City Pass: The Affordable Way to Travel

By Sandy Nesoff

Whether you are visiting from out of town or live in New York City or vicinity, there are many “must see” places to help you enjoy the history and overall environment of this greatest city in the world. We would venture to guess that most of those who reside in or near the city have never visited the Intrepid Museum, the Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building, the 9/11 Memorial Museum or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Most think, “Why rush? It will be there”.

Some relatives visiting from Texas shamed us into visiting the Statue of Liberty with them. We always wanted to go there, but never made the time. Unfortunately, we had missed a lot. The history, the views of the city from the Hudson River and the opportunity to take a boat ride right in New York City was definitely memorable for everyone. It made us reevaluate our perspectives of New York.

There isn’t a day that goes by when there isn’t something exciting, if not eventful to do in New York. Many experiences are either no-cost or low-cost, too. In addition, there are various discount opportunities to take advantage of, if you know where to look. Newspapers, theaters, and coupon booklets offer residents and tourists an affordable way to take the family to many top notch venues.

One company, City Pass is available, with numerous discount coupons for all to enjoy. Whether you are single, a couple or a family, affordability is a necessary consideration. Each booklet saves the buyer $82 from the usual admission fees and the buyer has a choice of 6 attractions to visit.. New York City Pass costs $114 per adult and $89 per youth, age 6-17. Most attractions permit the visitor to skip ticket lines and can be used for nine consecutive days from first use.

Among the City Pass options are:

• The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on the Intrepid aircraft carrier in New York Harbor. This 839.5 foot long carrier houses numerous planes as well as the Space Shuttle, a movie theater, a model of the Hubble telescope, a Russian space capsule and many artifacts that help tell the story of flight.

• The Top of the Rock is the observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center on the 70th floor of this historic building, part of a 14 building complex, which includes world famous Radio City Music Hall, the skating rink and in season the world’s tallest Christmas tree, lit with 30,000 lights in early December every year. The observation deck gives the viewer a 360 degree, breathing glance of New York City for as far as the eye can see. And, don’t forget to explore the exhibits on the floors leading to the observation deck as well as the very beautiful Swarovski crystal chandelier above and below the main lobby.

• Not too tired yet? Make your last stop of the day the Empire State Building. Perhaps, dinner and a drink or a coffee will invigorate you for a ride to the 86th floor for another 360 degree view of New York. You can visit earlier in the day and return later at night for a city view with everything down below lit up. Remember, there is no additional charge for your same-day return visit. And, be sure to take a good look at a very outstanding lobby.

New York is fairly easy to get around. Public transportation (trains and buses) as well as taxis and private vehicles, will help you reach your destinations unless you are trapped in the world-class rush hour traffic or construction…

New York City is one of those outstanding places that has something for everyone. Whether you go to a street fair in the warm weather, the theater to see a play, a farmers market right in the downtown area or a specific museum, there’s always something to do. New Yorkers just need to pick up a local newspaper or magazine to view listings of current events and voila, an outing can be planned.

If you have out-of-town guests, or if you haven’t been there yet, two excellent places to visit are the 9/11 Museum at ground zero and the Museum of Modern Art on 5th Avenue (museum mile). And, if you have them, use your City Pass coupons for admission. They will save you money.

The 9/11 Museum located in lower Manhattan, opened to the public in the Fall of 2014. It stands as a lasting memorial to all of the people who needlessly lost their lives when the twin Towers fell at the hands of terrorists in 2001. First responders were invited to experience the museum just prior to its public opening. The first responders and their families included many firefighters, police, and other essential personnel from New York City, New York State, many of the other states , as well as international workers who came to the city to help out. Many civilian New Yorkers lent hands removing rubble, giving out supplies and feeding volunteers.

The museum has a theater showing the fall and subsequent rise of the towers. It is incredible to see some of the inner workings of the new tower as it stands today. This museum is very tastefully done. There are rooms showing photos, with the names listed of every person who lost his or her life when the tragedy occurred. There is a blue wall that covers the area where some remains of individuals are buried. You can also see many videos throughout the museum that help to retell the story of what happened that day. The human components make even the most detached people feel touched by the horrors that occurred.

There are exhibits displaying artifacts that survived the tragedy- everything from fire engines to building beams, to eye glasses, shoes, melted firefighters gear, badges, etc. Each artifact brings you closer to an understanding of what the people who lost their lives must have gone through.

In midtown stands the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This museum is not to be missed. If you live in the city, turn on your computer and check the museum events board to see what peaks your interest. The curators of this museum cater to every aspect of the arts. Thousands of art majors from universities, as well as high schools and elementary schools visit the museum in order to study the great artists of the world. This museum is designed for young and old alike. So, although there are students there, you will also find mature folks who have a wonderful appreciation of the arts. There are paintings, water colors, jewelry, armor, furniture, all from various periods in history.

If time is on your side, try to hook up with a tour led by a museum docent. A docent can make a guided tour very informative and well worth the charge.

If you get hungry or tired, you can rest your bones at the Petrie Cafe in the museum or you can pick up a quick snack from one of the many food trucks in front of the museum. The trucks each seem to specialize in different ethnic foods. You will never go hungry in New York.

If you are visiting from out of town, or you are arranging for a place that friends or relatives will enjoy, remember that you do not have to stay in the priciest hotel in the city. Many of the smaller hotels on the side streets are more than adequate to meet your guests’ needs. Lots of them have been refurbished; many have restaurants in the hotel or nearby. Every one of the hotels can be checked out on line and booked prior to the visit. We recently stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn off Broadway in lower Manhattan and found it quite contemporary and charming. Daily breakfast is included in the cost of your room.

Before heading out, why not give your own city a “look-see” and discover the wonders of New York.

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