Recession-Proof Brooklyn

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When Park Slope writer Lisa Selin Davis asked friends to contribute to her Facebook list of fun, cheap stuff to do in NYC, it inspired a lot of Brooklyn-centric deals (like the $6.50 Tuesday and Thursday movies at Cobble Hill Cinemas and free shows at BAMcafé). So we decided to steal her idea (thanks Lisa!) and start a list just for our home turf. BB contributors and Brooklyn bloggers like FIPS and Reclaimed Home got the ball rolling. Now it’s your turn — add your ideas to the list below, and pass it on. We’re aiming for 100 cool ways to spend time (and little money) in Brooklyn by the end of the week.

BB Editors Nicole Davis, Chrysanthe Tenentes, and Annaliese Griffin
1. Grab a pepperoni slice at Luigi‘s on DeKalb — the best, least heralded slice in Brooklyn — then stroll through Pratt’s sculpture garden
2. A $12 rotisserie chicken from Luz with extra red and green sauce provides plenty of Peruvian goodness for two
3. Take a free canoe ride on the Gowanus (come March) for a cool closeup of industrial decay
4. Hear famous authors at the Dweck Center — just get there early to score a seat
5. Scope out the Flea’s Dumbo Pop-Up Market: Snack on gourmet eats for $5 or less, like pupusas and Consider Bardwell Farm’s aged, raw milk goat cheese, then indulge in some under $20 retail therapy (ignore the $600 lamps).
6. Don’t ruin our little secret: Ella Cafe has the tastiest, cheapest, most organic brunch we’ve found in Brooklyn. $6.95 gets you 2 eggs, whole wheat toast, rosemary potato homefries, baby green salad, fresh juice of the day (usually a carrot blend), coffee or tea. Score!
7. If you’ve gotta drink (away your recession blues) at brunch: Lodge has $7 two for one mimosas until 4:30 (two for you).
8. Head to East WIlliamsburg/Bushwick for a cheap date. Take the L to the Morgan stop and pick out some new duds at the warehouse-sized vintage store Urban Jungle. (Last time we were there we snagged a hardly worn pair of Pumas and a favorite dress for $10 each.) After shopping, share a pizza at Roberta’s around the corner. The Beast Master comes loaded with sausage, jalapenos, capers and gorgonzola for $16.
9. Starting the first Tuesday of April, Champion Coffee will host monthly letter writing nights. They’ll provide paper, postcards, pens and typewriters and sell stamps. Get a cup of mint tea, or their fantastic coriander limeade come summer, and write a letter to your grandma or long lost love.

spicy4BB Contributor Rachael Rakes
10. Pacificana Dim Sum in Sunset Park (just try to get out for over $10pp), followed by a free, map-guided tour of Green-Wood Cemetery.
11. A free tour at Prospect park spotting the wildlife that has managed to still exist there.
12. Williamsburg 2nd Fridays, great for meeting folks and seeing new artists, but perhaps overlooked for its ability to feed you and get you drunk for free.

Leila Sales, BB contributor, Leila Texts blogger and total dancing queen
13. Free dance parties are not easy to come by, sadly, but on weekends by midnight-ish, these bars always have dancing, and they are usually free because they are officially bars, not clubs: Royal Oak has a marvelous big dance floor; K&M Bar plays generic indie; Supreme Trading also plays generic indie; Savalas; Sugarland, for the gay crowd; Hugs (My favorite night here is the U.N.I.T.Y. 90s dance party which occurs the first and third Saturdays of each month); Coco66; and Royale (DJs usually spin house or dance instead of indie — if you can even imagine going out on such a limb).
14. Also, don’t forget the monthly First Saturday parties at the Brooklyn Museum. Those are awesome free dance parties.
15. Finally, three of my favorite NYC party promoters are Shaw Promotion, Sweatshop Labor NYC, and New York Night Train. They sometimes host free BK parties.

Alicia Kachmar, BB contributor, blogger, photographer and craft maven…
16. The monthly CasHank Hootenanny at Buttermilk Bar in the Slope (Loooooove this).
17. Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Admission is free all weekdays till February 28, and Tuesdays year-round
18. This is only one day, but…FREE pancakes at the downtown IHOP on Feb. 24, National Pancake Day
19. Bierkraft’s Tasty Tuesdays: Speaking from experience, these free cheese and beer tastings are great. Enthusiastic guest speakers, you learn something about what you’re eating/drinking and it’s totally free.
20. Music at the Tea Lounge: It’s always a $5 suggested donation, but it’s not enforced (no stare-downs or judgments). Plus, you can always buy $1 coffee or cheap tea if you don’t want to spring for booze.

Erica of the hilarious Fucked in Park Slope:
21. Donuts at 7th Ave Donuts! A – If you’ve never eaten these little dense pillows of deliciousness before, you’re retarded. B – They are so cheap, I’ve *literally* never spent more than $3 dollars there (for MANY donuts). Anyone can afford this place…even REALLY poor people. I highly recommend the marble twist…it seems like it might be gross, but it will rock your world in ways you didn’t imagine possible.
22. Cheap internet (i.e. FREE): Tea Lounge. As a bonus, you can bring your kids and let them run around like maniacs.
23. Costco. Sure you need to bring your own F****** shopping cart and good luck finding a parking spot, but there is mad cheap stuffz at Costco. In fact, we’ve got a membership and no car…any drivers out there wanna hook up? (and by “hook up” we mean you drive us, we get you in…get your minds out of the gutter people)

Bonus: Yuppie Scumbag Luxuries that FIPS can’t give up (their own Recession-inspired list you must check out too):
Sushi. But you can go to places like Park Slope Seafood and get prepackaged, yummy (but way cheaper) sushi. If you are really Ballin’ it, I recommend the volcano roll at Jpan…it’s in a friggin’ PANCAKE. Also, it’s not on the menu, so it’s kinda like one of those super cool bars that doesn’t have a door.
Car Services. Northlands is our new jam, but Arecibo gets mad love round these parts, too. (Avoid 7th Ave. Car Service like the plague.)

Phyllis Bobb, Reclaimed Home blogger, photographer, and Brooklyn Flea Vendor:
24. Brighton Beach
25. Coney Island Seaside Concerts
26. Wolman Rink: $5 regular admission, Fridays half off
27. Breakfast specials at some of our fine diners. Unlimited coffee!

Anne Pope of Sustainable Flatbush:
28. $1 tamales from the stand on East 18th off of Church Avenue
29. Breakfast at Fairway cafe with its view of NY Harbor
30. Sahadi’s
31. The Tour de Brooklyn bike ride
32. Exhibits at the Central Brooklyn Public Library

Matt Tyson of EAR FARM:
33. Go to some townhouse/brownstone open houses: socio-economic voyeurism doesn’t get any better (or more inexpensive) than this! Head on over to the NY Times Real Estate section or Brownstoner and search for open houses on any given weekend to get a good look at how the other half are living. No really, you get to walk around in the houses of rich people and imagine living there yourself – it’s like recession recess!
33 and a half. [Ed. Note: it’s already mentioned briefly above!] Visit the Green-Wood Cemetery: the natural follow up to seeing how the other half live is to see where they go once they’ve died. This historical landmark cemetery has over 560,000 people interred in it, including many famous politicians, authors, and artists. Plus, it’s likely one of the most peaceful, inexpensive, and quiet ways to spend a dreaded sunny day in Brooklyn.
34. Go to a gospel service at the Brooklyn Tabernacle – the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is one of the preeminent American gospel choirs. They’ve released numerous records and have won six Grammys. You can hear them in person every Sunday at the 9am and 12pm services at the Brooklyn Tabernacle in downtown Brooklyn.
35. Visit the Brooklyn Museum: this one almost goes without saying. Almost. There’s just one important fact to remember – the $8 suggested contribution is just that. It’s a suggestion. In reality, you may pay whatever you’d like (or not).
36. After hours bowling at the Gutter: the scene at this Williamsburg bowl-bar might get a bit overly crowded on the weekends, so perhaps it’s best to try it after dinner and drinks one late evening (after 1am) when the pitchers of beer are $3 off and it’s only $9 (including shoes) to bowl two games.

Louise Crawford of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn:
37. Brooklyn Reading Works, a monthly reading series at the Old Stone House that happens to be consistently fun and entertaining. Five bucks gets you a stimulating literary show with snacks, wine and some socializing after. Up next: The Memoir-A-Thon on March 12th at 8 p.m.
38. Decent regular coffee and bagel (with cream cheese or butter) from the newsstand on 7th Avenue near Third Street.
39. Saturday or Sunday Brunch at Grand Canyon Diner on Seventh Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets.
40. Events at the Community Bookstore, including the Non-Fiction Book Group, Books Without Borders and the Modernist Book Group.
41. Bar Reis at 375 Fifth Avenue near 6th Street in Park Slope. You can’t beat the $7 wine and beer, the gypsy violin trio on Wednesday nights, the generally convivial crowd and the great bartenders.
42. Walk the streets of Park Slope looking for boxes of books disposed of by residents. Just this morning I got “Invisible Man,” “Haywire,” “Marry Me” by John Updike and something called “My Fight For Sanity” with a fabulous pulp fiction cover (copyright 1960).

Marty Markowitz, Borough President…
43. The Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum. “It can’t be beat for couples or those who are seeking new friends.” [Ed. Note: It’s mentioned above, but it took us a over a week to get the BP to weigh in. We’ll take what we can get!]
44. Also, Dine In Brooklyn, March 23 – April 2
45. Bird watching in Prospect Park on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It’s free!
We want your cheap-ass ideas too! Add ’em in the comments below.

Sent by Nicole. Pratt photo by Redes1gn, First Saturdays photo by Dominick Mastrangelo, BBG photo by Alicia Kachmar, 7th Ave Donuts photo by Kathy YL Chan, Car Service photo by Keeeem via Flickr, Fairway photo by Michelle Rial via NY Mag, Community Bookstore photo by Pedro Vit via Flickr, Marty photo by Kathryn Kirk via Gothamist.

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