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Sex in the Sub-City
New York on the (Dirt) Cheap

cheap shot of the month
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.


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 nothing.

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 rock hard.


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 tickets

Bingo, you're in. Instead of going there, waltz right into your movie.

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 or whatever.

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 crazy.

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, www.madnights.com or www.newyorkunderbelly.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, www.flavorpill.net 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.

--Russ Josephs

E-mail: [email protected]


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[email protected] | May 2004 | Issue 50
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