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Friday, August 5, 2011

48 hours in New York on a shoestring

48 hours in New York on a shoestring

It's known for its Broadway shows, designer shops and exclusive restaurants but there are plenty of things to enjoy in the Big Apple without burning a hole in your pocket.
Reuters correspondents with local knowledge show that bargains can still be found in the city.
FRIDAY
6 p.m. - Soak in the bright lights at Times Square, where it always seems like mid-day under the mega-watt billboards. You'll get the rush of gawking tourists and perhaps see the barely clothed busker, "The Naked Cowboy." You can buy discounted Broadway tickets for same-day performances at the TKTS booth on Duffy Square.
7 p.m. - Grab dinner from a street vendor and sit at one of the seats in the "pedestrian plazas" in the middle of Times Square. Take in a sweeping Times Square view from the top of the red glass steps adjoining the ticket booth, or eat at one of the many restaurants in the theater district, or low-priced regional eateries along Ninth Avenue.
8:30 p.m. - If you skip the theater, or later if you do catch a show, have a drink at the revolving bar at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
10 p.m. - Enjoy panoramic city views from the "Top of the Rock" Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center.
SATURDAY
9 a.m. - Grab a bagel and coffee from a street vendor and head to midtown for a Gray Line or CitySights NY Hop-On, Hop-Off double-decker bus. Buy a 48-hour All Loops Tour and start with a downtown loop that takes in Greenwich Village and Union Square, SoHo, Chinatown, the Lower East Side and Empire State Building. You can get off at all stops and explore on your own. Also check out "NYSee Tours" for guided "Get Acquainted" city adventures.
The Gary Line and CitySights NY also offer Brooklyn tours that run every half hour until 3:30 p.m. The tour includes the Botanical Garden, antique furniture district and Brooklyn Museum of Art stops.
Or, because no trip to New York is complete without seeing the Statue of Liberty, jump on the free Staten Island Ferry for a view of this enigmatic lady, Ellis Island and lower Manhattan.
10 a.m. - Pick up hand-crafted cheese, organic produce and freshly baked goods at the Union Square farmers' market.
11 a.m. - Wander through Greenwich Village's meandering streets, historic townhouses, unique shops and many restaurants.
Noon - Movie and TV fans can take an "On Location Tour" of the city (www.screentour.com). The company specializes in TV and movie location trips and also offers a "Sex and the City Hotspots" and "Gossip Girl" site tours.
4 p.m. - Enjoy panoramic views of Manhattan and the East River by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
5 p.m. - Spend some quiet time remembering the victims of the September 11 attacks at Ground Zero. The best viewing points are from the adjacent World Financial Center.
7 p.m. - Explore Chinatown's exotic food markets and gift shops, and pick a spot for dinner. Have a cappuccino and cannoli in neighboring Little Italy.
10 p.m. - Head to Arthur's Tavern in Greenwich Village at 57 Grove Street to end the night with intimate jazz and blues.
SUNDAY
8 a.m. - After breakfast of fruits and breads bought at the markets on Saturday, head to Central Park, the oasis in the middle of the urban jungle. Popular destinations include Strawberry Fields, a memorial to Beatle John Lennon, and Bethesda Fountain, a fixture in movies set in Manhattan.
10.30 a.m. - Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue. From an extensive Egyptian collection to countless European paintings and sculptures, there is something for everyone with approximately 3 million works on display.
1 p.m. - The Cloisters, a Metropolitan Museum of Art branch at Fort Tryon Park overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan, offers free garden tours and medieval European art. Have a light lunch here at the cafe.
4 p.m. - Bike or walk over the George Washington Bridge, which connects the Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan to Fort Lee, New Jersey. If you've had enough of nature, head back to Madame Tussauds wax museum in midtown, where soon you're not sure whether the person sitting next to you is real or not.
6:30 p.m. - Window shop along famed Fifth Avenue. Have dinner in Virgil's Real Barbeque on 44th Street, or at Osteria Al Doge on the same block.

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