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.

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