Luckily, if you go 30 minutes out of the city to either Long Island or NJ, there are plenty of places that have no issue with a free lesson or two (or 3) because of the distinct lack of tourists.
I live in a suburb of Albany, NY and we don't have the foot traffic NYC has.
Several places have a $29.95 intro package, which includes uniform and 2-3 private lessons.
It all depends on what you're getting for the money and why you're being charged. While I agree paying for a trial class isn't the best thing, there's enough reasons to lead me to believe you shouldn't completely discount a school for it. You have to look at the whole picture.