Do not pay $150 for a NYE meal at a fancy NYC restaurant. I repeat, do not pay the $150. Why? Because you can wait for your parents or richer sister who works in finance to be in town to take you out to a meal that fancy. This is the NYE list for the starving folk, the peeps who spend 90-95% of their income on New York City and Brooklyn rents.
For a list of FREE things that happen every year, check out #1 to #4 of my article from last year rounding up annual events such as the FREE Ball Drop in Times Square, FREE fireworks, cheering on for FREE the folks who brave the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park, and more. Below are some additional things to do that are not-so-FREE, but still fun and under 50 bucks.
#1 Walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge into the New Year. Learn all about this architectural gem while you get some exercise walking over it as part of a guided tour that takes you through the bridge’s architectural history. As a bonus, you’ll get a view of all the fireworks displays in the city from the Brooklyn side of the bridge. Yes, that means the ones from Central Park, Grand Army Plaza, Staten Island and New Jersey, as well as the Empire State Building light show. Tours start from 10:15-11:15pm. It’s $50 cash onsite or $40 if you book online in advance. And you can bring your nieces and nephews too! Kids 6-12, half-price; kids under 6, free. Tours leave from outside the McDonald’s at 160 Broadway, between Liberty and Cortlandt St. Tour info is here.
#2 Drag yourself out to Bushwick for the ‘Bushwig’ Drag Fest. Celebrate the New Year with eight of the city’s finest drag queens, a DJ set, a photo booth and a free champagne fountain at this bash at the DIY events space, Secret Project Robot. The event starts at 10pm and ends at 4am. Tickets are $10. 389 Melrose (between Knickerbocker and Flushing/Irving) Nearest subway: Morgan or Jefferson L
#3 Class it up with a FREE New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. A low key and peaceful way to usher in 2013, this annual concert founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1984 is hosted by Harry Smith, featuring Judy Collins as a guest artist. The event features classic Mozart and Beethoven by the Cathedral Choir and Orchestra. Starting at 7pm, it goes on for 90 minutes. A bonus: you’ll shine bright as part of the traditional passing of 1,000 candle flames. Doors open at 6pm. 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street. General Admission is FREE on a first-come first-serve basis but you can reserve a seat for $75.
#4 Watch the Times Square Countdown Ball Drop for FREE on a flat-screen TV at a no-cover bar. Don’t pay a door charge if you don’t have to. Here are a few options that won’t charge the frugal folks extra for New Year’s Eve.
1) Elsa – 217 E 3rd St between Aves B and C (917-882-7395)
2) Reunion – 357 W 44th St at Ninth Ave (212-582-3200)
3) Bier International – 2099 Frederick Douglass Blvd (Eighth Ave) between 113th and 114th Sts (212-280-0944). Cash only.
1) Berry Park - 4 Berry St at North 14th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-782-2829)
2) Barcade – 388 Union Ave between Ainslie and Powers Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-302-6464)
3) Bar Great Harry – 280 Smith St at Sackett St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-222-1103)
Hell Gate Social – 12-21 Astoria Blvd between 12th and 14th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-204-8313)
The last option, but not least…
#5 If you really, really don’t want to spend any cash (or credit), why not crash a Facebook friend’s FREE party. Scroll through your Facebook events and see which friend (or friend of a friend of a friend) is throwing a big FREE NYE countdown bash. Use the cash/credit you potentially saved this NYE to bring a bottle of Spanish cava for the countdown at least, you cheapskate.
photo from Southern Hospitality