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Traveling to NY as a student tourist in Xmas and New Years

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Hi,all!

I could greatly benefit from some advice here! I am a student at UNC,Chaple Hill (NC) and it would be my last chance to see NY at its best during the Winter break.I do not have much money but both my wife and I are too keen to miss the opportunity.Manhattan hotels are exorbitant!!An absolute heart breaker :(
We would be reaching on the 24th and staying on till the 2nd of Jan.We found a couple of hotels in NJ affordable.Edison Hotel,NJ and Days Inn at Woodbridge.We would be staying for a good 9 days and would be commuting to NY as a tourist almost daily.Would it be safe to commute at odd hours?Any advice which would help us plan our trip better is greatly welcome!We plan to buy the Unlimited weekly Pass (MTA) and were in two minds about the New York Pass.
Thanks!

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