant Park hosts the HBO Summer Film Festival which features free screenings of movies every Monday. This is very popular with the locals and the gates open at 5pm, at which point everyone races in to secure their piece of the lawn with their blanket – within about 20 minutes the whole lawn is covered in blankets! Once you have your spot, you can then head out to pick up snacks and if you’re over 21 you can bring in an alcoholic drink or two, although please note drinking outdoors in NY is not allowed, however this event seems to turn a blind eye but you may want to stay low-key, there are security guards there and they will chuck you out if they don’t like your attitude!

6) If you want to see a movie the AMC cinema chain does $6 (approx) adult tickets for showings before 12 noon, this is half price so definitely worth it if you can get up in time!

7) Brooklyn Bridge is a masterpiece so definitely do the walk across here, once you’re in Brooklyn head to Grimaldi’s pizza place which is consider one the best pizza places in NY Avoid this on a Thursday–Sunday as the queue can be up to 2 hours wait – and that’s for takeaway…. Once you have your pizza head to the Brooklyn Bridge Park where you can sit on the rocks are enjoy watching a spectacular sunset over Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge – take bug spray though as the mosquitoes love the Hudson river banks.

8) For a real NY hotdog the locals go to Gray’s Papaya. This place is considered the best hot dog in NY and it’s under $2, you can find one on the corner of Broadway and 72nd St - they don’t talk much or follow instructions so just take the dog how the give it to you, as whatever they do it’s yummy!! Or for you veggie’s head to Mamoun’s in Greenwich Village for best Falafel in NY, another steal at $2…

9) Absolute must do in NY is boating in central park – you can rent a boat for an hour for up to 4 people for $12! Lots of fun and you get to see lots of hidden parts of the park and great view of The Boathouse which features in many movies.

10) If you want to see a show and don’t have the patience to wait in line at the discount ticket desk in Times Square, then just head along to the show you want to see on the night about 30 minutes before show time and you can normally pick up cheap tickets. The seats won’t be the best in the house but if you can see and hear then you’ll get the experience!


Do you want to head to the States this year? BUNAC offer the opportunity to Intern in America for up to 12 months! If you would like more information contact a member of the BUNAC team today!

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