Big Apple with Spare: Good Free Advice
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" My three readers must be wondering where I've been this week. I can hardly believe it myself, but I spent three enjoyable days in New York City!
REASONS WHY I HAVE ALWAYS HATED NEW YORK:
1. The Yankees
2. Fans of the Yankees
3. First time I went there was so stressful I vomited.
4. Tall buildings give me vertigo, both looking down out of them and looking up at them.
5. It's too crowded and noisy.
6. Everything is so friggin expensive!
7. People drive recklessly.
8. Everything is so expensive!
Wouldn't you know it? My daughter The Spare has her heart set on going to college in New York City: The New School, to be exact. This college is located on Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village. We went to check it out.
Did you know that I'm stubborn and cheap? Well, I am -- and New York City is no place for someone who is stubborn and cheap. But I was determined. DETERMINED. To make that city affordable at all costs. Especially since Spare wants to live there.
First, transportation. Through my daughter The Heir, I discovered that there's a bus service out of Philadelphia that goes express to Manhattan. Picks up in Chinatown, Philly and drops off in Chinatown, NYC. Round trip ticket: $20. Major mileage solved. Minor mileage in the city is trickier -- the subway system is not for newbs. Spare and I took it some, but mostly we walked. And walked. And walked. We saw Chelsea, Times Square, Greenwich Village, East Village, Soho, and Little Italy all by foot. Add to that, we walked the new High Line park system (it's free). My feet are bloody stumps, but it was worth it. If you want to see things, walking is the best way.
Second, lodging. Through a friend from school, I got a long list of cheap flophouses, found one that cost $50 per person per night. Dorm rooms with bunk beds. Who cares? A bed is a bed. Now, you may have heard that New York City has had an epidemic of bed bugs. This is true. But you know where they are? In the high-end hotels! Our little hostel turned out to be clean and no-nonsense ... and it was filled to the plimsol line with cute foreigners speaking all kinds of languages.
Free things to do in New York: Walk around and look at all the people. New York abounds in young, beautiful people -- most of them struggling actors and actresses, I suppose. True story: Spare and I actually saw a guy walking along by himself, memorizing lines from a script! Also, there are lots of nice pocket parks, and if you sit in the parent-and-kid sections you don't have to worry about the junkies. Spare and I shopped at a thrift store, and we went to a comedy show that charged $5 per ticket. If you add to that a willingness to eat at chains like Subway, you've got a cheap vacation!
Spare really loved the New School, and if she wants to be in the media business, I can't see any better place for her. She sure will need a job, though, because the New School isn't one of the priciest, but it is still $$$$$! (Remember, I'm cheap.)
I came home from New York pretty tired and definitely in need of some peace and quiet. But I also felt like I had tamed an evil dragon from my past -- my distant past -- and learned to like something I despised with an unreasonable hatred.
I still hate the Yankees.
(As usual, due to economic conditions, the free advice in this post is not free any more. Please email me the amount of money you want me to send you for the advice, and I'll write you a check. It's called "shared sacrifice," and I'm doing my part.)