By Alexandra Bellink
Drag queen in New York bodega. Photo courtesy of istolethetv.
Heading to New York City for the weekend on a budget? While New York is generally an expensive city to visit, there are plenty of events to attend while trying to pinch pennies. Little known websites that are all too familiar for frugal natives like Brokelyn, Broke-Ass Stuart, NYC Recession Diary, Brooklyn Spaces, and good old Groupon, just to name a few.
For those of you coming in the weekend before Halloween, there is even more going on for you. Here’s a breakdown of the upcoming holiday weekend, with a list of events cherry-picked from these websites. It should be noted that our list sometimes calls for willingness to go the distance to find the best food, events and deals. There is more to New York than just Manhattan, so why not venture to the outer boroughs as well?
For those of you coming in on Thursday night there are a variety of activities you will enjoy, even though the weekend has not officially started yet. For the music lovers, Langhorne Slim and the Law are playing at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg. Brooklyn Bowl is just a few stops away from downtown Manhattan on the L train and tickets only cost $12, although it should be noted that this show is 21-plus. If you would rather see music for free, then head over to the American Folk Art Museum on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Friday night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Christine Santelli, Niall Connolly and Robert German will be playing for free.
If you are looking for some Halloween events to attend, have no fear (or should you?), there are a great array of haunted houses, parties, and parades throughout the entire weekend.
On Saturday, Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg is hosting a Halloween-themed late night dance party featuring local DJs, Sweater Beats, Pants Dance DJ, and Mikeone. The event starts at midnight and is $5 for anybody 21 and up. Coney Island is the home to many oddities year round, especially Halloween week. Brokelyn suggests the Creepshow at the Freakshow – Dirty Work at the Wax Works is a different type of haunted house than the traditional one. Located at 1208 Surf Ave, it is a haunted house in which you will see a reenactment of the Kennedy assassination with ghouls as well zombies eating Richard Nixon’s brain. Tickets are $10 and the event runs every night until Halloween from 6 p.m. until midnight. If you are willing to splurge, there is also the Nights of Horror at Luna Park. A $30 admission includes access to all of the rides in Luna Park as well as admittance to two haunted mazes.
If your idea of a well-spent vacation weekend is trying out local restaurants and cafes, NYC Recession Diary has a few intriguing restaurant suggestions for you. If you are a brunch lover, check out Casimir in Alphabet City. The French restaurant, which NYC Recession Diary describes as “laid back,” offers a bottomless brunch, all you can eat for $19.99 including mimosas and bloody marys.
For those of you looking to get some shopping done while in New York, there are plenty of discount deals in the city. For men, check out The Choosy Beggar, a website that obtains discounts and suggests certain men’s stores that are having major sales.
If you are not much of a party goer, Manhattan User’s Guide suggests you adventure north to Wave Hill Garden and Cultural Center in the Bronx. Here you will find 28 acres of gardens and woodlands, a great spot for viewing the fall foliage as well as beautiful views of the Palisades (the cliffs on the west side of the Hudson River). This spot has been an inspiration for artists and their paintings; so if you are the artistic type, bring your canvas or sketchpad! Get there before noon on Saturday and admission is free.
Do you like dancing, Michael Jackson and setting world records? If you answered yes to any of the above, you may want to check out Thrill the World NYC, a New York dance team sponsored by the nonprofit organization, Fractured Atlas. They are attempting to set the new world record for the largest simultaneous dance ever. If you do not know the “Thriller” dance, there are classes offered for $20, or $10 with a donation of a pair of children’s pajamas (that will go to The Pajama Program). The event is on Saturday at the Jackie Robinson Bandshell at 3 p.m.
Maybe you’re into less traditional sports like bowling. For a limited time, Gilt City is offering a special for a general admission ticket for $9 at Lucky Strike’s Halloween Party on Saturday at 9 p.m. In addition to bowling, there will be a live DJ performance, bar snacks, and from 9-10 p.m., vodka and beer.
If you find yourself in midtown on Sunday and are in the mood for quality street meat, check your twitter feed and see if the Comme Ci, Comme Ca truck is nearby. Usually on 36th Street or 52nd Street, the Comme Ci, Comme Ca truck was voted as the winner of the Best Street Meat in the Reader’s Poll 2011 on Midtown Lunch.
If you’re looking for some authentic Greek gyros, head west to Uncle Nick’s on Ninth Avenue in between 51st Street and 50th Street. Unlike food trucks that serve gyros, Uncle Nick’s allows their meat to fully cook rather than chopping the meat up and frying it on a griddle. And for $4.95 for a full sized gyro that would cost twice as much at most Greek restaurants, how can you go wrong?
There are so many events, restaurants, and sites to see in New York City that it can be quite difficult to pick and choose the best. Especially for tourists, blog sites like Brokelyn, Broke-Ass Stuart, Manhattan User’s Guide, NYC Recession Diary, Brooklyn Spaces, The Skint, Nonsense NYC, and Free Williamsburg are extremely useful. These sites are run by locals, so make sure to take their advice before waiting in line for an hour to go to the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building.