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Time for another installment of #40FOR40NYC! I haven’t written recently because since my iPad was damaged and my laptop is a hunk o’ poo, I had no way to write except with my phone. Thankfully, I have a new iPad and I bought a keyboard on Amazon, so I can type!
There is going to be a slight change to this series. I am working 6 days a week now, so I have had to restrict my exploring to Saturday afternoons and Sundays. On top of the 6 day work week, I am also taking a 6 week summer class which requires a copious amount of reading and writing in a very short time AND I have to take a Spanish fluency exam in a month. This means I do not know when I will be able to fit in any new activities. Since I picked up a Saturday and Monday shift, I won’t be going on any weekend trips either. After the class is over I can resume exploring on Sundays, but I obviously can’t fit in 25+ activities in 8 sundays. That being said, I don’t want to stop the series, but I am going to probably have to stretch it into the early Fall.
Anyway. Since my last entry I have done several things!
I went to two parades: cost=$5.50 and $5.50
I went to the Puerto Rican parade and the NYC Pride parade. I had only ever been to one parade-a Veterans Day parade in Greenville, Texas. Parades are an amazing, free, fun way to meet people, listen to music, and people watch! You should definitely bring a chair (which I didn’t do) and maybe a mini-cooler with drinks and such, but I highly recommend going to parades if you are looking for something cheap to do in NYC. There are SO many to choose from. I am already excited for the Labor Day and St. Patrick’s Day parades! I’d always wanted to go to the Puerto Rican Parade and it was really neat. There were representatives there from different states, many unions, companies, small business owners, clubs, dance studios, and people representing cities from all over the island of Puerto Rico! My best friend and her family are from Ponce, so it was cool to spot all the people representing that area. I missed the beginning of the parade so I didn’t see any famous people, but it was still a lot of fun. Last weekend I went to the NYC Pride parade. I had never been to a pride parade and going right on the heels of the marriage equality ruling by the SCOTUS was really memorable. Everyone was SO happy and in such a good mood. There was so much fun music, everyone was dancing, and there were a lot of well known people. I read that Caitlyn Jenner and the cast of OITNB were there, but I only saw Senator Chuck Schumer, Mayor DeBlasio, and Sir Ian McKlellan! This parade was really convienient for me because the route runs right by my school (yay, access to bathrooms).
I will know the best place to sit and time to get there next year! I was VERY weary to go to parades because big crowds aren’t really my scene, but at both parades I was able to find great places to stand that weren’t too packed so this will definitely be a regular activity for me.
I tried two new restaurants: cost= $24 and $29
Before the Puerto Rican parade I went to brunch with a friend from school. We tried this Italian place called UVA on the Upper East Side that was REALLY good. They serve Aperol Spritz, which is my favorite drink from Italy, and they have brunch specials. I got a drink, eggs, potatoes, and spinach for $24 including tip.
After the NYC Pride parade I went to Galanga Thai restaurant. It was really good and the service was QUICK, but the portions are small and there was lipstick on my Thai iced tea glass ;/ I got cashew stir fry with white rice, a Thai iced tea, and a Sapporo for $24 including tip!
If you need cheap entertainment, I HIGHLY recommend entering contests/raffles. In the past two weeks I’ve won two contests which meant I got entertainment for the cost of an Uber ride (I take the train downtown, but always Uber back if it’s after 9 since I would have to walk from the train station alone). Two weeks ago I won a contest at a bar called McFadden’s and got free alcohol for 3 hours and anyone that came with me got an open bar for $25 (at $10-$15 per drink in NYC, this is a great deal)! I entered their contest while eating dinner there a couple of weeks before (after trying to take pictures of Manhattanhenge). Anyone can enter and they select people for the free open bar the following week.
I also entered a contest through Jukely for some concert tickets and I won. I went to see Junior Brown. Most of you probably don’t know who he is, but I’ve been listening to him since I was a kid, so it was pretty fun. He sings country music, so it was it was neat to see a country artist in NYC. The concert took place at City Winery NYC. I will definitely go back to check this place out when I have more time.
I visited Green-Wood Cemetary: cost=$5.50
I decided I wanted to checkout Brooklyn and I’ve heard a lot about Green-Wood Cemetary. It’s a Nationial Historic Site and tons of famous people are buried there too. I will be honest and tell you I didn’t do any research before going, so this will probably be a repeat activity, once I find some specific graves I want to visit. I took lots of pictures, but it was raining and I came from work so I wasn’t up for walking around the entire place. There are some AMAZING views, great history to learn about, and unique graves to see. They also offer evening tours a couple of times a month, which I’d really like to check out sometime-probably in the Fall! A friend told me they hire actors and actresses to portray the famous dead people at their graves (spookyyy)!
I went back to Little Italy (in the Bronx): cost=$18 ($5.50)
This could cost as little at $5.50, but there are no trains directly to Little Italy only buses, so I just Uber (I take the bus to work everyday and I honestly really don’t like getting on it when I don’t have to). I made a friend on the train a few weeks ago and he is a graffiti artists from Harlem. He does a lot of work in Little Italy, so we met up and he showed me around. I went back to Bronx Beer Hall, checked out a place called Tuff City Tattoos, and have been to several delicious restaurants too! It was raining so I didn’t get many pictures, but I plan to visit several times throughout the summer, so I am sure I will get some more!
I went to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Botanical Garden: cost=$0 ($20-25)
My boss is a member of the Botanical Garden so I didn’t have to pay to see this exhibit, but regular tickets are $20-25 (discounts for students, senior citizens, and kids). I was SO excited to see this exhibit. I have been fascinated by Mexican culture and art since I was in high school, so this was a major treat. The NYBG refashioned Frida Kahlo’s home in Mexico City and had several works on display. I can’t really put into words how great it was, so here are some pictures.
Last, but not least, I went to Highbridge: cost=$15.50
I rode the bus over to the Manhattan side of Highbridge. This bridge was built in 1867 and later left to crumble, but it was recently renovated and reopened. The park is gorgeous and I bought a beer and some Takis at the bodega and sat and watched people for over an hour. It’s a nice walk, it’s peaceful, and definitely a great historic site for both the borough of Manhattan and the Bronx!