TRAVEL: New York on a Budget

TRAVEL: New York on a Budget ON THE TOWN

ON THE TOWN

It's no secret that New York is a million-dollar city. From diamonds to dinners, from baubles to Broadway, the world's greatest luxuries can be found in the small strip of land between the Hudson and East Rivers. Psst! Did you know that there's a way to enjoy New York's high life at a fraction of the cost? You just have to know where to look.

The Diamond District, otherwise known as Diamond and Jewelry Row, trails up 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Arcades and plazas (known as "exchanges"), packed with glittering booths, line the busy street and beckon shoppers with their beautiful fare at near-wholesale prices. More than 2,600 independent businesses are located on this block, selling everything from loose stones and settings, to gemstones, gold, platinum and estate jewelry. It is a feast for the eye and will not take a large bite out of the pocket.

To help sort through the possibilities, the Diamond and Jewelry Industry recently published the 47th Street Shopper's Guide, a consumer's guide to the avenue. The guide lists over 150 jewelers and features a special section on what the consumer should look for when shopping for jewelry. It lists the names, addresses and phone numbers of over 150 jewelers, along with a description of their specialty. For a copy of the guide, call (212) 302-5739.

Broadway theatre is the diamond in New York City's crown. Theatre tickets are to many, a necessary luxury, no matter what the price tag reads. However, there is a way to purchase discount tickets for select shows. The Theatre Development Fund (TDF), operates two booths in New York City, where they sell day-of-performance tickets at 20 to 50 percent off regular prices. Excellent seats are usually available to a wide selection of Broadway and popular Off-Broadway productions.

The Times Square booth, known by the TKTS moniker, is located at 47th Street and Broadway. Available shows are posted on boards outside the ticket window. Purchase tickets for Mon. through Sat. evening performances from 3 p.m.-8 p.m. For Wed. and Sat. matinees the booth is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and for Sun. matinees, arrive between 11 a.m. and 12 noon.

The lower Manhattan Ticket Center is located on the mezzanine at 2 World Trade Center. Hours of operation are Mon. to Fri., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sat., 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Don't forget, TKTS sells day-of-performance tickets only! Payment is accepted in cash or travelers check. To learn more about TKTS, the Theatre Development Fund, and other ways to see top shows at discount prices, check out their web-site at www.tdf.org.

-- By Jennifer Lanter