Down and Out: LES Story Telling at the Tenement Museum

You can sometimes forget that you are “down and out” in New York if you know where to go to live it up – of course we aren’t really THAT down and out if you think about it, but here is an example.  Last night I went to the awesome Blue Owl for their free Wednesday night drinks and had a Flapper.  Sounds like a sex maneuver born at Seaworld, but it is a classy little number made with citrus vodka, lemongrass vermouth, ginger syrup, soda and a lemon garnish.  Next, I headed up to Darbar Grill, an upscale Indian restaurant on 55th and 3rd that has free appetizers at the bar from 5-8pm.  The place was so classy I felt a little self-conscious walking in – and I was dressed up pretending to have an office job, pants and all.

Anyway, clearly this couldn’t go on forever.  After meeting friends in Grammercy for a quick one, the illusion began to unravel when a friend and I purchased dinner from an Ecuadorian in a taco truck on 6th Ave. and 18th.  We  didn’t even have enough money to pay full fare, so I gave him an AMC movie pass and called myself a pinche puto. By the time I got off the 4 train at 125th Street, it was 1 am. A few minutes later I was crawling into my sleeping bag on my aero bed.

And you know what, last night was NOTHING about being down and out.  George Orwell would have a hard time distinguishing me from a land baron.  Being a tramp is being down and out, but with a certain resignation or embrace of being marginalized, but his position in the steaming Paris kitchen long, back-breaking labor stays with me still.   I like those stories, because there is something so basic and real and scrappy about them.

And tonight you can hear other people tell tales from times when they were out of money, but still had some hope in the tank on their mission to make it in this cruel city.  Appropriately, it is in te Tenement Museum and audience members can contribute a short 3-minutes story of their own.

When: Tonight (Thursday April 16th) at 6:30 pm

Where: Tenement Museum Shop (108 Orchard Street at Delancey)

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About the author

Oliver Hartman - Resident Bargain Whorespondent

Oliver was born in 1983, the year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac. He grew up in Whitefield, Maine, but since college has lived in Boston, Maui, Switzerland, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Nicaragua, and New York making his bread as a waiter, cocktail boy, camp counselor, writer, english teacher, tennis instructor, guide, model, and design agency jackass.

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