New York City on a Budget

by Aaron Barker


The Dilemma
City-dwellers might pay thousands of dollars for gym memberships and tens of thousands for the chance to take a deep breath of O2 in the Hamptons. But NYC's quantities of free public space and open-air events mean that stretching your limbs doesn't have to mean stretching your budget.

Go for the Green
Central Park's 843 acres are a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts, but there are wisps of green throughout the city. Hugging the western fringe of Manhattan, Hudson River Park (pictured) is lapped by the Hudson's gentle swells. Jog (for free!) along the five-mile stretch between Battery Place and 59th Street. Views along the way include the Statue of Liberty, the bluffs of New Jersey, and new buildings by Frank Gehry and Richard Meier. You can rent wheels at Bike and Roll at the northern end of the park for $8 per hour, or paddle around on the river: The Downtown Boathouse doles out one- and two-person kayaks, for free, to anyone who can swim (mid-May to mid-October). When the weather's frosty and the wind kicks up, head to Midtown and take a twirl around the ice-skating rink in Bryant Park (skating is free, rentals are $10).

To Market, To Market
Union Square is a hub for the healthy set, with free yoga in the park (Wednesdays from 3 to 4 pm) and the ever-popular outdoor Greenmarket, perfect for snacking on handmade pretzels, farmhouse cheeses, and a bounty of just-picked produce, all of it harvested within 100 miles of the city. The farm stands are only open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, but scores of health- (and budget-) conscious restaurants and take-out joints ring the park: Maoz Vegetarian, a stateside outpost of the hip Dutch chain, serves up super-fresh add-your-own-topping falafels for $6.

Hudson River Park
Tel: 212 627 2020

Bike and Roll
Pier 84
12th Ave. at West 43rd St.
Tel: 212 260 0400

Downtown Boathouse
Pier 40 at Houston St.
Tel: 646 613 0740

Bryant Park
42nd St. at 6th Ave.
Tel: 212 768 4242

Union Square
Bounded by 14th St. and 17th St. between Union Square W. and Union Square E.

Maoz Vegetarian
38 Union Square E.
Tel: 212 260 1988

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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