Study and socialize without breaking the bank

Under The Arch

Study and Socialize Without Breaking the Bank

New York is expensive. Whether you’re looking to cram for an exam or meet up with friends, these spots around campus and nearby are just a few of our favorite affordable options.

Prospect Park

Designed by the same architects behind Central Park, Prospect Park spans 526 acres and is widely known for its wetlands and the bulk of Brooklyn’s remaining indigenous forest. In addition to the expansive green space is a zoo, carousel, and dozens of athletic and recreational facilities. Events at the park range from concerts and art installations to Brooklyn’s flagship Greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza, which operates year round. 

Whether you’re sick of Central Park or looking for a bit more green space than Washington Square Park has to offer, Prospect Park is the perfect outdoor space to read, study, have a picnic or just enjoy some fresh air away from campus. 

(Photos by Arnav Binaykia for WSN)

Bushwick Inlet Park

Home to an incredible view of Manhattan, Bushwick Inlet Park is central to the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront and features several acres of green space open to the public. While it’s still in the early stages of development, the park boasts an athletic field, community center and monthly events. Past events have included concerts, flower planting and environmental rallies.

With an emphasis on sustainability, the park is a great step towards environmentally conscious landscaping and architecture, making it stand out among the hundreds of parks throughout the city.

(Photography by Kevin Wu for WSN)

Angelika Theater

Angelika Film Center has two locations in New York City — Village East and Cinema 123 — which feature independent and foreign films alongside big-name Hollywood releases. While seeing a movie in the city isn’t always the most affordable form of entertainment, Angelika offers a free membership program

Some of the key benefits include one point for every dollar spent at the theater, half-priced tickets on Tuesdays and free unlimited popcorn for you and a guest during your birthday month. By far the most exciting feature, however, is free mystery screenings on the first Wednesday of each month — members are only told the rating, language and runtime of the film, and seating is first come first serve. All you have to do is register, and you might discover a new favorite movie. 

(Photography by Natalia Kempthorne-Curiel for WSN)

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar NYC takes place every Sunday on the Upper West Side and features a diverse range of vendors, offering everything from food to one-of-a-kind furniture. All profits from the city’s self proclaimed “oldest, largest, and most diverse curated weekly market” go toward funding arts, enrichment and classroom essentials for four different public schools in the area. 

A short walk from Central Park, the market is a great resource for affordable vintage, unique artisanal goods or simply browsing a selection of curated antiques ranging from a table full of swords to old costume jewelry. 

(Photography by Manasa Gudavalli for WSN)

Brooklyn Flea Market

Brooklyn Flea takes place every weekend from April to December in DUMBO, and year-round in Chelsea. Founded in 2008, the flea showcases hundreds of vendors selling furniture, vintage clothing and antiques, as well as local artisans specializing in jewelry, art and other crafts. 

Brooklyn Flea also hosts Smorgasburg, a giant all-food market that runs April through October in New York. While pieces range from unique, inexpensive prints to designer vintage worth hundreds of dollars, the flea is a one-of-a-kind window shopping experience. A short walk from Brooklyn Bridge Park, Time Out Market New York and everything else Downtown Brooklyn has to offer, the flea’s DUMBO location is the perfect way to spend a Saturday. 

(Photography by Qianshan Weng for WSN)

Artists & Fleas Bedford

Artists and Fleas describes itself as a marketplace of tastemakers, experience curators, designers, collectors and curators. A year-round, indoor alternative to other flea markets around the city, it features New York locations in both Chelsea and Williamsburg. The Williamsburg location — a short walk from the Bedford Avenue station — also houses Artists and Fleas’ newest market, “Regeneration.” New vintage curators debut weekly, featuring sellers dedicated to the “recycling fashion revolution.” 

Whether you’re looking to expand your wardrobe, shop one-of-a-kind holiday gifts or escape the incoming cold weather, Artists and Fleas is the best place to discover what local artists and creatives have to offer. The market is open Thursdays and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(Photography by Andy Lee for WSN)

Hudson Park

Jefferson Market

Mulberry Street


Dozens of libraries in the New York Public Library system are sprawled across Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. While the libraries host events like free movie screenings and author talks, they also provide readily available, quiet study spaces — no Bobst Library reservation required. 

Whether you just want to admire the cavernous Rose Reading Room at the Fifth Avenue location or collect research materials at one of the library’s many specialized branches, the NYPL can get you out of the cold and into your next favorite book this winter. 

(Photography by Qianshan Weng for WSN)

McNally Jackson

McNally Jackson is an independent bookstore with locations in Williamsburg, Seaport, Downtown Brooklyn and Nolita. While the store’s primary appeal is its rows upon rows of meticulously curated books, most locations also offer various forms of seating, making it a prime study spot. Weekly events include book readings and author talks, which are free with RSVP. 

(Photography by Amory Gao for WSN)

Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle is a miniature castle located on Vista Rock, the second highest natural point in Central Park. Belvedere, which translates to “beautiful view” in Italian, is known for its sweeping views of the park and its surrounding cityscape. The structure was completed in 1872 and has since been renovated and modernized. 

Inside is a vast collection of natural history artifacts, microscopes and telescopes meant to give guests insight into the study of nature. Belvedere-specific tours are available via the Central Park Conservatory a few times a month at $25 per person. 

(Photography by Shirene Anand for WSN)

Pete’s Candy Store

Located in Williamsburg, Pete’s Candy Store — a bar and live music venue — has been around since 1999. The beloved tavern hosts a wide range of free events daily, including spelling bees, trivia nights and comedy shows. Most notably, it has been home to live performances from iconic musicians like Norah Jones, Sufjan Stevens and Regina Spektor. While a $10 donation for acts is suggested, performances are free of charge and drinks range from $4 to $13 — including a few open bar packages — making it a cost-effective alternative to the overpriced Greenwich Village regulars.


(Photos by Andy Lee for WSN)

The Drawing Center

The Drawing Center is a nonprofit exhibition space in SoHo founded by former Museum of Modern Art curator Martha Beck. With a special focus on drawing as a medium and dynamic tool for storytelling, it is a great substitute for overcrowded museums, allowing for a greater focus on each individual piece. Currently on view is work by artists like Ibrahim El-Salahi, a 92-year-old who uses drawing as a respite from his chronic pain, and Catherine Chalmers, whose miniscule ant drawings celebrate the intersection between art and science. The space is open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with every day free admission. 

(Photos by Augustin Langlet for WSN)

Wollman Rink

Wollman Rink is a seasonal ice skating rink located in the heart of Central Park. A New York City staple for over 70 years, the rink offers ice skating, artistic programming and community events. While adult tickets can be a bit pricey, ranging from $15 to $35, visitors with a New York Public Library card have access to a limited number of walk-up discounted tickets at $14, which cover admission, skates and a hot cocoa. Getting a NYPL card is free for anyone who lives, works or attends school in New York. This year, the rink is open from Oct. 24 to March 15. 

(Photos by Amory Gao for WSN)

Society of Illustrators

The Society of Illustrators aims to celebrate the art of illustration — both contemporary and historical — through exhibitions, lectures and competitions. The museum is located on the Upper East Side, with current exhibitions focusing on children’s book illustration, cartoons and comics from the museum’s permanent collection, and works by Robert Quackenbush. 

Artists of all skill levels are also invited to the museum’s regular sketch nights, which often feature costumed or holiday themes. The Society of Illustrators is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and student admission is $10. Visitors with a New York Public Library card can reserve a free ticket using the Culture Pass. 

(Photos by Amory Gao for WSN)

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