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Dining in New York City on a dime

 Dining in New York City on a dime

Dining cheaply in New York City is not as difficult as it sounds. New York is a city of many nations in that there are probably more nations represented in New York's dining options than any other city in the world. You can find wonderful food options that represent these many nations and won't break your wallet - what a wonderful way to literally enjoy the flavors of the world during the vacations!

Dining in New York City on a dime

Rainbow Falafel is the first place I recommend. This may be the best falafel store (if you can call it that) in New York City. If you've never tried falafel, you're definitely in for a tasty treat. Falafel is essentially a ball of vegetables and spices (chickpeas, onions, garlic and other goodies) that is deep fried and placed in a pita along with tomato, hummus, lettuce and yogurt. Starting to get hungry? We've only just begun.

Gray's Papaya offers the best hot dogs in town, especially considering the fact that it's hard to mess up hot dogs, especially when that's all you do for the price. In fact, the price is what keeps the clientele flocking - where else in New York can you get two hot dogs and a drink for two bucks? However, keep in mind that the decor and ambiance are what you would expect in a restaurant that charged two dollars for the average meal and don't expect a Jimmy Buffet type atmosphere with umbrella drinks and neon colors.

For hoagies of heroic or epic proportions, you really must try Tony Luke's. The decor is simple and the service is fast. You won't find a huge menu or a wide variety of specialty breads or carb-friendly diet options here (there are a few items, but not a massive selection). What you'll get are giant sandwiches with lots of meat and maybe a side of cheese fries and a soda to go with it. The food is good and the price is right, making it one of the best inexpensive places to eat in town.

Whether you refer to it as Southern food or soul food, Soul Spot has it going on. They offer many of the traditional Sunday dinner types of food, such as fried catfish, fried chicken, and vegetables dripping in 'drippings' for those willing to risk an impending heart attack. This meal is certainly a fabulous example of the culinary delights one would experience in the South while being offered at a price comparable to what you would pay on a Sunday afternoon in Mississippi. They offer a lunch menu that is slightly less expensive than the dinner menu and offers excellent value for the money.

Schnack's is another institution of inexpensive dining excellence in the great city of New York. If you have a Krystal's or White Castle in your area, you'll get the concept of "Schnackies," which are very similar to the burgers you'll find at the joints I mentioned above. However, rest assured that you also have other options if small, cheap burgers aren't your thing. If you arrive before 5 p.m., you can eat eggs almost anyway, you might think about eating them and, if you have time and space, you should try Harry's famous banana bread pudding and hot chocolate. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

The point of all this, besides making you feel good and hungry, was to let you know that despite its reputation for being an expensive place to visit, if you know where to look you can not only find cheap entertainment but also cheap food. You can enjoy the best that New York City has to offer without breaking your budget. And cheap is not necessarily a bad thing.