We made it to NYC safely this morning! Our red-eye took off on time and arrived at Newark airport at 7:30AM. We had some of the worst turbulence I have ever felt on an airplane, but we are here! Pretty much the entire day was spent relaxing and just wandering the city. It is in the low 90’s here so we have been drinking plenty of water and resting. We have been spending money, but trying to keep it as wallet friendly as possible. Can still have fun in NYC on a budget! Maybe, we will also have one nice dinner too with the money we save.
Transportation – $45
The easiest option to get into Manhattan from any of the three airports in the area is to take a taxi. That costs $50-$70 per ride though! I would rather not start my trip off by spending that much. Instead we took the train to Penn Station. It costs $12.50 per ticket, and takes about 30 minutes from the point the airport monorail drops you off at the train station. Once we got into Manhattan, we bought a MetroCard and took the subway as close to our destination as possible. We opted for a reloadable MetroCard and put $19 on it. There is a fee of $1 for each new card; I should have remembered to bring our old ones! We probably should have gotten two one-week passes at $30 each, but tomorrow we will get one and see if we can keep the total under $60.
The train and subway are so easy to take here in NYC! If you get lost or confused, all you have to do is ask someone and they will help you out! Very efficient and you know when a train will arrive next. Public transportation is awesome here. We also walk a lot while in NYC, which is absolutely free and good exercise too. Notice how fit most New Yorkers are? Something I could do more of!
Lodging – free
We are both lucky enough to know people here that let us stay with them for a few days. Of course, when they come visit we don’t mind them staying with us either! One of the easiest ways to save money is to stay with a friend. Hotels here are so expensive and just a decent one is at least $200 a night. We did buy them a small gift to thank them for letting us stay here, but I am not going to count that.
Food & Drinks – $49.16
Breakfast – Dunkin’ Donuts $10.57 – By the time we got to our friend’s place an hour after we landed, we had passed by 6 Dunkin’ Donuts. There was one nearby so we just ended up going there since I was starving and it was imprinted in my mind by then. We grabbed two breakfast sandwiches, a donut, and two bagels for tomorrow morning. Could have done better on this, even Starbucks has cheaper breakfast sandwiches, and I should have gone to a NY food stand for the bagels.
Drinks – Random place and Starbucks $5.04 – We started out with our reusable bottle filled with water, that did not last long in this heat at all. Ended up having to snag drinks when we needed it. At least I was able to use a Starbucks gift card from Christmas for one of them! Maybe could have brought two reusable bottles instead.
Random – $2.81 – Grabbed some fruit and cream cheese. Have to keep healthy!
Lunch – The Halal Guys $6 – NYC food stands are such a great option for a quick meal. This particular food stand has been around for a while and has over three thousand reviews on Yelp! They are the precursor to food trucks and are tried and true. You can find them almost on every corner here. My hubby and I split a combo plate of gyro and chicken meat over rice, with some salad on the side. Delicious and filling, with the exception of the salad which was just iceberg lettuce.
Dinner – Mooncake Foods $24.70 – I was in need of something light and refreshing for dinner after a hot day. Found this Vietnamese place and decided to come here! Yummy, it was a perfect choice. Hubby ordered Shanghai short ribs with white rice and cooked bean sprouts. Nice sweet and salty sauce, too sweet for his liking though. More to my liking. I had a tofu with buckwheat noodles salad. The dressing was deliciously peanuty and salty with the fish sauce. The noodles were perfect in that salad! Who knew that a noodle salad could be so good? I devoured the entire plate!
Things to Do – $0
All we did was play tourist today! We walked around 5th Avenue and checked out stores like Uniqlo, Lindt, Godiva, La Maison de Chocolat, Nike Town, and FAO. I love that Godiva here gives out samples of their truffles, they half it before giving it out. We also snagged two free truffles because we are both a part of their club. It is free to join and you get a free chocolate every month. Plus $10 to spend during your birthday month! Lindt gives out whole truffles as soon as you walk in the door! La Maison de Chocolat is extremely expensive, they make some serious chocolate there! For real chocolate lovers only, their chocolate is very very good, but you will pay a lot of money. Uniqlo always has good quality clothing for their price point, and Nike Town and FAO are always fun to explore.
We also walked around Central Park for a bit. I love that NYC has such a large green space. They really recognize the need for this and do not just plow it over to make housing. You can explore the park a bit, or just sit back and people watch. Can also check out the wildlife, mostly in the form of chubby squirrels and pigeons and various birds I cannot identify. You can see the seals from the outer perimeter of the zoo too!
Total Damage – $94.16
Not too shabby today! The other days will probably be pricier though since we will be going out with people.