New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

How to navigate New York City on a budget

Living in New York can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of the city while spending the least.
(Illustration by Max Van Hosen)

It’s no secret that New York City can be expensive — your first night out will make that abundantly clear — but if you know where to look, living in the city doesn’t need to drain your bank account. As you navigate both school and New York City this fall, here are some deals, activities and tricks that’ll let you experience the best of the city on a budget.

Take advantage of NYU’s free & discounted tickets

The Village has several great independent theaters to take advantage of. They screen everything from restorations of classic art house films to the hottest blockbusters, however tickets can run on the pricier side. That’s where the NYU Box Office comes in, as they offer discounted ticket vouchers to select theaters. Located on the side of the Kimmel Center for University Life, the Box Office offers tickets to movie theaters, Broadway and off-Broadway shows as well as sports events.

If the thought of discounted tickets wasn’t enticing enough, the NYU Museum Gateway gives you free access to certain museums across the city, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art. You can reserve your tickets on the museum’s website ahead of time, and score those free tickets by selecting the “reserve affiliate tickets” button. When you head over to the museum, just bring your NYU ID with you, and you’ll be well on your way to having the museum visit of your dreams.

Get your coffee from Matto

Why get one overpriced iced oat milk latte for $7.63 when you could get two for the price of one? At Matto Espresso, everything from coffee to pastries runs for only $2.50 if you download their app, and luckily for us, Stern School of Business has its own Matto. But if you’re like me and too scared to walk into the Stern building, there’s a Matto conveniently located at 293 Mercer St., just a three-minute walk from Bobst Library.

Skip the subscriptions

Being a student at NYU gives you free access to a number of streaming services, editing platforms and more for free or discounted rates. As a residential student, you’ll have access to Max — formerly known as HBO Max — and all students have free access to Adobe Creative Cloud through NYU’s Student Technology Centers. Once you’re settled into your room, make sure to set up Microsoft Office on your personal or NYU-owned devices before classes start, which is available to all students for free when signing up with an NYU email. 

While you’re at it, skip getting a gym membership. NYU has a number of gyms that are free to use for students — NYU Palladium Athletic Facility, 404 Fitness, NYU Brooklyn Athletic Facility and the newly opened NYU Athletics Center at the John A. Paulson Center are all accessible to students with a university ID.

Support the work of young artists

As a student in the U.S.’ cultural epicenter, you would be remiss not to check out some of the countless performances going on around the city. NYU itself has a number of events, performances, displays, and exhibitions you can attend throughout the year. The Tisch showcases are a crowd favorite — come spring, numerous departments, ranging from Film & Television to the NYU Game Center hold open animation film festivals, game showcases and more. Word on the street is that some of these showcases have free food, too. 

Beyond NYU, schools like Juilliard hold performances throughout the year, with tickets to most being under $45, or free altogether. The New York City Ballet offers $30 day-of tickets for people between the ages of 13-30 years old, and the Met Opera offers student tickets for as little as $12. The Joyce Theater has tickets as low as $10, depending on where you sit. 
If performance arts aren’t quite your style, The New School’s Parsons School of Design —  up just a few blocks from NYU on Fifth Avenue, holds open studios in the spring, where you can check out the work of up-and-coming fashion couturiers.

Get a New York Public Library Card

By getting a New York — or Brooklyn, for our students at Tandon — Public Library card, not only are you able to access a plethora of libraries, but you gain free access to cultural institutions around the city, as your card doubles as a Culture Pass. Participating institutions in the New York Library’s Culture Pass system include the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Noguchi Museum and the Rubin Museum of Art, to name a few. On the first of each month, participating institutions release a limited number of passes for the following month. Library card holders can reserve one pass per institution a year, and can have up to four active reservations at a given time. Just make sure to use your pass because if you don’t you won’t be able to book at the institution until the following year. Also certain institutions will admit two people under one pass — the perfect way to impress a first date or a potential friend for free, and share your tips on how to budget in the city!

Contact Adrita Talukder at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Adrita Talukder
Adrita Talukder, Editor-at-Large
Adrita Talukder is a sophomore at CAS planning to major in Comparative Literature and International Relations. Outside of the paper, she's usually photographing her friends, watching movies, or polishing her NYU French award. You can find Adrita on Instagram @adritasphotos or @adrjta.

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