Broke-Ass of the Week – Jeremiah Moss of Vanishing New York

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.

I like Jeremiah because, like me, he misses the old New York.  He fondly remembers the days when Manhattan was filled with quirky characters doing interesting things and family businesses that had survived the great depression were on every block.  Who would’ve thought that it would actually be economic prosperity that would cause such businesses to shutter?  Unfortunately now, the battle for Manhattan is over and the douchebags, and their developers, have won.

What’s great about Jeremiah’s blog, Vanishing New York, is that it chronicles the rapid and depressing gentrification of Manhattan.  So while we probably can’t do anything to stop it, at least his blog is a reminder of what the city used to be like, and let’s people know what exactly it is that is slipping away in the name of progress.  Read below for his insightful view of being a broke-ass.  As for the photo, I have a feeling it’s not what he really looks like.

Name: My blogonym is Jeremiah Moss—who began as a character in a series of novels I’m writing, then took on a larger life of his/my own.

Age: An almost over-the-hill Generation X’er.

Occupation: Underpaid freelance writer… Unpaid (unpublished) novelist. And some other things.

What neighborhood do you live in?: The East Village/Lower East Side.

Best money saving tip: Talk to someone who survived the Great Depression and ask them to help you budget your money. They are geniuses at that sort of thing.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: I tend to not spend money on new technology. I’ve always been a late adopter. The trip from cassettes to CDs and then to digital music took a long time. I also tend to use my electronic devices until they become dinosaurs. I resent this system where technology products (like laptops) are designed to become obsolete within a year, and then we’re pushed into mass hysteria about acquiring the new models.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: My laptop.

How’d that feel?: It felt good. Like I said, I wait years to get a new one and my old one was a dinosaur. It feels better to wait, because the change from old to new is profound and not fleeting. The sense of satisfaction is deeper and lasts longer. I’m not against shopping, as some might think from reading my blog. I am, however, for moderation and delayed gratification. Waiting to spend money is a great way to save money.

Favorite cheap eat: San Loco tacos—with three locations in the East Village/Lower East Side, they’re a small local chain.

Favorite dive bar: It’s a toss-up between Sophie’s on East 5th and The Holiday Cocktail Lounge on St. Marks. But the Blarney Cove on E. 14th is the only one that still has a real dive-bar clientele—so that might provide the most authentic dive experience of the three.

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: Well, it’s more of a scam than a deal, but if you tell the subscription people at The New Yorker magazine that you’re a student, you get a deep discount.

Favorite free thing to do: Ride the Staten Island Ferry back and forth on a hot summer day. It’s free air-conditioning (sea air), and if you hide downstairs, you don’t have to get off and on again.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: An apartment. Living in a rental feels precarious to me. What if the building sells? Or collapses? I’ve heard too many stories about evictions these days. I want security.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Money would make certain aspects of my life easier. Like I’d have time to write. I think that’s the source of most of my financial frustration—I want more time to write. Do I love my life? I like enough of it to get by without slipping too often into despair. People who are “lovers of life” make me deeply suspicious and uneasy.

Do you own my book?: Sorry, I don’t. I tend to acquire too many books. I am always trying to keep them at bay, failing mostly, and then constantly carting them to the Strand to sell for pennies. I spend way too much money on books.

Best hangover cure: Don’t drink too much the night before. Everything in moderation.

Are you a hipster?: I like to think I am of the wrong generation to be a hipster, but I probably look somewhat like one, unfortunately.

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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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