Ten Ways to Live in NYC On the Cheap

Danny LobellDon’t let a lack of spendable cash keep you from living the high life. In this weekly column, standup comic Danny Lobell explains how to live a Playboy lifestyle on a welfare budget. This…is Budget Ballin’.

This week’s lesson: How to survive in New York City on the cheap.

1. Buy $1 Pizza

pizzaI found a place in Times Square that sells $1 dollar pizza. The pizza was good and cheap but only the plain slices. If you wanted a topping it doubled to $2. So I started finding ways to get free toppings. One thing you can do is ask for some of the garlic from the Garlic knots on top. Also try taking off the cheese and then covering the saucey slice in Parmesan cheese instead. Then put little pieces of the original cheese on and around the slice. Now you feel like you’re in a fancy pizzeria! It’s really all about improvising with free things. I asked for a glass of water with extra lemon the other night at a restaurant. I took sugar off the table poured it into my glass, squeezed the lemon, and made lemonade for free. It was on the menu for $4!!! Also mine was fresh squeezed and customized to my sweetness satisfaction.

2. Find a Reasonably Priced Homeless Guy

quarterCompare and contrast what the local homeless guys are asking in the neighborhood. Some only want 5 cents whereas others are asking for a whole quarter. It is important to stick with the same guy so that if you’re ever short on your fare for the subway you can hit him up for a loan and he will have to oblige. Think of him as an ATM with no fee and an authentic smell of the city pre-Guiliani.

3. Learn Some Arabic

arabicIt’s important to have an account with your local deli owner. You need to learn a few words of Arabic. This is what I will teach you:

“Shock-run” means thank you. Just drop that in from time to time and then mumble something about how shit the American Government is as you pay for your Yodeles. By the third or fourth visit he will ask you if you’re Arabic. This is where you say nothing- just smile wink and pay for your drakes. You never give a definitive answer to that question but one day later that week go to pay and then say “Habibi it’s ok I bring you two dollars next time my friend?” then they will say “ok brother” then you say “thank Alla shock-run” and congratulations you now have your first virtual credit card. No plastic, no interest no mess.

Shock-run you say?  Afwan Habibi, Afwan (you’re welcome).

By the way, if your friendship ever gets to the point where he offers you a ride on his flying carpet, remember three things.

  1. That might mean a totally different thing than it did in the Disney film.B
  2. e careful who’s flying it and where he went to pilot school.
  3. Check if it has bedbugs.

4. Free Concerts

concertMy favorite place is the subway and my favorite band are the three Mexicans that run from Subway car to Subway car at every stop. I want to just hand them a bowl and some avocados and then have them make me guacamole on the spot like they do in fancy restaurants. I think I will try that sometime soon. I wonder sometimes if those guys think they are going to be the next Beatles and if they just get on the right Subway platform they will hit big like the four lads did on Sullivan. Oh to play the A train Essey das my dree’. Crey’se eh!

5. This One I Call: “Want to watch a live taping of a Jerry Springer type show but can’t get tickets?”

springerTake a trip your local food stamp office. There you will find many fights break out on the long DMV-like lines where people are waiting endlessly for food stamp approval and no one is in a good mood. Also you can really see NYC as a melting pot again because every race and ethnicity is on that line. Watch an Indian and a Hassidic Jew fight a Puerto Rican and a black lady over who was in line first. Spoiler alert: the black lady wins that one but then gets bought out by the Jew and her place on line is then rented to the Indian. The Puerto Rican then storms past all of them as he gives them the finger. It’s a magical place full of fun and adventure.

I know this is off topic but would you call Ed Lover a “Black media legend” at his age? McDonald’s does and so does a 400 pound Tranny from Trinidad. I learned that at a food stamps office the hard way, I can’t say more than that.

6. Get Kicked Out of Boutique Puppy Shops

puppyThis is just some harmless fun I like to have when I can’t afford a movie ticket. I go into crazy expensive puppy mill retail specialists and complain how all my dogs drop like goldfish, apparently feeding them Muscle Milk and Aderall is bad, who knew?! Then I ask to play with one cause “the one I just bought last week is already almost ready to tap out” then you argue that you’re a paying customer as Antwon the “pup-a-rista” pulls you out the door by your ear all as you scream “You can’t do this, I’m calling the better business bureau on you!” Seriously though folks don’t kill your dogs.

7. Start Crashing Functions at Hotels

hotelMost hotels in NYC have various events with catering. All you need for this is a nice suit, a smile and an expired room card key. Just something that you can flash at security real quick so you can get in without a problem. These functions are the mecca of free food moochery. Plus, you can network with everyone from IT guys from San Antonio to the manager of a regional branch of a Saab dealership in Milwaukee. Oh, the interesting people you will meet.

8. Free Condoms

condomsAll the magazine covers claim that they know what the best sex is. But they don’t. I’ll tell you right now what it is: free sex. And when I say free sex, I mean sex that’s totally free. Find a partner in your neighborhood at a local bar while sipping on some of that homemade lemonade I told you about earlier. You can’t offer to buy her a drink. In this egilaterian world, that’s sexist. In fact, tell her that. She’ll be so impressed with your psuedo feminist philosophy that you will have her buying drinks and the cab back to your place in no time. When’s the last time you rode in a cab? If you want to make the cab ride even classier, have her throw the driver an extra dollar to put on a fake British accent. That way, you’ll feel like you have your own personal chaffeur. “That will be all, Buckley!” “My name is Waheed.” “Sure it is Buckley. Sure it is.”

Alright, so here’s where the free condoms come in. Grab some in the bar – every bar in NYC has free city-sponsored condoms. Make sure you have an empty Trojan wrapper handy, though. When she’s not looking, slip it over the free NYC one. Then turn around, make it look like you busted open the wrapper, and bust out that free condom. The safest sex is the sex that doesn’t put any strain on your bank account.

9. Sell Candy for Your “Basketball Team”

fundraisingIt is a well known fact that if it wasn’t for M&M and Snickers bars being sold on the NYC subway system, there would be no NBA. This guy came up to me, asking me to buy candy to support his basketball team. He must have been pulling that scam for so many years, he forgot he was 50. What basketball team was that? The old lying men on the subway basketball team? Eh? Eh? Heh heh heh heh? Well, whatever. The point is, you gotta find your scam.

10. Go to the Park

parkThis one is no joke. I really just think people need to start going to the park. It’s got fresh air, many ways to exercise. It’s good to be around nature and no matter what you’re like, you’ll always look good in a park because there will always be someone who is more of a creep there than you. And best of all, it doesn’t cost a damn cent. You can always try and crash a picnic while you’re there. Just look for the dates that don’t seem to be going too well. Walk over to them and say “I couldn’t help but notice that your picnic doesn’t seem to be working out for you guys. Since there probably won’t be a second date anyway, do you mind if I finish off that watermelon and hummus?” People love when you do that. Usually they will say “yeah sure” and then you will all just laugh and take in the sunshine.