Saturday, July 02, 2011

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!


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.)


Debra She Who Seeks said...

NYC is no match for you, Anne. Good luck to The Spare in her educational goals!

Lori F - MN said...

If you insist on walking forever and ever, may I recommend getting yourself a pair of Shape-ups or the like? Walked/stayed on feet for 3 hours at a Renn Fair.

If the Spare wants to get into media business, NY sounds like the right place. Good luck to her.

Don't worry about the money. The Spare learned from the best.

Lavanah said...

Walking is the ONLY way to get around Manhattan! That's how people who live in the city get around. If you need to get to Brooklyn then you take the subway. And, if Spare ends up going to school in NYC, she will be going into Brooklyn-but she will probably never tell you about it.

Also, please reconsider the Chinatown bus for future trips-the safety records aren't good. My older daughter (the grad student) goes back and forth between Philly and NYC frequently, I can find out her methods, if you would like.

She has some wonderful years ahead of her. I am now feeling very nostalgic for my college years there. (and I have NEVER been to a Yankees game.)

Hecate said...

Anne, I have a Sister w/ lodgings downtown. Email me off list if you want an introduction. She'd love a foster daughter in town.

Alex Pendragon said...

I have a totally UNDERwealming desire to visit ANY city of ANY size. Crowds of more than seven people make me nervous. I expect a riot or insurrection to break out at any moment. Especially if soccer is involved.

Unknown said...

I have to give you serious props for conquering your fear of the city! I've been to NY once and I don't know if I would ever survive a return trip. I also give Spare props for knowing her dream and going for it, even though it's undoubtedly scary!

Intense Guy said...

I enjoy visiting NYC - I take the train (or tour bus) there and use the subway (the buses aren't that bad but they take a while to figure out route-wise). I have friends that live there and they don't own a car - they rent one on the rare occassion that they need it. But walking is the way to go... Wear good shoes and have spare socks.


Good luck to Spare - I hope she goes to the school of her choice and excels.

pluky said...

Stubborn and cheap? Honey, you were made for NYC. How do you think the natives cope? And yes, the subway can be confusing, but once figured out, you'll never consider anyplace without good public transportation a real city ever again. Can't help you with housing though, if it isn't rent controlled, it will dominate your budget.