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