If You Want an Inexpensive Breakfast…

Who doesn’t like a good breakfast platter? Please, find me one person who doesn’t. Even vegans can enjoy vegan pancakes and fruit. Breakfast is one of my favorite kinds of foods. Eggs, pancakes, waffles, french toast, yum! The exception: I’m not one for the breakfast meats. No sausage or bacon for me. Go ahead, call me weird. I’m used to it.

Luckily for me, there is a rather inexpensive cafe right across the street from my school called Brown Cup that serves breakfast food all day long. And it actually serves food that tastes like it would cost more in New York. If I am craving an egg platter or pancakes, I go there. For $4.50 (plus tax), I get two eggs any style, home fries, and toast. For $4.00, you get three plain pancakes, and for just a $1.50 more, you can make them strawberry, blueberry, or chocolate chip. (Banana pancakes are only $1 extra.) This is way less expensive than any diner you’d go to and the taste is nothing less than great.

If you’re in the area, I suggest you go to Brown Cup for breakfast food, or for it’s plentiful options of sandwiches and salads. You can make your own sandwich or salad, too! It also serves soups from Hale & Hearty, which are dee-lish! If you’re feeling lazy or don’t have time to pick up food, Brown Cup is also on Seamless.com, a website in which you can order food online for delivery (or take out).

Brown Cup is located at 334 8th Avenue, close to the corner of W. 27th St, in Manhattan.

Deals on Meals (and Other Great Things!)

I must say, New York has just about any kind of food you can think of, thanks to it being the “melting pot” of America. Take a walk down Bleecker Street in the heart of Greenwich Village and you will find an array of places that would eat your money alive if you’d let them. Especially as a college student, it is hard not to want to enjoy these places, but, as a broke college student, it is even harder to say goodbye to half of your paycheck on one night out.

Fortunately, there are some great deals that can be found here in the most expensive city in America. I already talked about Groupon in Looking Nice at Half the Price, but there are also other digital coupon sites that you might be interested in.

LivingSocial is very similar to Groupon in that it gives you heavily discounted prices on your favorite restaurants, getaways, activities, fashion, etc. It seems to me that LivingSocial focuses more on activities and products rather than restaurants. If you want a great deal on food and drinks, you should probably check out Groupon more often. But that’s just my opinion!

Also very popular in the food and drinks category is Tenka. Tenka is a bit different than Groupon and LivingSocial in that it does not require you to pay for the deals in advance. As stated on it’s website,

Tenka lets you redeem great local deals without the burden of paying upfront. Simply add a Tenka deal into your ‘Pocket’ (our smartphone web app), walk into the business and redeem the deal with your smartphone. If you like the deal, share them with your friends and earn money for getting them into the store.

Looking Nice at Half the Price

How many people can turn down a great deal when they see one? Not many.
How many people are willing to buy much of American Apparel‘s clothing for full price? Not many.

Thankfully, I can now dress myself like a hipster without paying the full price. Groupon, a digital couponing site, had a coupon for the swagalicious brand and you better believe I grabbed it!

Groupon offered a deal in which $100 worth of American Apparel merchandise was yours for just $50. Getting 50% off a $100 purchase? Yes, please! Now I can buy those $82 black Disco Pants (don’t judge the name) I’ve always dreamed of… They go with everything! #dreamcometrue

Check out Groupon for awesome deals near you! It has offerings for everything from clothing to restaurants to spas to vacations! Oh, the possibilities!


Middle class? What’s that?

So, you want to live in New York City, huh? You want the exciting nightlife that goes past 4am (morninglife?), incredible international cuisines, food at any time of the day/night, a city in which you never get bored, and you crave the chaotic lifestyle the city demands. The question is… Can you afford it?

A couple years ago, the Daily News published an article titled “N.Y.C. So Costly You Need Six Figures to Make Middle Class”, and the information it reveals still holds truth today, (given today’s prices/costs versus those of 2009.) It discusses the findings of a study done by the Center for Urban Future. The report shows just what it means to live in New York, and why middle class here is different than other large cities in America.

“In Manhattan, a $60,000 salary is equivalent
to someone making $26,092 in Atlanta.”

Furthermore, the report claims that a New Yorker would have to make $123,322 a year to maintain the same standard of living as someone who makes $50,000 in Houston.

Yes, the salaries in New York are higher than those in other states, but when you see some of the other factors mentioned in this article, it’s no wonder 24% of New York City residents plan to make their exodus out of the most expensive city in the country (and 32nd in the world). According to “The 12 Most Expensive Cities In America” in Business Insider: The Life, the monthly rent for an unfurnished luxury two-bedroom apartment is $4,300 in New York. This is almost $2000 more than the second most expensive city in America, Los Angeles. In the city of angels, the rent reported for an unfurnished luxury two-bedroom apartment is $2,500. Other prices found in that article are quite interesting…check them out! Also, refer to my previous post, Monthly Money, and to “There is No Manhattan, New York” on thefashionpond.

One more point to make before I start boring you, (as if I haven’t already,) is an experience of my own. Last year, when I went back to my hometown on Long Island during winter break, I went to Target with my mom and bought Dannon Activia Yogurt, which, by the way, is very delicious and nutritious! I highly recommend it. Anyway, a four-pack of this yogurt cost approximately $2 at the Target on Long Island. When I went grocery shopping in the city, the identical four-pack cost around $4. I was shocked when I saw the differences in the two prices! Good thing there’s a Target in Brooklyn

“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” Do you think this Frank Sinatra lyric holds truth? Is it worth living here when it is so much more expensive? What’s your take on the finances of New York?

Family Visit in the West Village

Oh, how I love when the parental units come to the city. You get a free dinner, free dessert, and sometimes…free money!

A few days ago, my mom’s boyfriend and one of my younger brothers met me at my new apartment. (New is a relative term; the place still needs a lot of work.) While I was unpacking the massive suitcase of clothes they brought over, the guys headed to a nearby sports bar on Hudson Street and Charles Street, Bayard’s Ale House, to watch the Jets game and eat some yummy appetizers.

After, we walked to Caliente Cab Co. for dinner, which, I must say, doesn’t have the best rep among locals but the guys wanted to go there! (They had a couple TVs with the Jets game on, so that probably had something to do with it.)

In my opinion, the food was good, not great. However, their chips, of “Chips and Salsa” off the Tapas menu, were some of the best tortilla chips I have ever had in my life, AND they were only $2!

Appetizers?   Check.
Dinner?           Check.
Dessert?          Gelato!

The guys insisted we get dessert and I spotted this gelato place I never tried before, called L’Arte del Gelato. I typically get pistachio gelato, and yes, my friends tease me because usually grandparents like that flavor. But hey, you like what you like, and pistachio is delicious! However, to my dismay, L’Arte del Gelato did not have pistachio in stock. They did have mixed berry, of which I am a HUGE fan, but then I feasted my eyes on pumpkin gelato, and so it was determined…I had to get a scoop of each. While I admit that I’m not sure how normal this combination sounds, trust me when I say that they go together very well. I highly recommend L’Arte del Gelato, and so does Yelp.. Reviews got 4.5 stars!

And at the end of their visit, I received some money without even asking for it! Parents love giving money to you when they see you once every couple months. I guess it’s true what they say; absence makes the heart grow fonder (and sometimes makes your wallets grow thicker.) 😉

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Attending college in New York City has its pros and cons, just like any other city. But notice the difference in length of these lists…

Pros:

Convenience, people. In New York, convenience is everything.

Living in the city means you have all the unique and delectable restaurants you want at your fingertips. There are all different kinds of bars, lounges, clubs, hookah bars, et cetera. From a shop solely dedicated to the art of rice pudding to a restaurant/bar with incredible American cuisine and drinks that is open 24/7, you name it, you got it.

Not to mention how late many restaurants/bars are open until. (I’ve gotten the best burgers and crepes at 4:00am.) I mean, it IS the city that never sleeps.

You can intern or work during the school year because you’re only a 20-minute subway ride away, not a 3-hour car drive.

There is a Starbucks about every three blocks (chai tea latte = heaven), and you never have to worry about being far away from a deli or drug store.

You are among the world’s most useful public transportation system… The good ol’ Metropolitan Transit Authority. (Ah yes, the MTA and I have a love-hate relationship… explanation to come later.)

Cons:

It can get pretty damn expensive, especially with dorm/rent payments and if you choose to get an unlimited monthly MetroCard ($104). Though, most people I know just use the pay-per-ride (regular) metrocard… Oh, and you don’t get that whole “normal college experience” thing, but the word “normal” doesn’t mean shit in New York anyway. And that’s what I love about it. See? NYC even makes a con turn into a pro!