Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Cheapest Food in New York

The current issue of New York Magazine is all about "Cheap Eats." To them, this means getting in and out of a restaurant for $25. Pardon my T9, but dual you, New York Magazine. The summer months are lean, at least for my friends and me. I have compiled the following list of hot food for under $2 just for us.

Papaya Dog is my favourite of the hot dog chains. It has hot dogs (even chili dogs!) for under $2, not to mention the cheese fries

Speaking of hot dogs, you can get all kinds of food for under $2 at hot dog carts like beef patties, pretzels, knish, kabobs

Speaking of carts, you can get all kinds of food for under $2 at coffee carts:
coffee and pastries are only 75c
a hard-boiled egg is 50c
a bagel with cream cheese $1.25

For that matter, at pretty much any deli you can get a bagel with cream cheese (I like everything bagels cuz it seems more like a meal) for under $2

One thing that is getting harder to find is a slice for under $2, although a friend from out of town got one for $1 on St. Marks (although he said it was awful)

However, you can get all kinds of food for under $2 in Chinatown: pork buns are 50c, six dumplings are $1 (this means 12 dumplings are $2!), hot and sour soup is $1

In the Financial District, you can get $2 sushi at Bento Nouveau, insofar as all of their sushi is half price after 7pm

Anytime of day, however, you can get $2 falafel at Mamoun's near NYU (and $1 falafel at Cinderella in the East Village)

Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, and onion rings are all under $2 at The Patriot (and the slutty bartenders will buy you shots)

But best of all, worth the train ride, are all the Puerto Rican and Mexican delights in Bushwick. Tacos are $2 at the Tortilleria - lots of meat and pretty filling

And there is an Empanada stand at Knickerbocker and Myrtle - $1

Pupusas (stuffed with beans, cheese, pork, etc.) are mostly under $2 at El Salvador Restaurant

A bit further afield, you can get Russia's/Uzbekistan's/Ukraine's version of meat-stuffed dough from table vendors on Brighton Beach Avenue for only $1.25

Or India's version, back in the city at Washington Square Park: samosas are $1 from the NY Dosa cart

I even made a google map:

View Cheapest Eats in a larger map

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Brighton Beach

We went to the beach. The beach is only a subway ride away! This being Brighton Beach, it made me miss the Ukraine. To quote the black guy walking around selling beer, "Peeba peeba peeba! Halodny peeba, folks."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Timmy's has opened up in New York! (Sorry it couldn't get its act together in time for your visit, Christian and Lindsey.) I have tried to explain to my American friends (note the ingratiating decor) the phenomenon that is Tim Horton's - the double-double, the ice capp, the boring chicken salad sandwich, and so on. When I used to work at the Calgary airport at five in the morning, and I got in line for a cup of coffee at 4:50 am, I couldn't make it to the front in time to start my shift. And there were six locations in the airport alone. Dunkin Donuts sells one billion cups of coffee a year (population of USA: 300 million). Tim Horton's sells 2 billion (population of Canada: 30 million). And so on.

Anyway, it has been reviewed in the Times, the Post, the New York Daily News, etc., all of which give it sort of mediocre, wtf?-type reviews. Hahahahaha, newspapers. THAT'S THE THING.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Francis Bacon at the Met

I can't believe I waited this long to go to the Met. Admission is $20 suggested donation, and they don't give you any attitude if you only hand over $2, although that didn't stop me from hastily adding "I just paid rent with a credit card!"

I could spend every Saturday in the Greek and Roman sculpture garden alone, but there is wing after wing of breathtaking gallery space (I recognize a lot of the sponsors' names - Kravis, Astor - from my work), opulent drawing rooms showcasing 18th century furniture, stone buildings stitched together by sunlit atria. We were there to see the Francis Bacon exhibit, which absolutely floored me (I guess I am finally learning to look at art), but get this uncanny tidbit: he often incorporated the image of the screaming nurse's shattered glasses from Battleship Potemkin into his portraits (it's at the end of this clip, if you're that impatient).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tw0 Rect0r Street

On Wednesday after I got back, when I left for work in the morning the building across the street was sealed off and swarming with cops. It turns out a woman who worked there had gone missing - she was seen going in for her shift, and never coming back out. For days no one knew where she was, but police were certain she was still inside, because this being the WTC-area, every entrance is covered with closed-circuit cameras. I thought about her a lot over the next few days - how if she was still alive, she must be praying to God that someone would just look harder, look again for her - and I felt like it was somehow my responsibility in particular, as a woman in the neighbourhood, as her neighbour overlooking the place she went missing.

Well, she was found, unfortunately not alive. Then came the CSI trucks, and the media vans, and the street is plastered with Crimestoppers posters, although the police know the murderer is a freight elevator operator who worked in the building.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Briefly: Romania

We toured another little reconstructed village. This one had kitties!

The "People's Palace" is the second largest building in the world, a temple to Ceausescu's megalomania.

He and his wife would do things like make the workers tear down entire completed marble staircases and rebuild them... five times. All of this was related with a cheerful lilt by our young local guide, the unspoken punchline to every such story being, "And then we shot him!"

Speaking of which, we also saw the location of his last stand. As soon as I got home I looked up the video on YouTube. This is one of the most poetic sixty seconds I have ever seen. The crowd goes from cheering for Ceausescu and chanting his name, to spontaneously booing and hissing as soon as he starts talking. Look at his face when he realizes what is happening. He escaped from the rooftop by helicopter, only to be apprehended hours later. Extra volunteers for the firing squad had to be turned away.

Travel fatigued, Kate and I got a bit silly.

A man on the tour turned to my mom and said, "You've got to marry those girls off." HAHAHAHAHA! Wait, what does that mean?!

We had dinner at a lovely old restaurant in the centre of town. I ordered schnitzel, mushrooms, and cigarettes.

And then the cossack joined us for dinner! Man, that was great.

While in Bucharest we stayed at the Hilton Athenee Palace hotel. I love staying in hotels, especially like this.

And then, at two-thirty in the morning on the final day of the trip, we gathered in the lobby and boarded our bus and left.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Briefly: Farewell to our ship

We were a hit with the crew.

Briefly: Odessa

Odessa was a free port for centuries, very cosmopolitan, its modern version built in grandiose marble and limestone by Catherine the Great, which managed to survive Stalinist redecorating, I think because the city is honeycombed.

The famous Potemkin steps were built gradually wider towards the bottom, which makes them longer than they actually are when viewed from below, and look perfectly parallel when viewed from the top. I guess this means I am going to have to break down and watch that Eisenstein movie now.

Cathy makes a point of taking pictures of things coming out of her head, because that is the kind of thing that would drive her dad crazy.

The streets are lined with wonderful restaurants and shops. We people-watched in a square for a while.

Then we went for dinner and ordered stuff life this.

Smalets, it turns out, is lard seasoned with dill and garlic, frozen and sliced and served with toast.

The portions weren't as small as we thought they were going to be. This meal is a lot of the reason I got so fat on this trip.