Fridays Under $40: Date Yourself For Next To Nothing

Posted on: October 9th, 2020 at 5:04 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.

In this week’s jaunt, we’re turning the $40 into $4! I think a lot about the idea of “dating myself,” these days. Even though I’m in a committed relationship, I still make time to spend entire days and nights alone, reconnecting with the city around me, and when I do, I always learn or remember something about myself. Dating yourself is easy in the city—it’s cool to eat alone in public, which I toasted to last week, and even as things sit in what-the-hell-is-next-limbo, beloved businesses close, we continue to fight for racial justice, and plead with our neighbors to wear a damn mask, some things are kinda New York-normal. In fact, you can still take yourself out on a solid date for under $5, something that makes this city absolutely wonderful forever and always.


Photo: Sara Graham

In the spirit of “date yourself,” I stop by the Hole to see Cubed, a group show of “idiosyncratic geometric abstraction,” complete with social distancing and limited capacity. In fact, there is hand sanitizer and free masks available upon entry. Teamwork makes the dream work. I peruse the 3D wall pieces, fabric sculptures and large-scale acrylics that tease the eye. I smile at KION, a collection of lifesize foam cylinders that resembles a tipped-over Greek column by Andreas Angelidakis. It reminds me that order is always breaking down and I think of that time I went to Greece. The whole show is worth a perusal, but it closes this weekend, so get to it.

The Hole, 312 Bowery
Total Cost: $0
Tuesday–Saturday, 12-7 pm and by appointment


Photo: Sara Graham

I meander down to C & L Dumpling house for cheap steamed veggie dumplings. For $3 you get a solid order—beware, these dumplings are doughy and thick. So, you might think you can eat the whole order without feeling crazy-full, but give it 30 minutes. I eat mine (all of them, without regret) on a park bench and watch people play handball in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. I’m impressed that some teenagers are wearing masks. Others aren’t. I think of myself at 15 and how impatient and existential I’d be in this pandemic. I’m grateful to be in my thirties.

C&L (CHI) Dumpling House, 77 Chrystie Street
Total Cost: $3.27
10 AM—10 PM Daily


Photo: Sara Graham

After demolishing the dumplings, I head west to the CVS on 6th Avenue for a very romantic end to my date —a flu shot. Though I’ve never had one before, this year’s different. The more I can prevent symptoms that will inevitably kick up suspicion of COVID in my crazy brain, the better, right? Staying healthy and keeping my neuroses at bay as much as possible is an act of self-love and love for my fellow New Yorker. The shot is free with most insurance and took all of 5 minutes, because I signed up for a spot online. I almost buy myself some discount makeup on the way out (clearance at CVS is the best), but I resist, too proud of my frugality to give in. After all, if I can’t save, I’ll never ever be able to afford an apartment here. Ever.

CVS, 360 6th Avenue
Total Cost: $0
8AM—8PM (Pharmacy hours)

Total cost of walkabout: $3.27

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

Recent Stories

Next Phase of Market Line at Essex Crossing Now Visible

With scaffolding and other construction elements removed from The Artisan building at Essex Crossing, another part of the Market Line is coming into focus. Unlike the westernmost third of the Market Line, this section beneath 180 Broome Street feels less like a dungeon. Design elements, including massive grand staircase and full facade glass open the […]

14-Story Eldridge Street Hotel Hit with Stop Work Order

The hotel newcomer underway on lower Eldridge Street – recently topped out at fourteen stories – met the might of the city. Inspectors from Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order on 79 Eldridge about a week ago. It’s a full order which only allows work “to provide shoring for all staircases and provide design […]

Eighteen Groups Sign Open Letter Demanding Transparency over CB3 Removal of Committee Chairs

Eighteen community groups within Community Board 3 on the Lower East Side this week co-signed an open letter to city and state officials urging inquiry into the removal of Alexandra Militano and Carolyn Ratcliffe as chairs of the SLA and Arts & Culture subcommittees, respectively. The shakeup, apparently inspired by a stated “new direction” for […]

East Broadway Subway Tiles Free of Disgusting Deposits

Down in the bowels of the East Broadway subway station, those hideous wall monsters are now a thing of the past. For years, the tunnel tiling devolved into a complete mess. Conditions were ripe for the formation of brown, slug-like deposits that grew ever larger by the week. Until this month, coincidentally the 85th anniversary […]

Chinatown Welcomes New Easy Access COVID-19 Testing Sites

Finally a step in the right direction. Pop-up COVID-19 test sites opened in Chinatown yesterday, providing much-needed alternatives to locals seeking a swab. The sites – one at 62 Mott Street, and the other at Confucius Plaza – offer walk-in swab tests and antibodies tests. Center Laboratories is handling testing and results, which are emailed or texted […]