New York City:  The Five-Borough Budget Tour

By Zeke Quezada

New York City  The Five-Borough Budget Tour

You decide to visit New York City and then you realize it is so huge how could you possibly get a feel for the entire area? What if you decided to hit a few spots in each borough?

Conquer all five boroughs of the greatest city in the world with a budget that, to be honest, most locals use too.

(Rule #1: Buy a 7-Day unlimited MetroCard. Not only is it good for all NYC Subways, you can use it for MTA buses as well. You can also pay it forward and help a rider who’s short of fare!)



New York City is all about the views. The higher you go the price goes with you. To get the best views of the city, you’re going to have to pay–unless you visit the Queens Museum. For $8, it offers an impressive view of the entire city…well, sort of. The Panorama of the City exhibit is actually a miniature model of the Big Apple. But don’t let “miniature” fool you. It encompasses over 9,300 ft2 where you can study the skyline and get a sense of the city’s layout. You’ll need when you feel disoriented coming up from the subways.

Staten Island

Speaking of those views, grab a breathtaking one on the Staten Island Ferry. Not only is it FREE but you get an up close and personal view of Lady Liberty as well as Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. Stroll up and down the refreshing boardwalk and visit “Postcards,” a memorial sculpture dedicated to SI residents lost in 9-11. Have breakfast or lunch at The Gravel Grill, a hometown diner with great prices and impeccable service. The only Smartphone there was plugged into a speaker playing an 80’s playlist. Hop back onto the Ferry that departs every half hour and your back in the city before you know it.



The best zoo in the city is the Bronx Zoo. The Total Experience Ticket is well worth the 36.95. It gets you into all rides and attractions. It sounds off-putting but that’s the way New York works. It’s capitalism at its best. In any case, the zoo is beautiful and unlike many zoos this one is not depressing. The animals actually have more living space than New Yorkers themselves. Be sure to ride the monorail and visit the gorillas. They are full of New York attitude!


There is always something happening at Prospect Park. Especially at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park. Year-round events like roller skating in the warm months and ice skating in the cold months come with the best prices and availabilities you’ll find in the city. If skating is not your thing there are plenty of other activities in the Park. When the sun sets and you are looking for something fun and unique to Brooklyn, head on over to the Brooklyn Night Bazaar in Williamsburg. Admission is free. There are food and culture vendors, arcade games, mini golf and live bands. Skinny jeans are not necessary, nor are they frowned upon if that’s your fancy.


Nothing can be more rewarding than a visit to one of the greatest art museums in the world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art or “The Met” for short is humbling and inspiring, immense yet personal and all for a suggested donation. For those on the strictest of budgets, the best museum in the city at name your own price rates–what can be better than that? There’s also a rooftop garden café and martini bar where those aforementioned views can be had showing beautiful Central Park and the famous Midtown skyline.


So what are you waiting for? See the sights without the price and conquer the boroughs of New York City!