Broke-Ass of the Week – Traven Rice from The Lo-Down

Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude.  Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit…probably not.

Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week?  Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.

The Lo-Down is a kick ass blog about the many different things that make up the Lower East Side.  I first heard about it back in March when Laura referenced them in a post and I’ve been digging it ever since.  They certainly must be doing something right because The Village Voice named them One of Gotham’s Best Blogs.

Just yesterday they featured Team Broke-Ass NYC on their site, asking each one about his/her favorite spot in the LES.  As it so happens today we’re feature co-founder of the The Lo-Down, Traven Rice, as our Broke-Ass of the Week.  But I guess you figured that out already didn’t you?  Read below as Traven shares her favorite cheap and FREE things to do in Nueva Yorka and see how she tries to swindle me out of a book:

Name: Traven Rice

Age: 29 for quite a few years now…

(Do I get some kind of consolation prize ** for being the lone NYC blogger brave enough to show her face?)

Occupation: Filmmaker and Co-founder of www.thelodownny.com.

What neighborhood do you live in?: Lower East Side of NYC. Although most “natives” (which I’m not) claim to live ON the Lower East Side, not IN the Lower East Side. They think you’re from somewhere in the Midwest (or Out West, like me) if you say “in.”

What are you listening to these days?: Whatever my music contributor Ken Beasley tells me to (yes, that’s a shameless promotion of our site and contributors –who all work for free) – gotta share the love, right?

Best money saving tip: Just say “No” to Starbucks – brew Café Bustelo (yummy Cuban espresso coffee in that fabulous red and yellow can) at home, put it in the French Press and live happily ever after – for about $12/mo (for two people drinking coffee every day) vs. $180/mo. Seriously.

Also, there’s tons of free music on the L.E.S. these days (see the Living Room, Rockwood Music Hall, etc…and most of the theater I write about is always around $10 – $15/ticket.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: New camera equipment. I go to B&H Photo and see what models they have used. Now that I’ve learned — I’ll never go back to buying brand new. You can save hundreds and hundreds of dollars on equipment that’s practically brand new.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: There was this red leather couch we bought and then used it as our proud answer to the future in-laws question, “Do you have anything to tell us?” four years in to the relationship.

How’d that feel?: Serious. Commitment. (Plus they stopped asking about our plans for a while…)

Favorite cheap eat: 50 fresh frozen dumplings for $8 at Lam Zhou in Chinatown. That’s right fifty, “five-0”. You can have snacks and meals for weeks.

Favorite dive bar: Bar 169

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: I’m pretty sure it was “Back in the Day,” at a secret spot in Costa Rica, while learning to surf and trying to decide if I should just stay there permanently and get it over with — my rooms in the cabana kept getting cheaper by the month…

Favorite free thing to do: A bike ride along the water around the island of Manhattan (between the months of April and October, that is…)

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: A permanent home in downtown Manhattan for my peeps at the Village Zendo.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Every second of it. It seems to get more rewarding the less I make – although practically speaking, I do wonder how much longer we can pull this off…

Do you own my book?: Ah-ha – a consolation prize! **

Best hangover cure: Dim sum. Lots of it.

Are you a hipster?: Yes! (See how closely I’ve been paying attention to your rules…)

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About the author

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".

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