in the Sub-City
New York on the (Dirt) Cheap
George W. Bush's sputtering economy got you down? Lost your
job to outsourcing? Got laid off so your crooked C.E.O. could
pocket your salary? Have no fear! There's still lots of fun
to be had in this city, and for virtually no cost whatsoever.
Just follow my handy guide and you'll be able to live like
a king for nothing.
cheap shot of the month
Jonesing to see some Picassos or Klimts au gratis? Let
me be of service. Your first stop is the Metropolitan
Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street). With
their wallet-friendly "pay-what-you-wish" policy,
you can literally enter for pennies. Additionally, visit
the Whitney (945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street) on
Fridays from 6-9, or the Guggenheim (1071 Fifth Avenue
at 89th Street) on Fridays from 6-8, where they offer their
own pay-what-you-wish nights. If the clerk gives you a look
when you plunk down a nickel, just tell him or her that
Van Gogh, Gauguin, etc., didn't get a dime from their paintings
when they were alive, so why should now be any different?
My pick for May: The Whitney Biennial (until May
30th). Yes, most of it sucks, but where else do you get
to see so much shit from so many places in one space?
There are plenty of places to see free music in New York,
including two of my favorite bars, Lakeside Lounge
(162 Avenue B between 10th and 11th) and Pete's Candy
Store (709 Lorimer Street between Frost and Richardson).
But the best is Luna Lounge (171 Ludlow Street between Houston
and Stanton), which features great bands every night for
My pick for May: Pretty Flowers (www.prettyflowers.org)
on Tuesday, May 25th, 10:00 at Luna Lounge. These guys (and
girl) are the sweetest degenerates on the planet, and they
This one is a little trickier, but bear with me and you'll
be screenside in no time. Choose the movie you want to see
(Kill Bill Vol. 2, 8:00 for example) and arrive at the theater
ten minutes before it starts. Approach the ticket counter
and ask for the lost and found. You'll be directed to the
customer service counter. Where this counter is depends
on the next step you take.
If it's located past the point where they take your
Bingo, you're in. Instead of going there, waltz right into
If it's located past where they take your tickets but
still visible to them
Tell the person at customer service that you want to buy
some coupons after you're done seeing your movie, and that
you just want to make sure they'll still be open. Then,
when the ticket-taker is distracted with other customers,
quickly go into the theater your movie is playing at. It's
as easy as that.
If it's not located past the ticket-takers
Now it gets a little more complicated, but if you follow
these steps you will still get your free movie. Tell the
customer service person that you were in the previous showing
of the movie you want to see (Kill Bill Vol. 2 at 6:00 for
example), and that you left something important behind.
Your keys is always a good bet. The attendant will then
search through their box of lost items, and hold up various
keys before you. Look at them intently, and say "no,
no, no," etc. Finally, after it appears that your keys
are not there, ask if it's possible for someone to go in
the theater and look for them. Reinforce the importance
of the keys, how you need them to get into your apartment
99% of the time the attendant will allow you to go yourself
and look for your keys. After all, in their mind, you already
saw the movie - why would you want to see it again? And
why have some usher with better things to do waste his or
her time searching for your shit when you're right there
and you know exactly where you were sitting? Once you're
given the okay, go into the theater, and quickly find a
seat in the middle or the back, preferably close to other
people. If you've timed it right, the movie should just
be starting, the lights are going down, and you're home
free. If you really think some teenager making minimum wage
is going to figure you out, let alone figure you out and
go into a movie-in-progress to try and find you, you're
My pick for May: If you haven't already seen it,
I highly recommend Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,
which, coincidentally, is playing at the AMC 25 on 42nd
and 8th, one of the easiest theaters to sneak into.
Getting into cool clubs for free is difficult, but not
impossible. Sway, for example (305
Spring Street between Greenwich and Hudson) is always free.
If you're a man however, you have to show up with at least
two girls or they won't let you in. Opaline (85 Avenue
A @4th), on Saturdays, has their famous "panty parties,"
where revelers get down to their skivvies, and I'm pretty
sure these are still free. For other options, visit www.clubplanet.com,
where you can find out how to get on the guest lists for
various club nights. Just make sure you're on the free guest
list, not the reduced one, which can still be expensive.
My pick for May: None. I don't really go to clubs
that much, so I can't help you here, sorry.
If you're really broke, and meals are a problem, have no
fear. Every night in New York there are receptions for all
kinds of things. Go to www.artandpolitics.com,
or look in the Village Voice for exact locations,
dates and times. And every reception worth its salt has
free food and drinks. You're not going to get a huge meal
out of it, but you'll be able to feast on mini-sandwiches,
smoked salmon, brie and fruit to your heart's content. You'll
also get plenty of free wine and soft drinks.
My pick for May: Head to Chelsea on May 14 where
all of these galleries are having openings:
Heidi Cho Gallery (522 W 23rd) 6-8
Jeffrey Coploff (508 W 26th) 6-8
Nicole Klagsbrun (526 W 26th) 6-8
Kravets/ Wehby (521 W 21st) 6-8
Team (527 W 26th) 6-8
As far as I know, this one will still cost you, whether
it be in money, time, emotional commitment, etc. If you
know how to get it for free, please let me know.
E-mail: [email protected]