Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Recession Chic

Think NYC is just too pricey for you to enjoy yourself? Well, we've found some deals that might change your mind.

In line with the trend of saving more and spending less, you can continue to enjoy the best of everything New York City has to offer on a tighter budget. Here is a list of some choice deals, discounts and bargains around the city that you can take advantage of:

Dining: Here is a list of some much-loved and decidedly cool restaurants and cafes in the cheap to moderate range that are guaranteed to satisfy a taste for exceptional food and atmosphere without breaking the bank:

* Brown Cafe in the LES;
* 24 Prince in Nolita;
* Smith’s on MacDougal Street;
* Champignon, a twee French cafe in Chelsea
* Toloache, a Mexican in Hell’s Kitchen with the ‘best ceviche in town’.
* Wild Ginger Kitchen, a vegetarian pan-Asian on Broome St with a startlingly cheap lunch menu (and the fastest delivery in town).

Drinking: The economic situation has definitely prompted some interesting new takes on the Happy Hour…

* Cellar Bar at Bryant Park Hotel, is serving up free cocktails from 5 to 6 PM every weekday for hotel guests.

* Elettaria, noted for taking over a venue at which Jimi Hendrix once played and for its seasoned mixologists from Freemans and Death & Co, is offering half-priced cocktails, wines by the glass, and beers seven days a week from 5 to 7 PM.

* Also, thousands of hipster joints pride themselves on their divebar aesthetic perfected by $2 or $3 cans o’Pabst and wonderfully discriminating playlists - think Rusty Knot, Bob Bar, Von Bar, Bourbon St, The Heights, or Amsterdam 106.

Pampering: Budget cuts are no excuse for bad haircuts. In case you haven’t heard:

* Bumble and Bumble University offers FREE haircuts, color, and styling, though you do have to call or email in advance to sign up.

* For your Skin: Bliss is having great sales, including $15 off their bath and body line. And remember, you always get a discount at Bliss during your birthday month.

* Priti Organic Spa: on East First Street where you’ll find a sweetly packaged, green and wallet friendly product line as well as monthly spa specials.

* For insanely cheap though meticulously performed manis and pedis visit Cindy’s, a gem of the UWS that many a fashionista will swear by.


* Net-A-Porter, a site that doesn’t force you to sign up to view their stock, is currently having a mid-season sale worth perusing.

* Finding Sample Sales: (or to find bargains on vinyl, books, and more, find daily and monthly listings and locations), visit Daily Candy, NYMag and NYCGO - or just walk around our shopping districts the old-fashioned way.

* Downtown Bargains: There are delectably reduced pieces at Ina.
* Uptown Bargains: We found some insanely cheap used books at Book Culture, previously Labyrinth books.


* Free TV Shows: It’s possible to call ahead and charm the guys down at NBC into giving you some free tickets to SNL and other shows.

* Comedy Clubs: Like Gotham Comedy Club, where the pilot of Curb Your Enthusiasm was filmed, have websites to sign up to regularly receive free tickets - they will actually mail them to you.

* Opera: If you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated, spend your unemployed mornings with the NY Philharmonic: Avery Fisher Hall hosts Open Rehearsals from 9.45 AM to 12.30 PM daily for only $16. You can also score some tickets to the Met Opera for $15 if you can get to Lincoln Center’s box office by 10 AM on the morning of the performance.

* Museums: For those of you who couldn’t be paid to stand through the Ring Cycle for five hours, but still want some high culture on the cheap, visit MoMA’s Target Free Fridays - free admissions Friday evenings from 4 to 8 PM. Similarly, Brooklyn Museum offers Target First Saturdays.


* Midtown: If you always need to be right at the center things, stay at midtown’s Bryant Park Hotel (image above) while you visit the city and enjoy its free happy hour listed above as well as complimentary valet on the weekends for hotel guests.

* Downtown: The Soho Grand and its sister hotel the Tribeca Grand are offering March promotions and winter specials through March 31st: these links to their websites list the details and availability.

Uptown: check in to the seasonal packages and anniversary specials at the Columbus Circle Mandarin Oriental - its website invites you to celebrate with them through Sept 2009 by saving 50% through a Suite Fifth Anniversary Offer.

Image: Garment District. Bryant Park Hotel as seen from Bryant Park. This hotel located in the famous "American Radiator Building" is just across the street from the New York Public Library, on West 40th Street. The building itself (which has been often described as one of the best-loved skyscrapers in the city) was designed by Raymond Hood and J. André Fouilhoux and built in 1923-1924. The unusual dark brick color is a result of bricks being dipped in manganese. The idea was that combined with the golden ornaments, this would give the illuminated building a look resembling a glowing radiator coil.