Who says you have to be made of money to enjoy a trip to the Big Apple? Bargains abound throughout the city, you just need to know where to look. Aside from the obvious freebies (Central Park, etc.), there are plenty of ways to while away the days when you've got lots of time on your hands but very little money in your pocket. Listed below are 10 great things to see in New York which are (virtually) cost-free.
972 Fifth Avenue (at 79th Street)
You can expect to see more than just a bunch of harried travelers at this French Embassy. In the entrance hall, you can cast your gaze upon The Marble Boy statue. While the origination of this statue is not certain, many experts believe that this fragmented nude is an early work of Michaelangelo. The Marble Boy can be viewed (for free), Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The statue's not enough for you? As the dying wish of Helen Hay Whitney, the mansion's Venetian Room was fully-restored and opened for public viewing. Check out its many mirrored delights (again, for free) on Friday from 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
62 Fifth Avenue (at 12th Street)
Malcolm Forbes amassed quite an impressive collection of Faberge eggs, model ships, presidential memorabilia, and just about anything else a millionaire could afford. Considering his vast wealth, it's especially comforting to know that you can see all these goodies for free. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
60 Lincoln Center Plaza
You could fill an entire book with the many events that take place throughout the year at The Juilliard School. And, as any cultural enthusiast knows, these are some students with talent! Show up on a Tuesday or Friday at 8:00 p.m. and you can catch a free concert. Twice a year, the school presents an opera with tickets selling for just $10.00 apiece. Juilliard Orchestra performances are given four times a year and tickets range between $5.00 and $10.00. This is music at its finest and most inexpensive. Even for the free performances, tickets are often required. Before going, call or visit their Website to find out about the requirements.
2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue & 66th Street)
It's the lesser-known museums like these that really add to the Big Apple's status as a cultural mecca. This charming gallery focuses on the diversity of America's rich cultural heritage. Paintings, sculptures, textiles, and various decorative arts all help to fill the space here. The museum even offers free educational programs for children, like weekend storytelling and puppet shows. Admission is free. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
1220 Fifth Avenue
What better thing is there to learn about while in New York than the city of New York itself? If you could really fit the entire city into one building, this just might be it. Five floors of exhibition space offer more than 1.5 million artifacts to behold. From actual rooms from the first Rockefeller mansion to authentic furniture from New York City's own Duncan Phyfe, a trip to this museum will clue you into all the city has contributed to America (and the world) as we know it. Admission is free, though a $5.00 contribution is suggested. Open Sunday, 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday.
211 Broadway (at Fulton Street)
One of New York's oldest churches is also the site for wonderful, free, lunchtime concerts every Monday at noon. While listening to the varied musicians, take a peek at the pew where, in 1789, George Washington worshipped on his inauguration day.
550 Madison Avenue (at 56th Street)
For the kid with you or the kid in you, nothing beats this science and technology museum that aims to teach youngsters the importance of multimedia communication. With tons of hands-on exhibits and the chance to become a robotics engineer, camera operator, or video game designer for a day, this is certainly one of the best spots to drop by if you're toting along the tots. There's four floors of fun here and, best of all, it's always free! Open Sunday, 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (open until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday); closed Monday.
One Bay Street, Staten Island NY
Looking to spend a little time away from the hustle and bustle of the city while still enjoying the sights? Hop aboard the Staten Island Ferry! It takes just half an hour to ferry from Battery Park, at the bottom of Manhattan, to the St. George Terminal on Staten Island. Along the way you'll pass the Brooklyn Heights promenade, the Statue of Liberty, Castle William and Fort Jay on Governor's Island, and -- of course -- scenic New Jersey! How much to enjoy these many delights? A ride on the ferry is free!
28 East 20th Street (between Broadway & Park Avenue)
Our 26th President was not always the outspoken stalwart he is remembered as. Roosevelt spent the first 14 years of his life in this home (it's actually a 1923 reconstruction of his real home), many of which were spent suffering from debilitating asthma. Learn how the sickly boy became one of our most beloved Presidents. General admission is $2.00; seniors and children under 17 are free. Tours run every hour on the hour, Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
West Street (between Liberty & Vesey Streets)
It's worth the trip downtown to come and enjoy the many cultural delights the World Financial Center has to offer. Since its inception in 1988, literally millions of people have dropped by to enjoy the free performances and exhibits that are presented throughout the year by the WFC's Arts & Events Program. Call or visit their Website to find out about upcoming events.
Jennifer Wood is the co-author of the second edition of Mr. Cheap's New York and the upcoming second edition of Mr. Cheap's Chicago. She is a Boston-based freelance entertainment and travel writer and a Senior Editor at Adams Media Corporation.
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