The Best Things in Life Are (Almost) Free

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When my mother was a young woman living in New York in the early 1950’s, she was on a very tight budget. Oftentimes, she would venture down to Battery Park on a hot summer night and ride the Staten Island Ferry for entertainment. In those days it cost five cents. Today, it is free. She also has wonderful memories of buying standing room tickets for Broadway shows. I seem to recall that seeing Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence in The King and I is one of her favorite memories.

When I first moved to the city back in the mid-1980’s, I, too, was on a tight budget. I walked everywhere. And, one of my favorite things to do on a hot summer day was to ride the carousel in Central Park. I seem to recall that the price for one ride back then was fifty cents. Today, the price is two dollars for a three-and-a-half minute ride.

I bought standing room for New York City Opera on a regular basis. And, when I was an evening host on WQXR, I spent many of my days playing tennis in Central Park, and having a burger and a beer at the 79th Street boat basin. When I first started playing tennis in the park, I believe the season permit cost fifty dollars. Today, the permit costs one hundred dollars--twenty dollars for seniors and ten dollars for juniors. Amazing! 
 
Tell me YOUR secrets, New Yorkers!  Where are the best bargains in town?