We get it. New York City is expensive. Even the dollar menu at McDonalds is more expensive in Manhattan than every where else. So what’s a guy to do when he has to take out a girl for an afternoon, but his budget is a bit cramped? Where does a girl go with her girlfriends when everyone’s purse is more show than substance?
Here is a list of places compiled by unemployed singles who found a way to enjoy the city for free throughout the week.
1: Fifth Avenue (57th Street down to 44th Street)
Many of these 5th Avenue stores offer chocolates and candies to their perceived higher clients. If talk the look, there’s a very good chance these salespeople will try to please you into buying something they perceive is within your budget.
But that’s the key. You have to be perceived as having value, which means looking like you belong on 5th Avenue. So go ahead and stroll through the affluent shops and browse like you are close to buying and you will be surprised how sales people might offer you a glass of champagne or a piece of chocolate. It will take you several hours to walk through several stores and you don’t even need to spend a dime.
2: Macy’s Department Store (34th Street and 6th Avenue)
It’s hyped as the largest department store in the world, so as you can imagine, everything you want or need or plain want to touch is inside this department store.
The flagship Macy’s store is more than just another department store. It’s a place to people watch, eat, sip tea, relax on a couch, watch TV, try on lingerie in front of your significant other. The number of things to do in this store is as unlimited as your imagination. Take some time and try on that expensive suit you’ve always wanted to buy. No one will tell you no. And when you get tired, just head to the 8th floor and take a quick nap. Sure, the salesmen might get annoyed but if you’re a serious buyer, or an out-of-town tourist, you are likely to be ignored.
3: Fashion Institute of Technology Museum (27th Street and 7th Avenue)
If you love fashion, Fashion Institute of Technology Museum will keep you inspired for hours. This free museum continually showcases new exhibits that are beyond the cutting edge of fashion. And it’s not just a museum for the fashionistas. FIT Museum is also a museum in itself – of beauty and fashionable women who look like they just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine.
4: Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Avenue)
Their suggested donation is $20 but don’t think for a second that this museum will snub you if you only give a quarter. These are tough times, and the museum understands that if you walk inside, you will likely buy something from their gift shop. This is a great way to spend a rainy day when your funds are limited to subway fares. If you’re on a date, tell her you’ll get the “buttons” in advance so she won’t have to wait in the long line.
5: Bronx Zoo (Free on Wednesdays)
The Bronx Zoo is frequently called one of the most romantic places in the City. Perhaps it’s because looking at monkeys in their natural environment lowers men and women to the lowest common denominators. Admission to the Bronx Zoo is free all-day on Wednesday and allows you access to the entire park.
6: State Island Museum (Free on Tuesdays from 12 to 2pm)
We get it. Staten Island? Seriously? Yup, what’s more romantic that taking the “FREE” Staten Island ferry across the Hudson and watching the giant skyscrapers slowly unfold above you. Pack a lunch, leave in the morning and you can get inside the museum every Tuesday morning for no cost. The museum isn’t as grand as the Met or MOMA, but it will still inspire you in another way. Plus, it allows you to see another section of New Yorkers. If you think they’re brash in the Bronx, wait till you visit the SI museum.
7: American Museum of Natural History (81st and Central Park West)
Lizards, fossils, stars – this museum is every science nerd’s dream. But you don’t have to love astronomy to find cheap entertainment here. The museum has hands on displays and exhibits that will subconsciously force you to question your existence and purpose. The suggested donation is $15, but if you have a few $1 dollar bills, no one will turn you away.
8: Morgan Library (Free on Friday Nights 7pm to 9pm)
The Morgan Library is every writer’s inspiration. The books, the art, the history, the wealth on display will all make you want to grab a journal and start writing again. The Morgan Library is free on Friday Nights 7pm to 9pm. Located in Midtown, it’s a great afterwork spot that will impress any date. Just pretend you didn’t know it was free when you arrive on Friday after work.
9: Whitney Museum (Madison and 75th Street)
We’re sensing a trend. Go to museums, but the Whitney Museum isn’t like the others. The Whitney houses more than 18,000 paintings, drawings, photographs, videos and new media, so even you classify Fred Flinstone as art, this museum will keep you entertained for a few hours. On Friday nights, 6pm to 9pm, you get to pay what you want – ideal for any cheapskate.
10: Brooklyn Botanical Garden (Free on Saturdays 10am to noon)
We’ve told you about animals, dinosaurs, art, books, fashion, now it’s time for plants. Who knew plants could be so entertaining? Actually, they aren’t but this place is free on Saturdays 10am to noon and isn’t that what this list is about? It’s all about FREEDOM…
And a friendly reminder from our pro-bono lawyers who advise us over cocktails. Make sure you double-check this list before you show up and try to sneak into a museum for a quarter. The free days frequently change, and with the economy improving, we suspect the days of freedom may soon be reduced.
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