TravelSocial Issues

Too Broke For The Big Apple

Last year, I decided to spend Christmas with my dad in New York. As a Canadian who grew up on American media, the city was mostly what I had expected it to be: crowded, extremely loud (the constant car honks became bearable after the second day) and very fashion-forward. It was amazing to experience the culture and architecture of New York; although, one of my biggest takeaways from this trip was the unexpected price of food. 

For the duration of our visit, the phrase “New York’s food must contain something special” became a running joke between my dad and I. Let me start off by reminding you that 1 Canadian dollar is currently equal to 0.75 US dollars. That being said, I expected the food prices to be the same, if not varying only slightly. It was, therefore, a huge shock to me when I discovered the price of eating at average restaurants around Manhattan. For a decent, simple lunch at a run-down diner, we ended up paying around $15 (USD) per person, which translates to about 20 Canadian dollars. Back in Toronto, I usually wouldn’t spend over $13 (CAD) for a lunch. As a money-conscious individual, this was pretty surprising.

Internet search results for cheaper options were disappointing. We strolled around the Lower East Side, and purposely chose places to eat that didn’t look expensive. The prices, however, were still too high. I began to feel frustrated, since I wanted to conserve my trip money to pay for other shopping expenses. So, being a rational teenager, I turned to Yik Yak for help:

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My Yik Yak post and various responses. Yik Yak is a location-based social media app, used to create and view discussion threads around the community. 

Many Yakkers advised us to pursue food carts, general fast food joints, and Chinatown for cheaper options. My dad and I visited a few of these recommendations, and we were happy to find decent pricing. Eating excessively from these kinds of places isn’t the healthiest alternative, but I supposed it would suffice for a few quick meals. 

Needless to say, I was disappointed with the lack of cheaper food. But, please, please don’t get me wrong! The food was delicious, and it was definitely worth checking out some of the upscale eateries. (I recommend Bareburger, a chain specializing in organic and all-natural burgers :^D)

I understand that NYC is an expensive place to live, and that it’s obviously a huge tourist attraction with lots of profit potential. But as a tourist, I was hoping to encounter some more obvious and economical eateries that didn’t compromise quality. Despite the food-shock, my trip to The Big Apple was still amazing, and I would definitely go again. In a perfect world, however, The Big Apple would be A Slightly More Affordable Apple. 


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