Fridays Under $40: Cheap Sweets

Posted on: September 11th, 2020 at 5:07 am by

Photo: Sara Graham

In our Friday column, “Fridays Under $40,” Boogie writer Sara Graham again hits the streets to find cheap eats and affordable things to do during these weird times.

The end of summer always feels like a weird transition, but this month feels stranger than usual. We got news this week from Governor Cuomo that dining will resume indoors at 25% capacity starting September 30. Here’s hoping this will help save some jobs and the restaurants teetering on the edge—it feels like each day brings news of another crying “uncle” and closing permanently. I’m hopeful, but it also begs the question: is anyone eager to go eat, chat and breathe indoors come October? The verdict is out on whether this reporter is brave enough. Stay tuned.

Photo: Sara Graham

In the meantime, I set out to enjoy the remaining days of the September heat, wandering around eating cheap sweets while I did. I began my day at Hester Street Fair, which reopened IRL last month and is here weekends through October. I found I had stumbled upon a Lobster & Beer event and didn’t have reservations, which were required for a socially distanced spot at a table. Instead, I grabbed a cream-filled donut to go by Bong Phia. The sugar-coated treats are inspired by traditional Khmer desserts and they’re, in a word: delightful. You never know what you’ll find at Hester Street Fair.

Hester Street Fair, Hester and Essex Street
Total Cost: $5.00
11 AM-6PM, Saturdays and some Sundays


Photo: Sara Graham

Next, I stopped by Happy Star Bakery (aka Good View Bakery), for a coconut boba shake. They have two small neighboring stores—one that’s for baked goods and drinks, the other for savory things, like sandwiches and noodles. Everything is incredibly inexpensive. Take it to go and walk by the water.

Happy Star Bakery, 160 East Broadway
Total Cost: $3.75
Hours unknown


Photo: Sara Graham


If you’re up for a nice walk into the Financial District, you can find a little Parisian Spot with the best happy hour I’ve seen in COVID times, when happy hours are de rigueur. I meandered to One World Trade Center (hardly anyone was there) and then strolled down dark winding streets to try to find a bathroom. I passed Century 21, which just announced they’re closing all stores after filing for bankruptcy, according to Gothamist. Discount shoppers everywhere will be mourning that for years to come. I eventually stumbled upon a delightful little Parisian cafe (with a bathroom!) and just in time for happy hour, which includes $5 beer and wine every day from 4-6pm.

While I enjoyed a generous pour of sparkling white on an eerily quiet street, devoid of the usual tourists, I did my budget for the next month. Because I’m definitely going to need to hit that Century 21 “everything must go” sale.

La Parisienne, 9 Maiden Lane
$5.44
9AM-7PM, Monday-Friday
9AM-6PM, Weekends and Holidays

Total cost of walkabout: $14.19

Costs recorded do not include tip, so tip generously. Wear a mask.

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