By Ella Riley-Adams
As Billy Joel says, the New York state of mind “comes down to reality.” While you may spend time pretending your budget doesn’t exist, that bottle service is a worthy luxury, or you can take another cab from Brooklyn, the reality may be you can’t afford such splurges. In a city with endless opportunities for fun and fine dining, it’s tempting to throw money around. But we don’t have to tell you it’s wise to keep an eye on your wallet. Face up to one of New York’s realities (it costs an incredible amount of money), take spending pressure off your next date, and plan something cheap and chic.
Find inspiration with our ideas:
1. Try Venezuelan Food in the East Village Ever had the Venezualan take on a taco? It’s called an arepa, and it’s basically a puffy pocket of dough filled with spiced vegetables and meat. Caracas (East 7th and First) makes a great Arepa. Their space is small, but it’s worth waiting for a seat to devour your food at its hottest. The Brooklyn branch also takes reservations. If you’re paying for your date, two arepas puts you at 15.00. Go Dutch and you can spring for guacamole and cervezas too.
2. Get Crafty Though the colors on their homepage are reminiscent of that one third grade birthday party where you ate too many cupcakes and threw up on your stuffed unicorn, Little Shop of Crafts is the best place for a cheap pottery painting excursion. Blank pottery pieces start at $16.00 and there’s no studio fee. Walk into their UES location to get to know your MeetMoi Intro as you pick colors, test brushes, and exercise your inner artists.
3. Mix Chocolate Milk and Stroll Central Park Buy some interesting variation on Nesquik (ask your date how he or she feels about spicy hot chocolate), then stir up a thermos of the sweet stuff. Bring a bag of marshmallows for dipping and melting, but don’t add them in too early! Meet your date at La Maison Du Chocolat to pick up a couple pastries, and then find a bench where you two can warm up together.
4. Buy Bargain Bonbons at Economy Candy One look at the website and you know Economy Candy isn’t your traditional mall-style candy store. You can search for candy by color. They sell both British imports and old-time American favorites like Boston Baked Beans and Abba Zabas. It’s also been around since 1937.
Meet your date in the L.E.S. to fill bags of your favorite sweets, then wander the historic streets while munching on gummy worms and candy corn. You may be too old to trick or treat, but you get the adult privilege of picking out your favorite sweet stuff—and choosing great company to match.
5. Hot Rum at The Drink This East Williamsburg shanty’s got “fine rums” starting at $6.00. Their cocktails start at $10.00, which puts you over our date limit but is nonetheless pretty great for any NY cocktail bar. Plus, we hear rumors of hot Wassail drinks, important for frozen winter nights when revelry is a requirement. Get on your sea-faring legs and make your way to this nautical lair for your next MeetMoi rendezvous.