It’s friday morning, I’m at work bright and early. Dreaming of the weekend, when I can spend some time at home, relaxing. I am completely unaware of the idea burning up inside my significant other’s head, until lunchtime, when I glance at my phone, and the words “we are driving to New York tonight” pop up on my screen.
I ran home from work that evening, packed up, and we took off into the night. Arriving at our hotel at 6 in the morning on Saturday, that left us only 3 hours of sleep before exploring the city.
Now see, the problem is, when you don’t plan a trip, you don’t exactly have extra cash for a trip. Travels that are planned in advance are planned with a budget, and leading up to departure there is time to work and make money to meet that budget. Leaving to New York so spontaneously, left us with making plans on the go, and not having much cash to spend.
From my experience, it is possible to see a lot of the city without spending too much dough. Here’s how.
Based on our location, the best starting point on our tour was the Met. The Metropolitan Museum is located on 5th Ave and 81st Street, a great location if you’re interested in getting as much of Manhattan in as possible.
From there, it’s possible to get a glimpse of Central Park (let’s be honest, you need a full day to take in the entire park) before continuing along 5th.
By foot, it’s possible to keep moving south until Rockefeller Centre, head west to Times Square, come back south-east to Bryant Park and the New York Public Library, and finally, making it to the Empire State Building, where admission is a mere $32, our first sight-seeing spent penny of the day.
At last you have some choices, which would probably depend on your feet and state of mind at this point. We splurged on a cab back to our hotel on 81st (I must say, the prices are decent), and then a couple hours later cabbed once more to Wall St and Broadway. There we saw the New York Stock Exchange building, the Wall Street Bull, and from Battery Park watched some 4th of July fireworks over the Hudson River. Instead of taking a break, you can continue in the direction of Battery Park, and catch Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building along the way (subway or cab, whatever your preference).
The next day, we walked more and more, this time along Madison Ave, where all the SERIOUS boutiques are. Along the way we stopped for Ladurée Paris macarons (worth every penny), and took a break in front of the New York Palace Hotel (GG fans know what I’m talking about). Moving along, it’s possible to step off course, and take a look at Grand Central Station as well, the largest railway station in the world, originally opened in 1871.
Needless to say, New York is a city full of majestic sights and a lot of history, and as hard as it may seem, it is possible to see a lot without spending too much.
Given the opportunity, I would do that weekend over and over again for the whole summer.
Such a spontaneous and short trip had me realize how sometimes not having any plans or expectations may be the best thing that could happen to you.