Friday, October 07, 2005

New York on a Budget

Traveling to New York is a feat in itself, coz this means that you’ve hurdled the oh-so-strict Visa application process of the US embassy, and you’ve finally gathered enough moohlah to actually buy yourself a ticket to the famous city that never sleeps. Most probably, when you get there, you’ve used up most of your savings & would have to work on a limited budget for your tour around town. Well, don’t fret all you budget-conscious people out there. There’s a way around New York City that will let you enjoy the Big Apple without going broke in the process.

Strolling down 5th Avenue in New York City will bring you lots of surprises given that a lot of famous landmarks are located along that avenue alone. Start by strolling uptown going towards Central Park from the corner of 5th Avenue & 23rd Street. The first landmark you’ll come across would be the Empire State Building. A trip to the viewing deck (made famous by movies like Sleepless in Seattle) will cost you $12.00 (approximately P672) while an additional “NY Skyride” will cost you a few more bucks. If you find this expensive, then you can just satisfy yourself with having your picture taken at the building’s replica located at the lobby.

Next stop (remember, you’re going uptown, strolling along 5th Ave) will be the New York Public Library. Remember Spiderman 1? This is where Uncle Ben dropped Peter Parker off, thinking that Pete’s about to do some research when he’s actually got other things in mind. Anyway, this is a nice stop for a wee bit of bathroom break & a nice place to refill your water bottle since they have water fountains near the washrooms. All you have to do is enter the library, no questions asked (no fee or IDs needed). Also, you can hang out in front of the library since they have placed several tables & chairs up front where people can sit & rest whenever they like. This is also a good place to eat your lunch since they have tables as well. You can just buy your meal from any of the food carts that abound the city & have a hearty lunch in front of this famous city landmark.

Strolling further uptown will bring you to the Rockefeller Center, which can be seen every so often in the Today Show. Have your picture taken at the “fountain garden” full of flowers (depends on the season), as well as in the famous skating rink which is near the Rockefeller Center building. Near Rockefeller Center is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is also a famous landmark in NYC. Enter the cathedral & you may have some quiet time with Him as well as take a look at the several saints displayed in and around the altar. You may take some pictures but I suggest you turn off the flash to show some respect (though a lot of people, tourists I suppose, don’t actually do that).

While strolling along 5th Ave, you may segue to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the quaint café Serendipity, which are on different streets but are just a few blocks away from 5th Ave. Here you may take a bathroom break (the Waldorf has good washrooms ü) or have a taste of Serendipity’s famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. The last stop of this “5th Avenue” trip is actually Central Park. Here you can sit & relax in one of the benches, or you can walk around the park, which is quite big, and will probably take up a lot of your time. Be on the lookout though, coz there have been rumors of bad things happening in the park so just always be aware of your surroundings & take good care of your belongings.

This ends our one-day-trip along 5th Avenue in New York City. Though there are still a lot of sights to see in New York (Times Square, Lady Liberty, Soho, WTC Site), at least you’ve already saved one day where you didn’t spend much since all you’ve really done is walk & savor the beautiful landmarks of New York. Just remember that to survive New York, you’ll be needing these 3 things: a map of New York (which you can get for free in any subway station); a water bottle; and your fully-charged digital camera (bring an extra memory card if you have one) to capture all those precious moments that you’ll want to remember New York by. Ü

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