Something about spring inspires languishing outdoor meals, happy hour gatherings and long, lingering evenings paying $12 a beer at Citi Field. Not to mention spring shopping (the ugly stepsister of spring cleaning). Everyone is coming out of winter hibernation and it’s a wonderful feeling…for the first three weeks of the month. But all the alfresco dining, expensive drinking and adorable outfits add up quick and before you know it your waiter at Minetta Tavern is gently handing back your beloved little Visa and asking you not to return to their establishment. Pesky little problem. Round out your spring schedule with some amazing, FREE, NYC activities to keep your beloved self out of the poorhouse come September. Here are 5 ideas.
If you haven’t been to the Highline yet, go, go, go! After the grand opening last summer, the Highline is officially the Grace Kelly of the NYC Parks System. Cute, with a mysterious, playful downtown vibe, a walk on the Highline provides 1 to 2 hours of FREE entertainment. Enjoy NYC native plants while you contemplate the history of downtown. Start at Gansevoort and 10th Ave and walk up to 20th Street between 10th and 11th.
Shop at Barneys, Bendel’s and Bergdorf’s
Here’s the trick-don’t buy anything dummy! Enjoy the gorgeous buildings, free perfume samples and helpful sales staff. Peruse life-changing shoe departments, glance through the menu at the Bergdorf’s café and try on some to-die-for jewelry. Walk out guilt-free and shamelessly hunt down cheaper versions of the styles you love online. Practice these keys phrases before you embark on your window-shopping journey:
“Oh, silly me, I left my credit card at my apartment in Paris last weekend.”
“Gotta run! Late to lunch with the Donald. Ta!”
Check out free museum admissions
The galleries at FIT (7th Ave and 27th St) are free all the time. FIT has an interesting permanent collection, as well as inspiring student work. Call 212-217-5970 for more information.
Additionally, lots of big name museums offer free admission hours on Friday and Saturday evenings. Try MOMA (11 West 53rd Street), free one Friday a month between 4 P.M. and 8 P.M. Call 212-708-9400 for more information. Want something a little further downtown? The Morgan Library (225 Madison Ave at 36th St) is free on Fridays from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M. Call 212-685-0008 for details. Talk about a cheap date…
Have a picnic in Central Park. (Or Tompkins Square, if you have your skinny jeans.)
It is officially picnic season! Pack up your wicker basket/Duane Reade shopping bag and head out to your nearest local green space. Some great options include: Carl Schwartz park (East End between 84th St and 90th St), Central Park (try Sheep’s Meadow or Cedar Hill), Washington Square (between Waverly Place and West 4th Street) and Tompkins Square (between Ave A and Ave B on 10th St)
Keep on top of the street fair schedule
Kicking off in full glory the first weekend in May, the NYC street fair scene is the closest most Manhattanites will ever come to joining a carnival. Eat great food, sift through cheap junk and create sand art in a bottle. Make your own entertainment by counting the number of kids that bump into the backs of your knees with their Razor Scooters. Fun for the whole family! Start with the Amsterdam Avenue Fair on May 9th, Amsterdam Avenue between 96th and 106th Street.