4. The world on a menu. New York City houses so much diversity of cuisines that it's a shame to stick to tourist neighborhoods or chain restaurants you probably have at home. Travel to some of the city's ethnic enclaves to sample delicious, cheap and authentic fare. In Queens, an easy subway or cab ride from Manhattan, there's renowned Indian food in Jackson Heights (the area's Jackson Diner is regularly rated some of the best Indian food in NYC) and hard-to-find Egyptian cuisine in the "Little Cairo" neighborhood of Astoria. Astoria is also home to many old-time Greek restaurants, primarily situated on Broadway or Ditmars Blvd. You can have a more authentic Italian meal on Arthur Ave. in the Bronx than in the tourist-clogged streets of Manhattan's Little Italy, and it's hard to beat the soul food found in Harlem, including the famed, family-run Sylvia's. Consider expanding your boundaries with a guided neighborhood food tour, such as one offered by Savory Sojourns and run by Addie Tomei, mother of Marissa.
5. Scout out the smaller shops. It's nearly impossible to visit one of the fashion capitals of the world and not drop some dough on clothes, shoes and other goodies (unless you have a lot of willpower!). But don't just confine yourself to the shopping meccas of SoHo and Fifth Avenue, though each does have its own New York charm — SoHo for its beautiful 19th-century cast iron buildings and Fifth Avenue for its elegant department stores and proximity to Central Park. Head to the Lower East Side to check out intimate boutiques that feature local designers as well as trendy new and vintage pieces that you can't find anywhere else. You'll also find special shops sprinkled throughout the downtown neighborhoods of the West Village, the East Village and Nolita, as well as across the East River in artsy Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
6. Buy-buy Broadway. With the opening of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein last year, the top price of a Broadway ticket reached $450 for the first time ever. Though this is an extreme case, it's difficult to find a seat at a popular Broadway show for less than $100 nowadays. A couple of options can save you money: Sign up for the free discount ticket listings at www.theatermania.com and www.playbill.com, which offer savings on advance ticket purchases for select Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Or get in line at a TKTS Discount Booth on the day you want to see a performance to save up to 50% on a variety of plays. (Tip: The South St. Seaport location is usually a lot less busy than the Times Square one, and only there can you purchase tickets the day before for matinees.) That said, if there's a particular Broadway show you've set your heart on, buy tickets as far in advance as possible (and be prepared to spend top-dollar). If your show's sold out, check out the online ticket brokers such as www.stubhub.com or www.razorgator.com, where people sell extra seats or re-sell ones they won't be using.