So, as I mentioned in my last post. The summer of adventure and $40 dollar activities had to be stretched into the Fall. I think I’ve finally reached 40 and while I did incorporate a lot of restaurants to round out the summer, each activity, store, trip, restaruant, or location is definitely worth the time and money to visit. I will keep posting about cheap stuff to do around the city (I still need to spend more time in Brooklyn and make my way out to Staten Island and Long Island), until at least next August, but here are the last few installments for this years #40for40NYC! Thanks for reading along and hopefully I provided some budget friendly fun for a few of you!
I’ve finally gotten through 40 things. I ventured out to Queens and went to a concert, visited Little Italy in Manhattan, and did a few more things so here we go!
1. I went to see SOJA at the Play Station Theater in Times Square. It was so much fun! I think my ticket was around $30 for General Admission. The venue was amazing. I was expecting it to be really big, but it was incredibly intimate which made the performance even more memorable. I love Reggae and seeing SOJA has been on my list for a while. I am so glad I got to check out this theater for such a reasonable amount. Earlier in the summer I won a contest and got to go to another concert, so it isn’t outrageous to attend concerts here. Obviously, you aren’t going to see Billy Joel or Marc Anthony at The Garden for under $40 but you can find some really fun shows for a reasonable price.
2. I found a fun pool hall in the Bronx! Park Billiards Cafe and Sports Bar on White Plains Road is a pretty great place to go for a date or with a group to have some reasonably priced fun. I went really early on a Friday night. We each had a couple of beers and played for about two hours and it was around $45. You pay by the minute and they have specials during the day and certain evenings. You could easily get out of here for under $40 if you come with a big group and don’t drink. They had a DJ playing hip-hop and Reggaeton from the 90s-00s and there is also a full bar. No beer on draft though. The reviews on YELP are a little sketch and they were frisking people at the door, but I still had fun and didn’t feel unsafe at any point.
3. Yet another Arthur Avenue endorsement: check out John’s Pizza and Mike’s Deli in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. John’s is really reasonable and while I was a little iffy about a chain place, I’ve been to two locations and they were both delicious and reasonable! Mike’s Deli is a little more pricey, but you can easily get a pasta with bread and a drink for under $20. I endorse the Rigatoni alla Isabella! My favorite. There is another pizza place in the Bronx that is epic: Louie and Ernie’s! Again, very reasonable, excellent reviews, and awesome food. It’s a small place and it is difficult to get to if you are bound by public transport (6 train to Buhre and a descent walk down Crosby), but definitely worth the trip.
4. I went to City Island. The island is small, but very quaint and there are tons of restaurants. I’m sure it goes without saying that having a top o’ the line seafood dinner in any part of NYC is going to cost you more than $40. I went with a friend and tried the Crab Shanty. Transportation to the island takes a while, but you can get there for $2.50. We shared a seafood platter so I was able to check out the island, have dinner and a beer for under $40. In the summer I think it would be fine to head out there alone and walk down the island, but it was cold when I went and I was glad I had a friend there because it was pretty empty. Crab Shanty was PACKED and it was really a unique little place. Not the cleanest, but the decor was neat and the food was pretty delicious too. You can’t really swim out there, but I think going fishing would be so much fun. When it warms up, I will look into charter fishing and let you know what I find! There is beautiful architecture to look at and the sunset was gorgeous! Hard to believe it’s in the Bronx, but it’s definitely worth the bus ride to see a little history.
5. Queens! I traveled to two parts of Queens on the hunt for Morning Glory stores. Morning Glory is a Korean stationary brand that I used to frequent when I lived in Hawaii as a kid. They sell really cute stationary, stickers, toys, pens, pencils, school and office supplies, stuffed animals, home goods, etc. First, I took the train out to Flatbush, all the way at the end of the 7 line. Again, it takes a while, but for $2.75 you can’t beat it! Flatbush was amazing! It is Asian everything! Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, and Korean galore. Stores, restaurants, and salons everywhere. I went to Morning Glory #1 and got a few goodies and then went next door and got a taro bubble tea. There was also a meat-on-a-stick joint that I wanted to try, but I will have to save it for next time. You could easily make a fun day out of your trip for under $40. There is a big mall out there too, so you don’t have to stick to mom and pop places if that isn’t your deal. After Morning Glory and Bubble Tea I got back on the train and went to Elmhurst, Queens. There is a sizable Asian population there too and there were lots of Thai, Chinese, and Korean stores and restaurants. I went to a great Thai chicken place that was CRAZY CHEAP, clean and delicious! You have to check out Eim Khao Mun Kai. You can get a full meal for less than $10 or a meal for two for $16! IN NYC! It isn’t for the faint of heart, as you are served full poached chickens, innards and all, but it is mad delicious! There are dozens of places to check out, dessert spots, herb shops, restaurants, small stores, pretty much anything. I will definitely be going back out to Queens soon to get some Korean BBQ! After Elmhurst I stayed in Queens and went to another Morning Glory on Steinway. I got a few more goodies and walked around for a little while before heading home.
6. I went down to Little Italy in Manhattan for Thanksgiving. While I frequent the Little Italy in the Bronx almost every weekend, I hadn’t been to the Little Italy in Manhattan until this week. I went to Grotta Azzura for their Thanksgiving special and got a full three course meal for $38 (plus tax). This area is so great. The architecture is crazy gorgeous, there are tons of murals all around, dozens of restaurants (it borders China Town, so you can easily get Chinese food if you don’t like Italian). I went on Thanksgiving so lots of places were closed, but there is an Italian American museum, lots of shops, and some stores. Unfortunately, it is very touristy, but there are still a few spots to see some true Italian history!
7. Graffiti spotting! This is a great way to get some exercise, see free art, and meet some cool people. I have a friend that writes graffiti in the Bronx, and I went with him to watch him paint the #wataahwall at 207th and Broadway a few weekends ago. Every weekend (weather permitting), different artists write their unique pieces on the wall. You can easily get there on the one train for $2.75 and there are several resonable diners within walking distance. If you really want to save money, you can watch them paint from the 207th street platform and save the $2.75 swipe. Most of the artists are really friendly and love to take pictures and sign blackbooks. There are several other places around the city you can go, but this wall in the Bronx is a great place to start.
I feel like that about covers it. This is the fifth and final installment and while I did multiple activities in a day on several days, you could easily do one of these things every weekend and get to explore the city for cheap! My number one tip for saving money is to make friends. I’m not so good at it so I have done a lot of stuff alone, but the more you can do stuff with people the more money you can save! Thanks again for reading and see you guys for the next series!