We've all been there: recent college grad, can't find a job, or had an entry-level job and lost it due to cut backs. You have rent to pay, food to eat, and a social life that you quickly see vanishing into non-existence, because if you can't pay for your MetroCard, there's no way you're going to see a concert in Brooklyn when you live in Washington Heights.
Never fear, all you unemployed urban tenderfoots. Here is a list of 8 Tips to Survive Being Broke and Jobless in NYC.
1. Walking Is Not Just a Way To Keep Fit: It's a Valid Mode of Transportation
Remember in the ye old days when people had to foot their way everywhere if they didn't have a horse? Or a cart? Or a donkey? Realize you have it lucky as an urbanite because streets are (mostly) paved, there's cheap coffee in every corner bodega for refueling, and you have the opportunity to view the lovely scenery of tall buildings, cute dogs, and stressed out jobholders. You're lucky. You're unemployed and can take a morning stroll from 125th street that turns into a night walk as you reach the South Street Seaport.
2. Spare Change Is Your Friend
Places that still take change include: a) payphones b) newsstands c) any major retailer d) banks that will turn your change into bills. No, it's not magic. It's the science of currency.
3. Museums Will Often Let You in For Free (Or Almost Free)
Many museums (including The Metropolitan Museum of Art) have a "suggested donation" fee. This suggestion is up to you. It can be anywhere from the entrance price on the board above the teller or... a penny. Some Museums, like MoMa also have days like "Free Fridays" where they let you in for, you guessed it, free. Thus, as you stroll amongst great art and educational exhibits you are being cultured, not loitering somewhere indoors because it's warm and clean and there's a nearby bathroom.
4. There Are Many Places to Read That Won't Kick You Out Because You Didn't Buy Anything
This includes all branches of the NYPL and unofficially, most big bookstores like The Strand (Union Square) and Barnes and Noble (there's also one in Union Square. Oh big business versus indie shops. Just warms my capitalist heart). Just don't be obvious about it. For instance, sprawling across aisles surrounded by a 50 book fort is not recommended.
5. Hot Dogs for Almost a Dollar That Won't Poison You
Gray's Papaya was my lunchtime staple for a while. Meat, bun, condiment: all the major food groups, as long as the condiment is relish or ketchup. Nutritious, delicious, and also hellah cheap.
6. Cheap Beer and Free Pizza Is a Thing Some Bars Do
These bars include Alligator Lounge (One and Two), The Charleston, and Pizza Gruppo in Brooklyn, and The Crocodile Lounge and Pizza Pub in the East Village. (For more places such as these, check out the blog NYC Daily Deals).
7. If You're a Girl, Flirt It Up at Bars. If You're a Guy, Flirt It Up at Bars.
The year is 2012 people, and we are in the century of the (purported) equality of the sexes. Guys pay for drinks for girls. ALSO girls pay for drinks for guys. Granted, it also depends on what bars you go to, but jobless and broke is generally more Blue & Gold Tavern than The Oak Room. Thusly all you young starving artists, put on your cutest top, bat your eyes, flash those pearly whites you just brushed with baking soda instead of toothpaste (because you reached the end of the tube and can't afford to buy another) and score a free Jack and Coke.
8. Odd Jobs Do Exist in NYC. They Just Exist Online.
You can find a temp agency, OR you can do your own version of a lemonade stand. Craigslist.com (of course) has both a part-time work AND etc section. The latter is a mish-mash of odd gigs and cash opportunities (like studies and tests where you go in and give your opinion of oh, say a brain scan and they give you 50 bucks). However, choose your Craigslist listing wisely, as it can still be somewhat... dicey. The website fiverr.com also is a great way to make some extra Lincolns for your rent. You post (or find) people that offer to do a service for five dollars, like make a personal rap song, or read a poem in the voice of William Shatner. Think of something creative enough, and that odd job could turn into a career. Just sayin'.
Therefore, there's no reason to despair just because you have no career... or job... or friend's air mattress to sleep upon. Hey, it could be worse. You could be one of those poor extras in the new Patrice Wilson backed Thanksgiving video. Of course, that song is well on its way to going viral...