New York City is expensive. Period. But there’s ways to make it work on a student/intern budget and if you listen to people’s tips and tricks, you will have an incredible summer. I talked to my older sister, friends, and family who have lived in NYC before moving into an NYU dorm last summer, and compiled some of my “life hacks” that can hopefully help some of you!
The easiest and best option, in my opinion, is NYU dorms. They are in convenient locations throughout the city, are filled with other students, and are extremely safe. The New School and Columbia also offer housing (slightly more expensive). The most affordable option that I have heard of is subletting from students in the New York City area, or if you’re willing to commute, looking for housing in other boroughs. If you think subletting might be for you, check out the Facebook group “Gypsy Housing NYC.”
Trader Joes is my go-to supermarket for food shopping. There’s a ton of options, including healthy alternatives. I could get a week’s worth of ingredients for dinner for $50, whereas a single loaf of bread costs up to $50 at Whole Foods (not actually, but almost). As far as restaurants go, one of my favorites is Cava. It’s build-your-own and is very casual and affordable. It’s basically Chipotle, except Mediterranean style (falafel, hummus, all the good things). There’s also a Chipotle on every corner if you’re interested. If you happen to vegan, Terri is affordable and has great to-go options. Mulberry & Vine also has amazing build-your-own bowls and platters with food from global cuisines. Gansevoort Market near the Highline is also super fun, with tons of different food stands. La Newyorkina popsicles sold on top of the Highline are my personal favorite (passion fruit is the best). Lastly, the farmer’s market in Union Square on Sundays has amazing fresh produce and fun organic products.
Work out classes are expensive. However, I found some ways to work around this. My personal favorite classes were Flywheel, Pure Barre, and Cyc. Flywheel and Pure Barre are on the more expensive side, however if you download the app “Class Pass,” you can get great deals with studios throughout the city. If you love spin classes, Cyc is definitely a cheaper alternative. The classes are still super fun, but the student discount is definitely a help. If you don’t want to pay for workout classes, running along the Hudson River is a great alternative. You can take the subway or walk to the pier and run for miles along the water, which I really enjoyed.
There’s an unlimited number of things to do in New York City. There’s pop-up markets all throughout NYC, where roads are shut down for and art and food stands. Walking the highline is my go-to. I also love exploring food places I see on New Fork City and other famous food Instagram pages with friends, and highly recommend making a bucket list of classic New York activities to do throughout the summer. Need to destress? Go to Citipups! If you act like you’re interested in buying a puppy, you can play with it until they kick you out – highly recommend. SoHo is a great place to walk around if you like to shop, or even just window shop. Almost all museums are Pay What You Wish, and I absolutely love going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. If you’re willing to pay admission, the Museum of Sex is definitely an entertaining spot to go to with friends. Central Park and Washington Square Park are also great places to picnic, lounge, walk, or run. Also, explore other boroughs! Brooklyn has become a center for art and incredible food, and it’s definitely worth a quick subway ride. I could honestly go on forever – you’ll never get bored in NYC.
NIGHTLIFE (if that’s your thing)
Nightlife in New York can be expensive and a pain, but there’s definitely ways to make it work! If you like to drink (and are over 21), I recommend having a glass of wine or whatever suits your fancy before going out, or at dinner if you’re at an affordable spot. Buying drinks at bars/nightclubs is definitely not the move. If you don’t want to pay an entry fee, I recommend going to more casual bars. A few that I would recommend include Phebe’s, BBar, The Standard Biergaten, Sidebar, and the Jane Hotel.