A freelance writer, and amateur photographer Dora also teaches creative writing classes. Check out her website at www.creativejuicy.com
Published May 7th 2011
It's human nature to be fascinated with "how the other half lives". There are so many fantastic things to do in New York, and if you want to live the life of the bon vivant, but you're not feeling as flush as you'd like, here are five ways to sample the good life without the big bucks.
You simply must subscribe to this terrific site designed for the impecunious. It's a cleverly compiled roundup of the best cheap and free happenings around town, covering the areas of food, entertainment, beauty & exercise. You'll always be in the know, by having an email delivered to you each day.
Example: For two hours prior to performances, The Metropolitan Opera offers 200 orchestra seats for $25 every Monday-Thursday Excluding galas, special events, and opening nights of new productions. (Don't forget your Galilean binoculars)
This excellent website specializes in local restaurant gossip and also runs a live feed alerting subscribers to food-related bargains at restaurants all over the city. If you want to try a posh restaurant without the posh price tag, you should subscribe to this site.
Example: Scarpetta's, in the Meatpacking District is an upscale restaurant celebrating its three year anniversary next week. Chef Scott Conant is preparing a special $50 prix fixe dinner featuring four of the restaurant's signature dishes. The special menu kicks off on Monday, May 9 and will be available through Thursday, May 12. It includes a complimentary wine flight. Call (212) 691-0555 to make a reservation.
No doubt you've wandered through your favourite NYC neighborhoods and passed by the set of a TV show or blockbuster-in-the-making. You may have seen actors milling about and wondered, "How can I get in on that?" Why not become a movie extra - you never know where it could lead.
You could get paid around $80-$95 for major motion pictures for an eight-hour day. If you do enough background acting and fulfill the requirements, you can become eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild. Union background actors currently earn $139 per eight-hour day for work on a feature film or television production, plus extras like meal penalties, wardrobe changes, etc.
Tip: Pick up a copy of Backstage, a great resource, and reputable casting directors always use it. Each print issue is about $4 (available at newsstands all over the city).
Attend open calls. Most will be in Manhattan., but just show up, fill out a form and let them snap a photo of you.
New York is a mecca for shoppers on a budget, and for those trying to work it on a dime, you can only dream about the priceless haute-couture dresses worn by your favourite socialites and movie stars. Ilus is a dream come true because you can rent designer label clothing worth thousands - for between $100 & $150. Rentals last for 3 days, and when you're done with the dress, you can return it in person, or by courier.
Kiehl's has been a New York institution since 1851, specialising in skin care, moisturizers and salves, hair products, eye creams and more. I guess the old name would be an apothecary. A not-very-well-kept secret about this store, is that they will give you prepackaged samples of just about anything in the store. You'll be showered with samples of face wash, shampoo, conditioner, eye creams, moisturizers and more. The rich and famous get it all for free...so why shouldn't you!
And if you're still thirsty for more thrifty - check out the online magazine Brokelyn. It gives new meaning to the phrase sustainable living. It'll help you figure out how to do just about anything on the cheap.
Now that you are armed with some tips about how to live like king on a pauper's wage, go forth and grab your 15 minutes of fame.