Times Square, free for the asking. Photo by Beebto Matthews, Associated Press // Times Square, free for the asking. Photo by Beebto Matthews, Associated Press(Times Square, one of New York's free gifts. Photo by Beebto Matthews, Associated Press)

Times Square, the hub of the wheel of the quivering machine that is New York City. Ambience is free. (© Bebeto Matthews/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's ironic in a city with some of the most expensive hotels and restaurants in the world, but many of New York's best attractions are free.

So many, in fact, that it's hard to narrow them down. Most New Yorkers would probably agree that at least a few of the five free things on this list are must-sees, but there's bound to be debate, which brings us to another famous aspect of life in the Big Apple: Strong opinions.

Times Square
A vibrant public space like no other, even better in person than it looks on TV. Plenty of things here to buy, of course, but the lights, sights and people-watching are free, 24 hours a day.

Central Park, Photo by Yanina Manolova, AP // Central Park, Photo by Yanina Manolova, AP(Central Park, Photo by Yanina Manolova, AP)

Central Park, the sylvan spot where New Yorkers go to unwind. (© Yanina Manolova/AP)

Central Park
Central Park is the city's communal backyard, a green space where New Yorkers can escape their small apartments to skate, bike, jog, picnic, push a stroller, walk a dog or climb a rock. Stroll the serpentine paths as dappled sunshine filters through the trees, and consider how well the park fulfills the goal of its 19th-century designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who sought to create the illusion of nature in an urban environment.

The Staten Island Ferry, a ready transportation resource. Photo by Mark Lennihan, AP // The Staten Island Ferry, a ready transportation resource. Photo by Mark Lennihan, AP(The Staten Island Ferry, a ready transportation resource. Photo by Mark Lennihan, AP)

The humble Staten Island Ferry offers classic views of the Statue of Liberty and trhe city beyond. (© Mark Lennihan/AP)

Staten Island Ferry
This humble, utilitarian boat takes commuters between Manhattan and Staten Island 24 hours a day, and it's free. It also offers classic views of the Statue of Liberty, the harbor, and the skyscraper canyons. Take the No. 1 subway to South Ferry or No. 4 or 5 to Bowling Green to board the boat on the Manhattan side. Be ready for crowds at rush hour and longer waits off-peak.

The Brooklyn Bridge, New York City's utterly free engineering marvel. Photo by Mary Altaffer, AP // The Brooklyn Bridge, New York City's utterly free engineering marvel. Photo by Mary Altaffer, AP(The Brooklyn Bridge, New York City's free engineering marvel. Photo by Mary Altaffer, AP)

The Brooklyn Bridge, New York City's enduring engineering marvel. Price of admission? Free. (© Mary Altaffer/AP)

Brooklyn Bridge
When it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was an engineering wonder, the longest suspension bridge in the world. It remains a beloved symbol of New York and an aesthetic triumph, with Gothic arches worthy of a cathedral and a delicate filigree of cables whose patterns change with every step along the mile-long walkway. Take the A or C train to High Street, Brooklyn, and walk back to Manhattan for the best skyline views.

The High Line, a recent New York City attraction. Photo by Kathy Willens, Associated Press // The High Line, a recent New York City attraction. Photo by Kathy Willens, Associated Press(The High Line, a recent New York City attraction. Photo by Kathy Willens, Associated Press)

The High Line, one of NYC's newest attractions, offers a bird's eye view of the city and its neighborhoods. (© Kathy Willens/AP)

High Line
One of the city's newest attractions, the High Line has quickly become a favorite with out-of-towners and locals alike. It's a narrow park built on an old elevated freight railway along 10th Avenue on Manhattan's West Side, from Gansevoort Street, just below 14th Street, to 31st Street. It offers a unique look at the urban landscape from 30 feet above ground, with a peek at adjacent apartments, Hudson River views, vestiges of the neighborhood's industrial past -- meatpacking plants, auto shops -- as well as signs of a trendy rebirth: postmodern architecture, art installations and Diane von Furstenburg's DVF Building. The northern half is more park-like with plantings, benches and birds.