We all know that life in Gotham can cause some serious wear and tear on your wallet. The best shopping, nightlife, restaurants and entertainment events are right here at our doorstep. And when Summer comes a’knockin, rellies and friends come to crash and spend their vacation New York City style…so what’s a savvy girl about town to do to keep her company entertained without eating through your special Manolo Slush Fund for Shoe Emergencies? Dontcha’ worry sister, we’ve got you covered with some fantastic Big City activities that don’t require a big city budget.
That Green Thing In The Middle
Central Park is a veritable land of enchantment. Whether you’re a born and bred New Yorker, or are walking through the city, mouth agape, on your first trip from Boise, Central Park will steal your heart. It also happens to be a great place to spend time, without spending money.
Central Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1858. Out of the treeless, rocky terrain and stagnant swampland, they created a wooded urban oasis that has been enjoyed by generations. Today, it is the most visited urban park in the United States. Which basically means it’s 843 acres of pure outdoor goodness. Partake in activities ranging from the 6.1 mile jogging loop, sailing miniature boats in the Conservacy Lake, or lounge by a fountain and enjoy any one of the dozens of musicians and musical groups that set up around the park. If you’re feeling giddy, hop a ride on the Carousel and get yourself an icee. For pet lovers, leash laws are suspended from 9pm to 9 am so FiFi can run free.
There is nothing better when the weather is warm than to take a blanket and some fixins to Central Park and enjoy the free summer performances: Shakespeare in the Park, Met Opera in the Park and the Summer Stage Concert series. With all the money you won’t be spending on this world class entertainment you can head over to the Boat House restaurant and sip Sancerre poured by hot waiters with insanely sexy French accents.
Museums: They Aren’t Just For Relics
If you’re going to be tempted, be tempted by the Masters. In a city known for museums (ok, it ain’t Paris, but we still got some freakin great stuff here), you can cherry pick from the exhibits that speak to you. Personally, I’d recommend the Poiret exhibit at the Met. It launched May 9th and runs through August 5th. For about $20 you can check out the “King of Fashion,” and if the weather’s nice, head up to the rooftop for the Frank Stella installation. Of course there’s always something going on at MOMA, The Whitney, and the Guggenheim, as well. Check them out at (www.metmuseum.org, www.moma.org, www.whitney.org, and www.guggenheim.org) respectively.
Welcome To The Jungle
Lions and Giraffes are just a few of the beautiful animals you’ll get to see if you plan a trip to the Bronx Zoo. Admission is $14 for adults and $10 for kids (3-12), with special Wednesday admission by donation (don’t you dare cheap out, they’ve got monkeys to feed!).
If lots of colorful insects fluttering around your head doesn’t bother you, I hear the Butterfly Garden is absolutely amazing. (www.bronxzoo.com)
While you’re in Da Bronx, check out the New York Botanical Gardens. For $16 bucks you can tour the grounds and literally take time to stop and smell the roses. If you took the sneak tip up there for the zoo and hit it on a Wednesday, you can tour the Botanical gardens for free between 10 and noon.
Bryant Park: It ain’t just for catwalks and designer duds.
The Bryant Park Film Festival (sponsored by HBO) begins on June 18th this year with Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. Each Monday it’s your mission to get to the park as close to 5 as you can, because it fills up fast. Movies begin at dusk and you get whatever blanket space you commandeer, to lounge with friends or a date. Yeah, I know, Your Love Don’t Cost A Thing. Still, spring for a shaker of Mojitos and some Funyons and you just might score.
Speaking of scoring, Bryant Park is just about the hottest spot in town this summer, with Good Morning America’s Summer Concert Series, with performances from the likes of Daughtry (Swoon), Robin Thicke, Sugarland Express, John Mayer and “special guest” (is it a wig wearin’, Restylane-lipped Jessica Simpson??? It coullllld be!) and Fergie… Just to mention a few. I mean, you could basically LIVE in Bryant Park this summer. Except that’s illegal. In between engagements, you can chill out with live Jazz performances, as well as Yoga and Thai Chi lessons. I, for one, vote for less chain-smoking, hunger-pang-expelling models and more Bryant Park Summer fun! (www.bryantpark.org)
Endorphins: They’re not just for gym rats!
If you’re one of those who people who enjoy pushing your physical limits until you feel the orgasmic rush of endorphins kick in, you’ve got to join the folks at Bike New York. Just last week (May 6th) they held their Five Borough Bike Tour, and coming up on June 29th they’re sponsoring the Harlem Valley Rail Ride, where you can join the other health nuts and take a ride up to picturesque Millerton, New York. Check out the club at www.bikenewyork.com.
There is nothing that says SUMMER IS HERE in New York City like the annual weekend street festivals. Where else can you get tube socks, funnel cake and incense, while meandering the blocked off streets of the city. Check out the schedule at www.nycstreetfairs.com. This Saturday, May 19th, is the Children of the World Festival on 6th Ave between 42nd and 56th streets. And if you’re not going to the festivals, it at least helps to know where they’re being held so you can plan your travels accordingly and get around the island without major detours.
So there you have it, mes amies, enough fun to break your entertainment bank without causing even the smallest dent in your wallet. Don’t forget your sunscreen!