New York City isn’t synonymous with cheap. A cup of coffee can cost $5 at the airport. However, there are ten places anyone can visit free.
If you have any type RV, staying outside the city is easier than trying to drive it in traffic. Travel trailers unhitch from tow vehicles, and allow easier travel. Taxis, subway, busses, and walking are all great alternatives.
Check out these twelve sites when you hit the Big Apple.
1. The Federal Reserve Bank
Located at 33 Liberty Street on Manhattan Island, reservations are needed for the tour. The visitors’ entrance is at 44 Maiden Lane. All visitors must show picture ID, such as a valid visa, driver’s license, passport, etc. No cameras or recording devices are allowed, so leave these at home.
Tours are available Monday through Friday at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm. The tours last for one hour, and there are no standbys or walk-ins.
Schedule a tour online at this link, and confirm the reservations within 72 hours of your request or it will be cancelled. Their phone number is (212) 720-6130.
Keep in mind that if the Fed feels there is a security threat; tours can be cancelled without notice.
2. The Staten Island Ferry
Providing free service to foot passengers, you’ll have a clear view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Islands. The 25- minute trip begins at St. George on Staten Island and ends at Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan.
Plan to leave cars, motorcycles, trucks, etc. at a parking garage, as they are not allowed on the ferry.
Click on this link for more extensive history, schedules, photos and more.
3. The Long Island Community Boathouse
Take a free boat trip on the East River. The LIC has been providing free tours for boaters, kayakers, paddleboats and more to educate visitors and natives about the estuaries and rivers of New York. See a city working with an ecosystem instead of trying to control or destroy it.
Follow this link for tour times, reservations, etc. You’ll need to fill out a form and submit it. Keep in mind that spaces are awarded by a lottery, so if you don’t get the trip you want, try again.
4. The Brooklyn Brewery
Located at #1 Brewers Row, 79 North 11th Street in Brooklyn (718) 486- 7422, they are not America’s oldest brewers, but they are among the most popular in New York.
Tours are free to the public on Saturdays and Sundays. During the week, when tasting is allowed, tours are limited to 25 participants at a cost of $8 each. Reserve your space in the tour at this link. It goes without saying that if you plan to taste, and then don’t plan on driving. New York has tough laws.
5. The Fashion Institute of Technology
Located at Seventh Avenue at 27th Street in New York City, tours are free to the public. Their phone number is (212) 217-4558. Tours are free Tuesday through Friday from 12 noon to 8pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm.
Over 50,000 garments dating back to the styles of the 1800’s are available for public viewing. Special exhibits, such as “Sporting Life,” an exhibit of sports and recreational clothing on display from 5 May to 5 November 2011, shows the different ways fashion and recreation have influenced each other.
For more information,follow this link.
6. General Grant National Memorial
Located at 122 street and Riverside Drive in New York in New York City, the public is invited to tour the grave of Ulysses S. Grant, General and 18th President of the United States. Yes, Grant is really buried in Grant’s tomb. The number for visitor’s information is (212) 666-1640.
Tour the Overlook Pavilion as well as the tomb, and the surrounding park, which is kept immaculate for visitors.
7. The New York Public Library System
Free to the public, the New York Library System offers classes, exhibitions, and programs at 90 locations. The famous lions, Patience and Fortitude are located at the branch at 5th Avenue at 42nd Street.
Visit their website at this link for tours, classes, programs, locations and more. Join their free email newsletter and know before you go.
8. The New York Botanical Garden
Located at 2900 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx, their telephone number is (718) 817-8700. Visit this link for more information about tours, exhibits, history and more.
Most of the time, there is an admission fee, which is under $10 a person. Visitors can choose an “all garden” pass or a “grounds only” pass. Members of the New York Botanical Garden Society get in free.
Grounds admission is free to the public all day on Wednesdays, and from 10am to noon on Saturdays. This does not include any special exhibits.
Plan on wearing walking shoes- the scenery is stunning.
9. The Museum of Modern Art
Located at 11 West 53rd Street, their phone number is (212) 708-9400. Different exhibits are offered throughout the year. Every medium is explored from furniture, photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures and much more.
Admission is free during the Target Free Friday Nights, held every Friday from 4pm to 8:30pm. Tickets are not available in advance. Your ticket allows you access to all the museums’ exhibits, galleries and films. Present your museum ticket at the film desk office to receive a free ticket for same-day viewing.
Admission is charged at all other times- check this link for admission fees, museum information and more.
10. The New York Earth Room
This unusual exhibit is located at 144 Wooster Street, between Prince and Houston streets. The hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12 Noon to 6pm. They are closed from 3pm to 3:30pm.
The exhibit is closed at the time of this article for maintenance, and will reopen to the public on September 14, 2011. Photography is not permitted, so leave the cameras in their cases.
Two hundred and fifty cubic yards of earth were used in making the sculpture. I moved three cubic yards with a shovel and wheelbarrow in two days; I needed nearly a week to recover. Whew!
11. Central Park
One should never leave New York City without a tour of Central Park. Located in the center of the city, every native knows its location.
Visit this link to find out about all aspects of the park. Although no fee is charged to enter or enjoy the park, some of the features, such as the zoo, charge admission.
Take a pedicab, horse carriage, bicycle or walking tour. From their site, download a free walking tour map and take your time touring the park.
12. Grand Central Terminal
Located at 87 East 42nd Street.
Often called “Grand Central Station,” or simply “Grand Central,” this structure is one of the most famous train stations in the world. Numerous movies have filmed inside it’s spectacular walls, often missing the stunning artwork and architecture.
Free to the public, the web site offers advice on free self-tours. They are open from 5:30am until 2am, seven days a week.
It is filled with events, shops, restaurants, and of course, the train station.
Touring New York City shouldn’t cost an arm or a leg. By including these twelve places in your itinerary, you can have your vacation, and change in your pocket on your way home.
Source: Russ and Tina DeMaris, “RV NY City? 10 Free Attractions,” RV Freebies website, 18 July 2011