Thursday, June 19, 2008

Recession About Town: Governor's Island outing - FREE!

During the summer weekends, 92 acres of Governor's Island are completely open to the public for picnicing, biking, walking, sight-seeing and there are a host of events scheduled for the summer that include art exhibits, concerts, activities and festivals. Admission to the park and the ferry ride are free. The Governor's Island website has more information about visiting plus a schedule of events. You can also find the ferry schedule there - most Saturdays & Sundays ferries depart every 30 minutes.

The ferry departs from the restored and totally awesome Battery Maritime Building just East of the Staten Island Ferry. If you have time to kill, check out David Byrne's Playing the Building

We went for the Jazz-Age Picnic w/Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra so our ferry ride was full of people in their '20s best despite the 100+ degree heat (seriously - people really dressed up).

At the ferry terminal, be sure to step into the waiting room to your right - that's the only public bathroom we found that was not a Pot-A-John.
There are a few food vendors scattered through the park but mostly of the "truck on the street" variety. Plan to bring a picnic lunch or organize a group to bring dishes to share - don't forget to bring water or you'll have to buy it on the Island. We shared a lunch and had fruit smooties and cookies from the Treats Truck!

Since the island is usually non-residential and only the ferry can get you there, it's one of the last remaining uncrowded spots in NYC. You can wander around the abandonded buildings and military barracks in almost suburban quiet and isolation. Dotted around the island are open buildings with art exhibits and history lessons. Peek into the windows of the shuttered buildings - eerie. Why isn't someone shooting a TV show here? This place is one of those unique spaces that lets you forget you live in NYC - plus, you get a free boat ride!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Recessionista: Shop For Free

Want new clothes without spending a dime? Host a clothes swap! Uma has this party at least once a year and it is a big hit, even when the economy isn't in the toilet.

Here's what you do:
1. Invite your girlfriends to bring all their unwanted clothes to your house.
2. Create sections for dresses, pants, jeans, t-shirts, etc.
3. Everyone should draw a number to determine who goes first, second, third, etc. for the first round. This should only go one round to ensure each participant gets at least one thing they love.
4. Once each lady has had a chance to choose one favorite item, drop the formality and let the free-for-all begin.
5. When it's all over pack up the left overs and haul 'em over to your nearest Salvation Army (or any donation center). Get your friends to help you with this part. Be sure to pick up a receipt for all your donations and save it for tax time - your donations will be tax-deductable.

You don't have to limit it to just clothes. Add jewelry, books, shoes -- anything in good condition with the potential to be of interest to your friends.

Make your clothes swap especially awesome by having delicious treats available. Get your friends to contribute cheap champagne for mimosas. If you have a friend who likes to cook ask her to make something. If you have a friend who lives close to Trader Joe's ask her to pick up some of that tasty three layer dip.

Clothes swaps are a great way to get new-to-you outfits and spend time with your friends for practically no money at all.

*Check out the great dress I got from the last clothes swap, which my friends call my "Michelle Obama" dress. How much did a spend? ZERO!*