Three Days in New York – Sightseeing That Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth

Yes, I’m just back from a three day visit to New York. Not my first time. But it was a first for the BF, so the agenda was to see as many sights as we could squeeze in without collapsing in a heap. Or more importantly without hitting the credit cards so badly that we can’t afford another holiday for at least three years. It’s not easy, but there are lots of things to do in New York that don’t cost a penny. And yes, you do have to pay for some things but if you choose wisely it won’t cost the earth.

Our first decision was to ignore all of those tourist places that offer you a three day ticket that will allow you access to practically anything without extra charge. For a mere $199 each. Did we even want to go to all of those places? And did we want to rush around making sure we didn’t waste a minute anywhere else that didn’t take advantage of our free pass? No. Easy decision to make. You might find those passes good value, but we wanted to take our time and keep our plans fluid. And when we totted up how much we had spent at the end of the three days, those passes would have left us out of pocket anyway.

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

The Manhattan Skyline from The Brooklyn Bridge

Day One – Brooklyn Bridge – Free

Without any particular plan in mind we just took the subway from our mid-Manhattan hotel downtown. The BF wanted to see Wall Street and from there we wandered down to the river and past the South Street Seaport to the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s well worth crossing the bridge on foot (and it’s free!) to get a perspective of the city from the other side. Some of my favourite photographs were taken that morning and it did help that we had the most fantastic blue skies to set them off. It also gave us our first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, but more of that later.

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

Brooklyn Bridge and One World Trade Centre

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

View of the Financial District from The Brooklyn Bridge

9/11 Memorial and Museum

Returning across Brooklyn Bridge and a few blocks to the other side of City Hall Park is the site of the World Trade Centre and the 9/11 Memorial. On my first visit to New York (many years ago) I did go to the top (I can’t remember which tower) and it was somewhere we both wanted to visit. The 9/11 Memorial occupies approximately half of the 16-acre site once occupied by the World Trade Centre. The two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size, are set within the footprints of the original Twin Towers and around the edges are all the names of the people who died that day. Prepare to be moved. Its design conveys a spirit of hope and renewal, and creates a contemplative space (there are more than 400 trees surrounding the reflecting pools) separate from the usual sights and sounds of a bustling city.

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

9/11 Memorial

Do visit the museum. The queues are long and yes, you have to pay, but it is well worth it. Apparently all proceeds go towards keeping the museum and memorial up and running, just in case you think that this is not something that should be charged for. Inside you get a real sense of the horror as the day unfolds in graphic detail. I found the voice recordings the hardest. The many people who phoned loved ones to say goodbye. And the photographs. And the stories of the firemen who perished.

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

View from The Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry – Free

After the museum we wandered down to Battery Park to take the Staten Island Ferry. Last time I did this there was a charge. Now it’s free! The sun was going down and although the Statue of Liberty is some way off, it’s a great way to see it, and also a great way to get a view of the tip of Manhattan. A bit of a ‘Working Girl’ moment. In fact everywhere you go you can remember a scene in a film (or should I say movie?).

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

Needs no Introduction

Day Two – Walk – It’s Free

Day two did involve a fair bit of leg work. Buy hey, it was Sunday and the sun was still shining. We walked down Fifth Avenue, past the Empire State Building, past Madison Square Gardens and the Flatiron Building, past Union Square (where there was a massive aerobics workout going on) and down to Washington Square Park (where there was a band and dancing). Just before the park is Washington Mews which is a little step back in time with cobbles, pretty houses and window-boxes.

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

Washington Mews

Unbelievably we then continued walking via Soho to the Hudson River Park and its great view across the Hudson to New Jersey. After a pit-stop it was on to Chelsea Market and The High Line.

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

View of the Hudson and New Jersey

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

View from The High Line

The High Line – Free

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, garden and rail track created on a former New York Central Railroad spur. This green space offers unparalleled views of Manhattan’s far west side. With places to sit and people-watch, patches of grass, seasonal blooms and fascinating architectural features along the way, it’s a great place to relax. I was there a few years ago and since then the gardens have matured and cafes have sprung up. It was busy, as you would expect on a sunny Sunday, but everything we did this day just made us feel less like tourists and more like New Yorkers enjoying the weekend.

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

The Empire State Building from The High Line

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

View from the water

Day Three – Take To The Water

It would be a shame to visit New York and not go on some sort of cruise. So we took the Circle Line Landmarks Cruise which takes in the most famous NYC landmarks on both the Hudson and East Rivers, plus breathtaking views of Manhattan’s downtown skyline. The weather wasn’t quite so sunny so my photographs are a little on the grey side. But hey, that’s New York. And it was great to listen to a New Yorker telling us amusing anecdotes along the way.

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

Brooklyn Bridge from the water

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

One World Trade Centre from the water

The Empire State Building

A fitting end to our hectic three days was a trip to the top of the Empire State Building. Another movie moment. This time ‘Sleepless in Seattle’. It was cloudy and the sun was low in the sky, but if you’ve never been it’s not to be missed. Try to go on a Monday at around 4pm. There were no queues!

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth

From the top of The Empire State Building

Three Days in New York - Sightseeing That Doesn't Have to Cost the Earth (14)

The Chrysler Building from the top of The Empire State

I have to say we walked a lot. That’s not for everyone. The subway is cheap compared to the London Underground so do use it. Or do what we did, and drink a lot of coffee.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kate

    October 10, 2018

    Lovely post Carole, great tips and fab photography! I’m so excited to be heading back next week. I always walk about as much as possible so as not to miss any fab sights + drinking loads of coffee, haha, always! xx

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 11, 2018

      We did drink a lot of coffee! Hope you have a fab time Lovely xx

  2. Reply

    Rachel @ Fresh Design

    October 9, 2018

    You packed an awful lot into just three days! The photos look amazing, glad you had a good time.

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 11, 2018

      Thanks Rachel. Glad you like the photo’s too x

  3. Reply

    Stacey Sheppard

    October 8, 2018

    Wow Carole, looks like you packed so much into 3 days. I definitely want to visit New York again sometime with my husband and kids. I know walking is exhausting but there really is no better way to experience a city in my opinion. Lovely photos.

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 11, 2018

      Yes we packed it in alright. I definitely think it’s also a great place to take the kids. x

  4. Reply

    karen

    October 8, 2018

    oh thank you so much for this post Carole. We are going on a big holiday next year which includes three days in New York. We are great walkers in our family and also hate paying over the odds to see the sights. This has given me lots of ideas.

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 11, 2018

      Glad to be of help Karen. You’ll have a lovely time x

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