How do you enjoy New York City on a budget?

First, pack smart.

Since a budget traveler never uses limos or taxi cabs, the lightweight Samsonite LIFT spinner upright is perfect for maneuvering crowded airports, subways and city buses.

Next, comfortable walking shoes are a must.

By all means, place your fashionable shoes in a purse or sling backpack – but in order to enjoy Manhattan’s concrete jungle your tootsies have to be happy.

This tour begins at Grand Central Station’s Main Concourse.

Look up to the vast ceiling for the free light show of the galaxy.

Leave through the 42nd Street exit and walk west.

At the corner of Fifth Avenue and W 42nd look left.

Two stoned lions, named Patience and Fortitude, stand guard at the most famous branch of the New York City Public Library.

Continue looking down Fifth. Eight blocks away is the Empire State Building. Trust me – you will not miss it.

Another two blocks west and welcome to the neon excitement of Times Square and Broadway’s Theatre District.

Trek back to 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) and up to W 50th Street where the Radio City Musical Hall is located. One block east lies Rockefeller Center.  Even without the famed Christmas tree, plenty of free window shopping and people watching is always available.

Lovers of Gothic architecture will want to cross Fifth Avenue to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Lovers of shopping can turn either right or left to indulge in their favorite sport. Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Harry Winston are among the jewels of commerce.

Continue up Fifth until you reach Central Park.

Enter at the south entrance off 59thStreet and Central Park South and freely explore unique sights from statues like Balto and Alice in Wonderland to street musicians providing every entertainment. Ride the 19th century carousel: at a cost of less than three dollars it fits anyone’s travel budget.

Also near the south entrance is the former Plaza Hotel where the fictional Eloise once lived. Her very real favorite toy store, F.A.O. Schwartz, is directly across Fifth and still delights children of all ages.

Technology fans will thrill to the free fun offered at the Sony Wonder Technology Lab at E. 56th and Madison.

Walk back over to Fifth and rest your feet by boarding the #5 or #3 bus.  Head downtown and see Lord and Taylor’s decorated holiday windows and the Flatiron Building en route.

The Forbes Gallery is at 12th Street and Fifth Avenue.  Its free admission allows you to view eclectic possessions of the late billionaire Malcolm Forbes.

Catch the #5 bus again. It eventually winds past Greenwich Village, the Financial District and close to Little Italy and Chinatown to your next destination – South Ferry.

Devote an hour for the round trip cruise aboard the free Staten Island Ferry.  Unforgettable vistas of Manhattan’s skyline, Brooklyn, New Jersey and the Statue of Liberty are your reward.

Back in Manhattan catch the uptown #15 bus.

South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn Bridge and the United Nations are on the route.

At E 42nd and 1st Avenue transfer to the westbound #42 bus for the return to Grand Central Station.

Better yet, walk.

Enjoy the cross-town breezes off the East River as you stroll through the Turtle Bay neighborhood.

Stop at 42ndand Lex (Lexington Avenue) and marvel at the Chrysler Building’s lobby. This Art Deco gem has Red Moroccan marble walls studded with blue marble, onyx and stainless steel.

One block west off Park Avenue the grandiose lobby of Waldorf Astoria Hotel reflects past eras.

For less than $15.00 and a bit of worn shoe leather, the magic of the Big Apple waits for you.

Feel free to take a bite soon.

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