New York City on a Budget

by Aaron Barker

THE JOCK (continued)

Pitch Perfect
The Yankees may have more pennants, but the Mets are the face of an increasingly diverse New York, with announcements in Spanish and wildly popular merengue nights. Even better, bleacher seats start at $5 for some matchups (die-hard Yankees fans can catch a game in the Bronx for $12). The National Tennis Center, which flanks the ballpark to the south, buzzes with energy when the U.S. Open is in residence each summer; the rest of the year, court time at the facility is open to the public ($18–$56 per hour). Beyond, in Flushings Meadow Park, are the relics of the 1964 World's Fair, the Unisphere and the crumbling observation towers. The second-largest Chinatown in the United States, in Flushing proper (one subway stop farther than the stadiums), is a sure bet for mealtime. Spicy & Tasty serves up Szechwan specialties like minced pork and string beans soused in red chile sauce—so even if the Mets aren't on fire, your mouth will be.

Dive Bar
In tourist-clogged Midtown, trendy Hotel Grace is a breath of fresh air—well, slightly chlorinated air. The centerpiece of the property (formerly the Hotel QT) is a mini pool on the ground floor (see picture on slide one). Of course, it's less suited to laps than to cannonballs (the swim-up bar doesn't help). The smallest of the 139 rooms upstairs are no larger than a walk-in closet, but with rates starting at $199, the square-footage becomes an afterthought. If you can't bear the thought of being bounded by concrete, the Parks Department hosts free (supervised) campouts each summer in locations throughout the city—including Central Park. Reservations are required.

Shea Stadium
123-01 Roosevelt Ave., Queens
Tel: 718 507 8499

National Tennis Center
Tel: 718 760 6200

Spicy & Tasty
39-07 Prince St., Queens
Tel: 718 359 1601

Hotel Grace
125 W. 45th St.
Tel: 212 354 2323

New York City Parks Department

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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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