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A Free and Cheap NYC

nyc.jpgWhen I first moved to New York, I wanted to see all the Broadway shows, tour all of the museums, and visit every attraction. However, there was a problem, the one that usually faces most tourists interested in planning a trip to the Big Apple: money. However, I soon discovered – if you know where to look – New York has its share of free and cheap attractions, events, and museums.


Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park is one of the most popular free events in New York. Every summer since 1962, the Public Theater has hosted productions of Shakespeare plays at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater. Famous actors and actresses ranging from Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep to Morgan Freeman and Christopher Walken have performed Shakespeare under the night sky. Since this is a popular and free event, tickets can be hard to come by. If you’re interested in securing tickets, the line usually forms in the wee hours of the morning the night before the performance. Be prepared. Bring a blanket, food, and water. For more information, visit www.publictheater.org.

Bryant Park’s HBO Summer Film Festival

Every Monday from June to August, Bryant Park, located behind the New York Public Library, hosts a series of free movies sponsored by HBO. Shown on a large screen, the park shows classic movies including Wizard of Oz, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and To Sir with Love. The show begins at sunset; usually between 8 pm and 9 pm, however, access to the grass begins at 5pm, so arrive early for a choice spot. Bring a blanket, food, and wine to make it even more of a special event. Visit www.bryantpark.org/calendar/film-festival.php for a complete list of upcoming movies.

Met in the Parks

If a full-price ticket to Opera is not in your budget, consider attending one of the free performances given by the Metropolitan Opera. Every summer, the prestigious Met performers leave their comfortable digs at Lincoln Center and embark on a tour of outdoor venues in each of New York’s five boroughs and a few parks in New Jersey, introducing award-winning opera to residents and tourists. Past performances have included La Traviata, The Magic Flute, Rigoletto. Tickets are not required, just show up, snatch a piece of grass near the bandstand and enjoy. Like all of the mentioned events, arrive early and pack a picnic. Don’t forget the citronella candles which serve as double duty, to keep the bugs away and to add a little ambiance. For a list of performances and venues, see www.metroperafamily.org.

Morning Talk Shows Concert Series

What do the Today Show, Good Morning America, and the Early Show have in common? Yes, they’re morning talk shows, but they also host live free concerts from performers that have included Mark Anthony, Maroon 5, John Legend, and Big & Rich. The catch? Because the concerts – usually on Fridays – are for morning shows, they begin early in the morning, usually before 8 am. The artists normally perform 3 to 4 songs. If you want an unobstructed view close to the action, arrive before dusk. Don’t forget a pair of comfortable shoes and a camera. For a complete concert schedules, visit www. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3041478/, www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/SummerConcert/, and www.cbsnews.com/sections/earlyshow/series/summer_concerts/main500462.shtml

New York Museums

There are hundreds of museums in New York and a day museum hopping would likely blow a budget. However, keep in mind most of the museums (including the popular ones) either offer suggested or free admission on certain days. The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a $20 suggested admission, which means they would prefer you paid twenty dollars, but would accept any amount of money. On Fridays, both the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art have free admission on Fridays from 4-8pm and 6-9pm respectively. Also, for a break from the long lines found at the crowded museums, visit a few of the lesser known ones, including Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology, Sony Wonder Technology Lab, National Museum of the American Indian, and Forbes Magazine Galleries, which all boast free admission.

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