Friday, December 26, 2008

Cheap Chick New Year's Eve Guide 2008

Now that all your presents have been unwrapped and you've vacuumed up the pine needles from your apartment floor, it's time to move on to the last holiday of 2008, New Year's Eve. While there are a number of venues in the city where you can spend several hundred dollars to ring in the new year, I'm here to share some cheap and free alternatives to apartment parties and big bar blowouts.

Cheap Chick New Year's Eve Guide
Watching the ball drop at Times Square
Now you may think that this event is just for tourists, but it is a New York City institution watched the world over that you don't have to drive miles to attend, and it's free! Musical guests include Ludacris, Taylor Swift, Lionel Richie, and the Jonas Brothers. Be sure to arrive early for standing space and dress warm!
Cheap Chick Info: Free!
Location: Times Square
Subway: A,C,E,N,R,Q,W,1,2,3,Shuttle, 7 train

Jivamukti Yoga School 20th Annual New Year's Eve Party
After spending the holidays with your relatives you may want to ring in the new year with some peace and quiet and you'll get it at this party. From 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. At Jivamukti Yoga you can experience mauna, the yogic practice of silence, while in quiet reflection until midnight when the silence is broken with chanting. There will also be vegan chai for guests to enjoy.
Cheap Chick Info: Free! Party starts at 9 p.m. and lasts until 12:30 a.m.
Location: Jivamukti Yoga School's downtown location, 841 Broadway (near 14th Street) , 2nd floor (near Union Square)
Subway: N,R,Q,W,4,5,6, to Union Square

Time's Up New Year's Eve Bike Ride and After-Party
If you want to ring in the new year with the athlete in your life, you might consider coasting into 2009 on a bike or blades at this event. The ride starts at 10:30 p.m. at Washington Square Park under the arch and ends in Central Park at Belvedere Castle, which is the site of the group's free New Year's Eve party with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra and fireworks! If you aren't up for riding you can hang at Belvedere Castle until the bikers and bladers arrive. The group encourages revelers to bring food and drinks to share. For more details and info on joining up in one of the boroughs, click here:,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=42&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01returnid=114 Cheap Chick Info: Free! Ride starts at 10:30 p.m. and party continues into the night.
Location: Starting point is Washington Square Park and the ride and party are at Belvedere Castle in Central Park.
Subway: 6 to Astor Place, N,R,W to 8th Street (Washington Square Park) B, C to 81st St/Museum of Natural History; 1 to 79th St.

New York City Roadrunners Annual Midnight Run
It's too late to get a head start on your New Year's resolutions and run the event, but you can still enjoy watching runners complete the four mile course and enjoy a party at the Central Park Bandshell complete with fireworks, dancing, and a costume party.
Cheap Chick Info: Free! Schedule: DJ Music and Dancing 10:00 p.m. Costume Parade and Contest 11:00 p.m., and fireworks and four mile run begin at midnight.
Location Info: Central Park Bandshell (near the 5th Ave. and 72nd Street entrance.
Subway: E,V to 53rd Street/Lexington Avenue, 6 to 51st and Lexington Avenue, 6 to 68th Street/Hunter College.

Fireworks at Grand Army Plaza
Ring in the new year with a bang as you watch fireworks at Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza. This free event includes entertainment and hot refreshments.
Cheap Chick Info: Free! Fireworks starts at 11 p.m.
Location Info: Grand Army Plaza
Subway Info: 2 or 3 to Grand Army Plaza station; Q to 7th Ave. Station (Flatbush Ave.).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cheap Chick Holiday Guide

Now that you're done slathering that mayo onto your last turkey sandwich, it's time to think about the other holidays coming up in December. NYC is magical this time of year and you don't have to be a Scrooge to enjoy all the city has to offer during the holidays. Here's a list of happenings and activities to keep you busy until next year!

Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center (tree lighting at 8:55 p.m.)

Dec. 3, 2008
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

It may be crowded, but the famous tree-lighting ceremony is an iconic NYC tradition watched the world over. Why not be a part of it? Of course you can avoid the crowds and walk past the lit tree later in the season, both activities are free.
Cheap Chick Info: Free, but take note that it will be crowded!
Location: Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller Plaza, From West 48th Street to West 51st Street between 5th and 6th Avenues
Subway: B,D,F,V to Rockefeller Center/47-50th Street station, N,R,W to 49th Street and Seventh Avenue, or the E to Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street.

Indie and Small Press Book Fair
Saturday December 6th, 10 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Sunday December 7th, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
My fellow bibliophiles will love this free event! This annual fair is a great source of book-related holiday gifts as well as workshops related to writing and publishing. I think my favorite purchase was a homemade book with an old-fashioned poem on the perils of snoring.
Cheap Chick Info: Free, but donations of $1 or $2 are encouraged.
Location: New York Center for Independent Publishing, 20 West 44th Street
Subway: N,R,Q,W, 1,2,3,A,C,E to 42nd Street-Times Square, 4,5,6 to Grand Central

St. John the Divine St. Nicholas Day Celebration

Saturday December 6th, 9:45 to 3 p.m.
This is an all-day festival celebrating St. Nicholas Day with theater, music, poetry, storytelling, dance, comedy, workshops, and a crafts fair.
Location: St. John the Divine Episcopal Cathedral, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue
Cheap Chick Info: Free!
Subway: 1, 9 to 112th Street

Bust magazine Holiday Craftacular
Sunday December 14th
10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The same-title magazine hosts this annual craft fair, $2 gets you in and once inside you'll have access to vendors across the country hawking wares such as purses, clothing, jewelry, books, baked goods, and ornaments. These crafty gifts aren't all cheap, but fellow cheap craftsters who make the effort should find some bargains to put under the tree or in the stocking.
Cheap Chick Info: Free!
Location: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street
Subway: 1 to 18th Street, 2,3 14th Street, A,C,E to 14th Street, N,R,W,Q, 4, 5, 6 to Union Square

Lighting of the World's Largest Menorah

December 21, 5:30 p.m. (other nights various times)
Come watch the first candle being lit on this oversized menorah. The lights will be lit each night of Hanukkah, and festivities include food, folk dancing, and music.
Location: Near Central Park at 5th Avenue and 59th Street
Subway: N,R,W to 5th Avenue

Kwanzaa Fest 2008
December 28, 2008
Museum of Natural History
12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The museum is hosting this event, which will include dance and gospal performances as well as special Kwanzaa foods served at the food court.
Cheap Chick Info: Free with museum admisison (like the Met admission is suggested so pay what you wish, except for the special exhibitions.)
Location: 79th Street and Central Park West
Subway: B (weekdays only) or C to 81st Street

Holiday Exhibitions and Displays

A Literary Christmas at the New York Public Library
On display from December 5, 2008 to January 4, 2009.
Holiday-related writings will be on display at the library and include a copy of Charles Dickens'
A Christmas Carol, a Christmas-themed T.S. Eliot book,
Christmas greetings by James Joyce, Sean O'Casey, E.E. Cummings, and Maurice Sendak; and a Christmas letter from Jack Kerouac to his future wife, Stella Sampas.
Cheap Chick Info: Free!
Location: Humanities and Social Sciences Library at 42nd Street and Fifth Ave.
Subway: 4,5,6 to Grand Central, B,D,F,V to 42nd Street, 7 to 5th Avenue, Grand Central

Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
November 25th through January 6th, 2009
Come see this large Christmas tree displayed in the Medieval Sculpture Hall decorated with eighteenth-century Neapolitan angels and cherubs and be sure to catch tree lighting ceremonies as well:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 4:30 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays at 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 p.m.
Cheap Chick Info/Tip:
The museum suggests a $20 admission price, but visitors may actually pay what they wish, The Cheap Chick has paid as little as 50 cents and been able to enter the museum. Simply tell the admission clerk you would like to make a donation and give them the amount of money you wish to pay.
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Avenue at 82nd Street
Subway: 4,5,6 to 86th Street

Grand Central Holiday Train Show
Nov. 24, 2008 to January 19, 2009
Grand Central Terminal, Transit Museum Gallery Annex
This annual display, sponsored by Lionel depicts a railway journey from Grand Central Terminal to Santa's workshop at the North Pole. This year's exhibit also includes a scale model of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Gallery & Store Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cheap Chick Info: Free! Plus don't miss the free holiday light show on the main ceiling!
Location: Grand Central Terminal
Subway: 4,5,6,7,Shuttle to Grand Central Terminal

New Year's Eve Ball Display at Macy's
Through Dec, 10th, 2008
You can see this FREE iconic end-of-year symbol on display at Macy's even before New Year's Eve.
Cheap Chick Info: Free!
Macy's Department Store at 34th Street and Broadway
Subway: N,R,Q,W,B,D,F,V to 34th Street

Activities and Shopping
Holiday Marts
It's always free to browse the booths at the city's holiday marts. There are shops set up at Bryant Park, Columbus Circle, Union Square, and Grand Central Terminal.

Housing Works Sale
Housing Works Bookstore
Take 30% off already discounted books, movies, and CDs.
Location: 126 Crosby Street
Subway: B,D,F,V to Broadway-Lafayette, Downtown 6 to Bleecker Street, and R,W to Prince Street

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Ride

New York Botanical Garden
November 23rd, 2008 through January 11, 2009
Take a train ride through the gardens and see New York City landmarks such the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building made of natural materials including cinnamon sticks and orange slices. You may want to purchase tickets in advance from the website here:
Cheap Chick Info: Regular adult tickets are $20, plus the cost to get there. It is a little more than the Cheap Chick would usually spend but she got carried away with listing holiday events.
Location: New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx
Subway: The easiest way to get there is to take a Metro-North train to the Botanical Garden stop.

Ice Skating
Natural History Museum Polar Rink
November 22nd, 2008 through February 28, 2009
Skate around a 17-foot-tall polar bear decorated with pine boughs and lights
Cheap Chick Info: $10 (includes skate rental)
Location: 79th Street at Columbus Avenue
Subway: B (weekdays only) or C to 81st Street

Bryant Park Pond
October 25, 2008 through January 25, 2008
Work off the calories you've accumulated by eating too many Christmas cookies by taking a few turns around this outdoor rink. Admission is free but skates are $12 to rent. Be aware that the rink isn't huge so it can be crowded, which might make novice skaters a little nervous and there are usually lines to rent skates and check belongings.
Location: Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library, between 40th and 42nd Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenue
Cheap Chick Info: Skating is free but skate rental is $12.
Subway: B,D,F,V to 42nd Street, 7 to Fifth Avenue

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cheap Chick Thanksgiving Guide

If you're like the Cheap Chick and will be around the city during the Thanksgiving holiday, don't despair, there are plenty of free and cheap things to do during the long weekend:

See the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons before the parade. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving you can see the balloons that have been blown up for the parade (for free!) on the Upper West Side between 77th and 81st Streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue from 3 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Look closely that night and you might see the Cheap Chick under the Shrek balloon!

Of course you can also watch the parade for free as well, just be sure to get there early before the crowds gather. The parade officially starts at 9 a.m. at 77th Street and Central Park West.

At Canstruction, you can see sculptures created out of ordinary objects such as tuna cans, water bottles, and soup cans. The Cheap Chick highlights of this year's display included a panda bear with bamboo, Mr. Potato Head, and the head of Olympian Michael Phelps, complete with goggles. The event is free, but visitors are encouraged to donate a canned good that will go to someone in need. Canstruction is open through Thanksgiving (and beyond) and is located at the World Financial Garden with hours beginning at 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Of course Herald Square, Union Square, and SoHo will be a madhouse on Black Friday so you can wait one day to check out Housing Works White Saturday sales, with free hot chocolate and cookies at all the thrift store locations. The sale lasts from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at all stores (here's a link to store locations:

Also, don't forget that volunteering is always free, think about contacting a church or other charitable organization about serving a Thanksgiving dinner to those less fortunate than yourself.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Cheap Chick in the City! Look for the Cheap Chick NYC Holiday guide coming soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dead Sea Scrolls for Zero Dollars

On Saturdays the Jewish Museum is free so the I decided to check out the museum's exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls. After passing through a metal detector that would make Homeland Security proud, undergoing a mandatory bag check, and being told by a beefy security guard that the only way I could wear my jacket in the museum was by tying it around my waist, I finally made my way to the exhibition-I understand the need for security in these troubled times, but it's a bit jarring to visit a museum and to feel like you'll hear, "Please keep your chairs in an upright position" in a manner of minutes.

The scrolls (which to my surprise were not whole, but actually in fragments) were displayed under glass cases in a clean, crisp space with various facts and quotations displayed on the dark blue walls. I learned that the earliest scrolls were written in 270 BCE (before the common or Christian era) and were discovered in 1947 in 11 cases along a five mile stretch of cliffs in the Judean desert. Almost as interesting as seeing the actual scrolls (at least I thought) were the artifacts found with the documents. These included objects relating to the scrolls such as the scroll wrapper, a beige cloth the scrolls were wrapped in, the stone vessels that held the scrolls, and more everyday items including coins, an inkwell, cups and plates, a comb, and even a pair of sandals. According to the movie being played, the Bedouin who found the scrolls sold them to an antiques dealer in Bethlehem.

The Dead Sea Scrolls while interesting, was not as extensive as I had thought, so I decided to check out the rest of the museum. In a small corner tucked away between some artwork there were Holocaust relics from Thereisenstadt and the Lodz ghetto, as well as a spoon used at Auschwitz, money used in the ghettos, and various yellow stars worn by Jewish people during that time period.

One of the other exhibits that caught my eye was a cafe setting where you could sit and listen to conversations from cafes around the world. The museum also houses exhibits about anti-Semitism, Israeli immigration, the history of Judaism, and materials relating to the Jewish sabbath and holidays such as Passover.

Source: The Jewish Museum
Cheap Chick Info:
Free on Saturdays! Otherwise $12 for adults, $10 seniors, and $7.50 for students.
Location Info: 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, New York, NY
Subway: 4, 5, 6 to 86th Street, 6 to 92nd Street

Sunday, November 2, 2008

(Cheap) Culture for the Couch Potato

If you find it hard to leave the comfort of your couch, but want to be able to tell your friends and co-workers that you actually did something over the weekend, then throw off the blanket, take off the sweats, and put that half-eaten bag of potato chips into the trash and head to the Paley Center for Media.

Despite numerous name-changes (such as the Museum of Broadcasting and the Museum of Television and Radio) the Paley Center is a great place to spend an afternoon catching up on your favorite and forgotten TV shows. For just $10 (less than a movie ticket!) you can spend an entire day at the museum (it opens at 12 p.m. and closes at 6 p.m. except for Thursdays when it's open until 8 p.m.) viewing classic and current TV shows in one of the museum's viewing areas, which range from small rooms to large-scale auditoriums that seat hundreds of people.

Here you can see Lucille Ball stomping grapes in a classic I Love Lucy episode, the pre-Elaine Seinfeld pilot, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode, and the Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Other options may include specials and documentaries on topics such as women in TV and stand-up comedians.

If you're feeling nostalgic for your own childhood favorites (and I'm looking at you Bananna Splits fans...), you can head to the third floor where you can select the TV show of your choice from the museum's computer database and then view it on a private console with headphones. My personal poisons have included the "Getting Davy Jones" episode of The Brady Bunch and the Ally McBeal pilot. Once you find yourself humming the Cheers theme song one too many times (as I did) you might want to check out some of the museum's art and photography exhibits (some are in displayed in the hallways while others are in the museum's main gallery on the first floor), which have previously included art inspired by the TV show Family Guy.

The Paley Center also hosts events and public programs though many are out of the Cheap Chick's budget range, with prices starting at $20 and up, but there are some great programs if you want to splurge!

Here is a link to some upcoming events:

Cheap Chick Tip: Get to the museum around 4:45/5:00 p.m. and admission is free for the last hour the museum is open. Shh. Don't tell them I told you this!

Cheap Chick Info: $10, Free last hour of the day.
Location Info: 25 West 52 Street, New York, Closed on Mondays.
Subway Info: E or V to Fifth Avenue and 53 Street; N, R, or W to 49 Street and Seventh Avenue; 1 to 50 Street and Broadway; B, D, F, or V to 47-50 Street/Rockefeller Center.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cheap Chick Bargain Bulletin-Cheap Chick Halloween Pick!

If you're still looking for something to do on Halloween that doesn't have a scary price tag, then check out this "bewitching" event…if you dare. Tonight Trinity Church is hosting a FREE Halloween celebration that includes a happy hour (6-8 p.m.) where you can imbibe a "Haunted Hamilton" in the church's centuries-old graveyard. Maybe you'll meet your "soul"mate here, but I would check for pointy teeth before the sun sets! At 8 p.m. the church is screening the 1920 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring John Barrymore, complete with the original organ music. The Cheap Chick will definitely be at this great New York City-centric event (see if you can spot her among the costumed revelers) that won't come back to haunt your wallet!

Cheap Chick Info: Free!
Location Info: Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street
Subway Info: 4, 5 to Wall Street, 1, R, W to Rector Street, J, M, Z to Broad Street

Friday, October 24, 2008

Simple Pleasures, or a Central Park Picnic

According to the song "the best things in life are free" and I'm inclined to agree especially after a Sunday picnic in Central Park. Despite the chill in the air our group found a nice patch of sunshine in Sheep's Meadow where we could relax. I think one of the great things about the park is that it allows us to regress from our grown-up lives for awhile, even if just for a minute. Our poison was hula hoops, with some intrepid souls balancing more than one on arms and legs…and some places you don't want to think about. I saw others in the park playing touch football and throwing Frisbees. Our picnic was 21st century adult, with hummus, crackers, and cheese, but our music was pure 20th century childhood, including a sing-a-long to a ukulele rendition of the Muppet classic, "Rainbow Connection" (some people stared, but you know they wanted to sing along with us.) Despite my assertion above, this wasn't a totally free event (it was cheap tho!) since we all contributed to a potluck lunch, but as we relaxed on blankets and watched children running relay races, games of catch, and couples reading the New York Times as the sun set behind the Time Warner Center, it was definitely worth the cost of a bag of carrots.

I encourage my Cheap Chick followers to take advantage of all the diversions Central Park has to offer while the weather is still sunny (I know, not for long!). Take some snacks, a blanket, and a good book and lose yourself in a story among the trees, browse at the Strand Annex Store near the Fifth Avenue entrance, picnic with friends, take a boat ride, hike or bike the trails, and visit some of the iconic landmarks such as the carousel, the zoo, the Delacorte Clock, Belvedere Castle, and Strawberry Fields-and if you haven't heard of these sites, then get thee to Wikipedia!

Here are links to some interesting upcoming (free!) events in and around the park:

Pumpkin Festival
Saturday October 26th, 2008 (tomorrow)

The Chanel Mobile Art Exhibit (all-day, free, ticketed event)
October 20, 2008 - November 09, 2008
Rumsey Playfield
Check out art inspired by Chanel's iconic quilted bag.

The New York City Marathon
November 2nd, 2008
11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Watch runners from around the world compete in this NYC tradition.

Editor's Note

Hey Cheap Chick followers, sorry I havn't posted the blog lately! I have tons of ideas for future posts, so keep checking back for upcoming entries!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

FIT for Free!

Chanel and coffins seem an unlikely combination, but on a recent rainy Saturday my friend and I saw both (for free!) at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (or FIT- There were two exhibits, "Arbiters of Style Women at the Forefront of Fashion" (until November 8, 2008) and the recently opened "Gothic Dark Glamour" (until February 21, 2009) borrowing from the museum's collection of 50,000 garments and 4,000 pairs of shoes.

The worlds of Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Diane von Furstenberg, and others were displayed in the Arbiters of Style exhibit, but the fashions of other lesser-known creators such as Ann and May Shogren, eighteenth-century designers who traveled from Portland, Oregon, to Paris and New York for designs and fabrics, were also presented. I particularly liked a red silk dress from 1715, designed by Ann a Maria Garthwaite, the only woman known to have worked in Spitalfield's, the London-based silk weaving center. I also enjoyed an 1840's evening dress covered in cherries, a gray net lace French evening dress from 1949 by Lucille Man, and a fabulous red and gold Rive Gauche dress by Yves St. Laurent. One of the more modern looks I coveted was a copper-colored Diane von Furstenberg dress from her fall 2008 collection.

After leaving the muted elegance of the women's fashion exhibit behind, we headed downstairs to enter the fashion underworld of the Gothic fashion exhibit. Out of the darkness skeletons leered at us from fabrics, while above us a moon glowed in between shadowy clouds. Coffins were used as accessories and one of the walls faded magically away to reveal mannequins. Mannequins were also placed between castle ruins or were trapped behind mesh cages, so the whole effect was rather that of a surreal dance club where no one moved. Most of it wasn't really my style, leather and studs isn't my thing, but it was interesting to look at. My favorite outfit was a dress shredded through with shades of purples, blues, and lavenders done by Gattinoni for the fall 1997 collection. I think my friend summed the Gothic exhibit up best when she said, "Some of it's beautiful, some of it's scary."

Source: Museum at FIT

Cheap Chick Info: Free!
Location Info: Seventh Avenue at 27th Street.
Subway Info: 1, 9, N, R to 28th Street or the C, E, F, V to 23rd Street.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cheap Chick Bargain Bulletin-Open House New York (October 4-5, 2008)!

Open House New York is like the Holy Grail of cheapness, at least in the New York City area. It's a once-a-year happening (info here: held in the fall, where the doors of interesting and unusual architectural and historic spaces are literally open to the public for FREE all weekend. Spaces include houses of worship, office buildings, restaurants, bakeries, gardens, stores, theaters, hotels, galleries, museums and historic sites, and even cemetaries. Previously I've visited the Chrysler Building, Temple Emanu-El, Roosevelt Island, Gracie Mansion, the Rockefeller Center Gardens, and the Teddy Roosevelt birthplace (yup, in case you didn't know he was born right here in New York City.) Talks and tours aren't the only highlight of the weekend; there are trolley rides, glass blowing demonstrations, and even theatrical and dance-related performances. This is a chance for city-dwellers to discover hidden New York and save a buck or two while doing it-many of the venues regularly charge admission and tour fees.
Location info: All over NYC!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cheap Chick Bargain Bulletin-Open Air Book Fair (Sunday September 28, 2008)!

Hey, just a brief entry to alert my fellow bargain hunters to the Open Air Book Fair this Sunday September 28th (apologies to all who saw the previous date of Sept. 27th, the sale was pushed to the 28th because of storm predictions.) The event is being hosted by Housing Works ( and features books, music, and movies, all for $1. Plus for just $20 you can stuff a bag with clothing and accessories from the Housing Works Thrift Stores. Be warned, you will have to earn your bargains by sifting through hundreds of boxes and rubbing elbows with other bargain hunters, but it will be worth it when you find a mint-condition hardcover copy of The Alienist by Caleb Carr (hey it worked for me!) There will also be food from Noho Star and Nolita House, and Sixpoints Craft Ales from Puck Fair. The sale starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 6:00 p.m. and is located on Crosby between Houston and Prince. This is a really great event and if you need to soothe your conscious about spending your hard-earned dollars, remind yourself that all proceeds from the sale are used help homeless people with AIDS. The event is also sponsored by The Village Voice, The Onion, WFUV, and Tekserve.

Cheap Chick Info: All books, CD's, movies etc. $1, $20 per thrift store bag.
Location info: Crosby between Houston and Prince.
Subway Info: B,D,F, and Downtown 6 to Broadway-Lafayette, N,R,W to Prince Street.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Peanut Butter for Peanuts

Peanut Butter & Co is a West village enclave that serves…you guessed it, peanut butter. The cozy restaurant has a comforting vibe with warm yellow walls adorned with vintage posters. The menu includes a wide variety of sandwiches with sides of potato chips and carrot slices that can be paired with a nice cold glass of milk. Though the prices are just right for a Cheap Chick budget (about $5 and up) you may feel that you're paying a little much for a PB&J sandwich, even if it's the grilled Elvis, with its bananas and honey or The Heat Is On, a spicy creation with grilled chicken and pineapple jam. I personally recommend that you check out the dessert menu, which includes Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie and Peanut Butter Tiramisu as well as sundaes incorporating peanut butter. A particular Peanut Butter & Co favorite of mine is a chocolate milkshake with a shot of peanut butter; it's like the best peanut butter cup ever! Before you leave the restaurant don't forget to check out the different products for sale, such as peanut butter filled pretzels, a wide range of peanut butters including some blended with honey and maple syrup, and Peanut Butter & Company's own cookbook. For $2 you can even start your own peanut farm with the kit sold by the restaurant.

Cheap Chick Info: Menu prices range from about $5 and up.
Location Info: Address: 240 Sullivan St., New York, NY
Subway: A,C,E,B,D,F,V to West Fourth Street

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Write Price, Free Writing Classes September 22nd and 23, 2008!

Aspiring writers who want to get in touch with their inner author should check out the upcoming Gotham Writer's Workshop Fall Open House ( There will be 16 FREE one-hour workshops on September 22nd and 23rd, 2008 held at 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. at various downtown and midtown Manhattan locations. This is a great way to get an introduction to Gotham's course offerings which include one-day intensive sessions, private sessions, and 10 week writing workshops. I have attended these sessions before (and you may see me again, incognito of course!) and they have always stirred up my creative juices. Classes are taught by Gotham instructors who cover topics including fiction, creative writing, poetry, children's writing, screenwriting, and memoir writing. Most of the free sessions I've attended start with an instructor intro, possible class info (mostly consisting of that burning question, "Why are you here?") information about the genre (finding your audience, tips on getting published), and then will lead into some writing exercises, after which some students are usually called upon to share their writing. I would advise getting to class early, as late-comers may end up resting their butts on the floor, and though I encourage you to grab some of the free pens and notepads that are readily available, I would bring your own notepad and pen (the writing pads they provide are small) because you will definitely spend some time writing.

Cheap Chick Info: Totally Free!
Subway and Location Info: Varies, check website above.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Perfect (Free) Weekend-Part One (Sunday September 14, 2008) The Brooklyn Book Festival

The next chapter (and a particular favorite of mine!) in the Cheap Chick's never-ending story of New York City cheapness is the upcoming Brooklyn Book Festival. It's a fantastic (and FREE) one-day event held in the fall that celebrates New York City literary offerings. There are five outdoor stages as well as other area venues set up for a variety of happenings in Brooklyn's Borough Hall area. Events include readings, panel discussions, and performances, and past author appearances have featured Jonthan Lethem, (Motherless Brooklyn,) Dave Eggers, (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,) Pete Hamill (Fovever), and Jhumpa Lahiri (The Namesake.) Fellow bibliophiles can browse among stacks of books, and other literary-related items displayed at various vendors including Housing Works bookstore, and other publishers, and organizations.

This year some notables include Dorothy Allison: Bastard out of Carolina, Russell Banks: The Reserve Susan Choi: A Person of Interest, Joan Didion: The Year of Magical Thinking, Nathan Englander: The Ministry of Special Cases, Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections, Pete Hamill: Forever, A.M. Homes: The Mistress’s Daughter, Chuck Klosterman: Downtown Owl, Jonathan Lethem: Fortress of Solitude, Phillip Lopate: Two Marriages, Alice Mattison: Nothing is Quite Forgotten in Brooklyn, Terry McMillan: Waiting to Exhale, Sarah Mlynowski: Bras & Broomsticks, Elizabeth Nunez: Prospero's Daughter, Sandra Tsing Loh: A Year in Van Nuys, Naomi Wolf: The End of America, Gail Carson Levine: Ella Enchanted, Cecily von Ziegesar: Gossip Girl, Jacqueline Woodson: Feathers, Chris Raschka: Charlie Parker Played Be Bop Jon Scieszka: Time Warp Trio, Betsy Lewin: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type, and Mo Willems: Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity.

Cheap Chick Info: Event is totally free, and runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location and Subway Info: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall; R to Court Street; A, C, F to Jay Street/Borough Hall (these trains will let you off right near the festival.)

The Perfect (Free) Weekend-Part 2 (Saturday, September 13th and Sunday, September 14th) Governor's Island Jazz Festival

An event of a different vintage is the Governor's Island Jazz-Age Lawn Party and Festival. This is another great (FREE) event usually held in the summer, but this year, due to popular demand, there is an encore weekend being held September 13th and 14th.

The festival is held at Governor's Island (a former military base) easily accessible from lower Manhattan via a free ferry ride (just down the street from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, you can't miss it…) Once there you can head over to the picnic grounds, where the jazz band Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra will be playing (Saturday and Sunday), with the Boilermaker Jazz Band performing on Sunday. There is a dance floor set up for folks to Charleston-away the music in their best flapper gear, or you can simply enjoy the fun while picnicking nearby in your ordinary 21st century clothing. When the bands aren't playing vintage records played on a 1920's Victor Credenza phonograph machine will be played, and other happenings include a display of 1920's vehicles, croquet games, a horseshoe toss, tug-of-war, and a pie recipe contest (on Saturday). If you feel left out because you're not wearing beads or feathers, or you forgot your hat, don't fear, a slew of vintage clothing dealers and boutique milliners will be on-hand hawking their wares.

If you're not too worn out from dancing, feel free to explore the historic sights on the island including historic homes, and a fort. There may be free guided walks around the island, check for signs and info when you get there!

There are a few food vendors on the island, (think hot dogs, and ice cream) but I would recommend (esp. if you are living like a cheap chick for a day) that you bring your own food/drink. This event is the perfect excuse for one last picnic before the weather turns cold!

Here's the ferry information:
Ferries depart on the hour from downtown Manhattan to Governor's Island: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m.

Ferries return to downtown on the half hour from Governors Island to Manhattan : 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. , 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. (final boat leaves at 7 p.m.)

Governor's Island Ferry 10 South Street, in lower Manhattan, just northeast of the Staten Island Ferry. Take the R train to Whitehall Street

Cheap Chick Info: Totally free!
Location/Subway Info: See above.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The River Wild (or Urban in this case!)

This past weekend I went kayaking on the Hudson River in Riverside Park with the events group (The Lunch Club,, a future blog subject) I belong to. We stated off at the Boat Basin Café, where I had the pleasure of the cafe's grilled chicken sandwich as well as the company of two cute guys my friend and I met before brunch. The food is OK (the grilled chicken is a personal fave of mine tho one of the guys downed his veggie burger in record time) but I was dismayed to see that the café serves plain white bread with its omelets instead of toast. Also French fry fiends should note that the café serves chips with its sandwiches and not French fries. This is all fine though as the main attractions of the café are the views of boats on the Hudson River, and the open-air seating. Luckily the prices are budget-friendly, and most of the sandwiches etc. are around $8-$10.

After brunch we headed down to the 72nd Street Pier in Riverside Park for the kayaking. The free kayaking is sponsored by the Downtown Boathouse, an all-volunteer organization that wants to make the Hudson River accessible to everyone. The 72nd Street location is not the only kayaking venue sponsored by the group; other locations include Pier 40 at Houston Street on the Hudson River, Pier 96 and Clinton Cove at 56th Street and the Hudson River.

After signing the required waiver form, we got into line to wait for the kayaks. Ladies, have no fear, purses and bags can be kept safe in the lockers provided by the boathouse (but be warned, it will be a small purse or bag kind of day.) Some people were fortunate enough to snag life jackets before getting into line, but others (including myself) had to pounce on those just leaving their kayaks. Once on the dock, an extremely nice woman explained how to best move the kayak, and how to turn the kayak (believe me, a very key maneuver), before helping my friend and me to cast off. The Boathouse allows people to paddle in a marked-off area of the Hudson for around 20 minutes or so before calling you back in. It was an ideal way to spend one of the last days of summer, with the sun on your face and the scent of the Hudson in the air (hey, don't judge, I like it!) Your butt will get wet though, so I recommend that you wear a swimsuit to protect your bottom. We enjoyed some splashing from the cute boys, and after we finished (no one fell in as my friend had feared) we headed back to the café for drinks, and in our case some ice cream. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Cheap Chick Info: Boat Basin Cafe runs around $8-$10 for sandwiches, Kayaking is FREE! Kayaking runs through Oct. 13th.

Location Info: Riverside Park and the Hudson River, Cafe at 79th St., Kayaking at 72nd Street and the Hudson Street

Subway: 1 to 79th Street

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Brooklyn Night

Went to see The Shining at Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) as part of the free Movies with a View film series ( Man, young Jack Nicholson sure knows how to bring the creepy. Considering my most recent film encounter with him was in Something's Gotta Give, (I know it's pathetic, but forgive me, I'm a chick), this was quite a turnaround. I was surprised the movie didn't utilize "redrum"more, but that was OK with me, cuz when I read the book I caught on to the meaning of "redrum" pretty quickly, and was like, kid, how stupid can you be? My friend (who grabbed my arm throughout the movie) who was more scared than I thought she'd be, compared Shelley Duvall to the Swedish Chef of Muppet Show fame. Props to Stanley Kubrick for casting Danny Lloyd, he was chilling in his portrayal of Danny, the little boy with psychic powers.

This event is a top pick for "Cheap Chick in the City." A free movie with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhatten skyline as backdrops, and the scent of popcorn in the air, is my idea of a perfect New York City night. It can get chilly by the water, so I would recommend bringing a sweater even in the summertime. There are some semi-cheap eats provided by Rice (prices range from around $3-$10 and include skewers, hot dogs, corn, and burritos,) but get in line early before they run out of food (my friend was denied, and had to find eats elsewhere.) For an even cheaper night, bring your own food.

The Shining was supposed to be the last film in the series until next summer, but my top secret underground sources (well the announcers at the movie) told me that there will be a last screening of Cabaret on Thursday September 4, 2008. Otherwise you'll have to wait until next summer to check out this great Brooklyn treat.

Cheap Chick Info: Movie is free, and there is food from around $3 to $10 to purchase at the show.
Location Info: Brooklyn Bridge Park
Subway: F to York Street, A,C to High Street, 2,3 to Clark Street

A Brooklyn Day

A Brooklyn Day

I went with a friend to the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. (, which was started by Dave Eggers, author of the book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I was curious to see the volunteer-run writing space/store where area students attend workshops and receive tutoring on the art of writing. The space is a little smaller than I thought it might be, but what it may lack in size it makes up for in pure imagination. This store could be the Willy Wonka of superhero stores (if in fact there are other superhero store, this is the only one I know of.) There are capes and masks galore in a variety of colors, but there is also essential superhero gear such as grappeling hooks, ropes, and binoculars as well as the ever-useful cans of Justice and Time Travel for sale. What more could a superhero need? You also can't miss the bionic skeleton on display in the front window (believe me you'll know it when you see it), and the store's offerings (Sidekick Placement Services) displayed out front. Most items are displayed in boxes, which guests are encouraged to open, but be careful, you never know what you might find inside!

Cheap Chick Info: The store is free to visit and prices range from a few dollars to $15 and up.
Location Info: Address: 372 Fifth Avenue
Subway: F, M, R, to 9th St-4th Ave

Afterward my friend and I headed down the street the the famous Chip Shop ( a British-inspired restauarant, and home of the deep-fried Twinkie. I thought it might be more of a carry-out shop, but it turned out to be a sit-down restaurant with an Anglophile atmosphere with everything from Harry Potter memorobilia to tables decorated with British postage stamps, and coins. I had the chicken with chips, but though both were delicious, I couldn't really figure out the difference between the chips and regular fries (I know it's something to do with the way they're cut, but here they really looked like regular french fries to me.) Would love to know what they did with the chicken, to give it its great, rich buttery flavor. It has to be said though that the highlight of the meal was the much talked-about deep-fried Twinkie, it was perfect, not too rich, and not as fried as you might think, it literally melted in my mouth. The food is good, though not exactly cheap, most entrees are run about $10, but the deep-fried goodies are around $3. Mmmm, can't wait to taste the deep-fried pizza, and the deep-fried Snickers...

Cheap Chick Info: Entrees are around $10 and deep-fried desserts are around $3.
Location Info: 383 Fifth Ave. (at 6th St.)
Subway: F, M, R to 9th St-4th Ave


Just wanted to give a shout-out to all my new readers (read: my friends and family)! I am a New York City-based writer who has worked many a retail position to survive in this city (yes, I also ate my lunch out of a vending machine and lived without cable TV-hard to believe, I know!). During this time I had to be creative about my entertainment options in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Despite what some of my friends think, I still maintain that you can have some amazing experiences in New York, for less than $20. In this blog I plan to share the secrets l learned while living as a "Cheap Chick in the City."