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Trip Report Day Trip To Manhattan - spending as little as possible

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The other day, I commuted from NJ and met a visiting Swedish friend in NYC. We have both spent lots of time in the city, so have seen the main sights. I endeavored to see some things off the beaten path, while spending as little as possible on the activities and a reasonable amount on meals.

We went to Num Pang, a Cambodian sandwich shop at 25th and Broadway, for lunch. We had a yummy (though somewhat skimpy) five spiced pork belly sandwich, accompanied by a roasted ear of corn slathered with chili, shredded coconut and a bit of chili mayo. Drinks were watermelon juice (sweet and delicious) for me and lemonade (tart and delicious) for her. They had free self-service water in the dining room, which was nice. It came to $34 for 2 people. Not exactly cheap, but I highly recommend it.

We walked down to the New School at 13th Street for a Mannes chamber orchestra concert at 1 pm. It was an enjoyable hour of energetic music, in a relaxed conference-room setting. They even provided free coffee.

After the concert, we walked up to The Morgan Library & Museum at 36th Street. They have free admission to the McKim rooms, including J.P. Morgan's study and library full of historical documents, from 3-5 pm on Tuesdays. There are other free days/times available as well. Admission is usually $15 for adults, so this is a real deal. I love this place and being able to stop in for a quick visit was wonderful. My friend had not been here and she was charmed.

We headed uptown for our next event but our energy was flagging so we looked for a place to stop for coffee. We found an Italian-style espresso bar (more like a Starbucks clone with Italian products) along the way and sat for a while. Somewhere off of Madison Avenue, maybe around 46th Street. The taste of Italy was nice and eclectic. With our energy re-supplied, we continued onward.

Final activity for the day was an Evensong service at St Thomas Church at 53rd Street at 5:30 pm. We arrived early and enjoyed looking at the gorgeous interior of the church. The Anglican (Episcopal) tradition of Evensong is an afternoon service, consisting mostly of choral music. The St Thomas Men and Boys choir, which I would guess was 35 or so members that day, plus the booming church organ, were enchanting. The service lasted 45 minutes. We stayed for the following brief Holy Communion service.

Finally, we walked down to Ipanema Restaurant, a Brazilian place on 46th Street. Everyone there was so friendly that it was an enjoyable place to relax and talk for the next 3 hours! We had lots to talk about and catch up on. The street sign at 46th Street said "Little Brazil". The food was good and tasty. We each had a caipirinha, made with sugar cane hard liquor, sugar and lime. It was very good. We had a marinated steak dish, shrimp with coconut milk (disappointed in small amount of tiny shrimp, but delicious taste), plantains, beans, rice, collard greens, yucca croquettes with ground beef, crab meat appetizer (just ok) and a few glasses of wine. Total cost $120 for 2 people.

We were exhausted. We took our first taxi of the day, sharing as far as Penn Station for my train home and then she continued on to her city apartment for the night. I happily arrived home after midnight.

It was a great day. I love ethnic food in New York! Even though it is an expensive city, there are lots of things to do that don't cost a ton of money. I will always spend money on the food though! LOL