Things to do for $1
1. Even though Guss' Pickles (85 Orchard St.) has been embroiled in legal battles with another Guss' out in Cedarhurst for some time now, it's still possible to get two of their barrel pickles for a buck.
2. It takes a little bit of searching, and an amazing grasp of the space-time continuum, but you can get a Bolt Bus (think Chinatown Bus, but with WiFi, boltbus.com) from Sixth Avenue and Canal Street to the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia for $1. What to do in Philly when you get there is a whole other story.
3. The Mahayana Buddhist Temple (133 Canal St.) is very beautiful, calming, gilded, and basically free to enter; if you've got a one-dollar donation laying around in your robe, we hear the monks can be persuaded to give you a rubber band, and throw in a pre-printed fortune rolled up inside of it for free.
4. Ever since we were young boys we played the silver ball... well, we never actually played anything because we were raised by moose in Canada, but if you're a fan of Tommy's favorite pastime check out Zablozki's (107 N. 6th St.); they've got a pinball machine called Fun House dating back to 1990—the oldest living pinball machine in New York. And you get four games for a buck.
5. The suggested donation on Pay What You Wish to See the Friday Fish Day is a whopping 13 bucks at the New York Aquarium at Coney Island (Surf Ave. & W. 8th St.). But having been there and seen the fish-type creatures, we suggest you only pay a dollar, Friday or not, thus slowly bankrupting the institution. (Down with aquaria and pescaprisons!)
Things to do for $2
6. The M5 Bus from Riverside Drive meanders all the way down to Greenwich Village and passes landmarks like Grant's Tomb and... other stuff. And its only two bucks (and an extra quarter), which will save you approximately one million dollars off the double-decker buses that all the tourists take.
7. Our favorite OTB is the one on Graham Avenue just before Metropolitan (333 Graham Ave.), because it's always filled with people who make us feel ok about our shaking hands. Remember, the Straight Bet is only two bucks and pays almost double.
8. You know you really want to pretend you're in a Spiderman movie. For $2 you can hop on the Roosevelt Tram (59th St. & Second Ave.) and do it in style, while heading to a place that we'll never understand.
9. Yeah, we know The Nets are in New Jersey (50 Rte 120, East Rutherford, NJ), and that they're terrible, but if you enjoy the NBA, you can totally find tickets for under two bucks on StubHub, if you look about ten games in advance.
' 10. Monday Night Bingo with Linda ("Not Lisa") Simpson is at the Bowery Poetry Club and is free to enter, with Bingo boards costing $2 apiece. Linda can be hit or miss, but if it sucks you can always get drunk at Slainte next door—a little more money but a lot less Bingo.
Things to do for $3
11. If you live in New York and you haven't yet been to the New York Transit Museum (at Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street), you might as well go and find out just exactly what events and historical circumstances bred the terrible mutant that is the MTA today, and give yourself some context for complaining.
12. You're so close to launching your modeling career: you have the looks, you have the addictions, now all you need are the headshots. Treat yourself to a Bushwick Country Club photo shoot (618 Grand St., Brooklyn) for $3 in their old-fashioned photo-booth that features real chemical developing. Or just go get drunk and snog with somebody in it.
13. You've heard about Shoot the Freak (Riegelmann, near Stillwell Ave.) on the boards at Coney Island at one point or another during your extended vacation in New York from Everywhere Else, U.S.A., but you've never gone. Why? Probably because you didn't know that shots at the freak start as low as $3.
14. Slane Public House (102 Macdougal St.) has $1 well drinks from noon to 2pm, so here's the math: $1 well drink + $1 well drink + $1 tip = you, pleasantly buzzed in the middle of the afternoon without looking like a total lint-pocket scumbag—just a bad tipper. You know, a regular scumbag.
15. For three bucks you can get a plain onion and pickled herring fillet at Russ and Daughters (179 E. Houston St.), which is like a Katz's Deli for appetizers. Our recommendation: chase a shot of vodka with a bite of the herring. The Russian in you, or at least next to you, will love it.
Things to do for $4
16. The P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (22-25 Jackson Ave.) is the quintessential art destination when trying to take in the mod scene, and although the exhibits are usually worth every single dollar of the five suggested, we don't think they'll mind if you pay just four. (Since you spent that other dollar on pickles. Glutton.)
17. A six-pack of Simpler Times Lager is 72 ounces of 6.2% alcohol-by-volume "beer," and at just under four clams ($3.69 at Trader Joes, 130 Court St.) this is the perfect way to obliterate your anxiety about money while spending very little of it.
18. Bowlmor Lanes (110 University Pl.) must have hired a veritable army of aspiring admen to come up with cheekily titled promotions such as this one: Fourmerly Employed Wednesdays, on which everything is "afourdable": the bowling is $4, and so is the beer.
19. For all the book nerds out there: $4 will net you an electronic copy of the latest short story in The Atlantic on Amazon. That is, of course, if you've already shelled out the $400 for the Kindle.
20. Ok, we know we cheated a little with that last one, but for whatever reason, there just isn't a lot to do with $4 in the city these days. So, like good, bored delinquents we suggest channeling your inner Basquiat and go tagging [Do not -Legal Dept.]. You and six friends can get a sixer of aerosol cans from the Home Depot (40 W. 23rd St.) for just under four smackers a piece. Save the change for your one phone call.
Things to do for $5
21. There is a rumor that the crowd at The Kent Theater (170 Coney Island Ave.) can be just as entertaining (or obnoxious) as the movie that you are going to see. And that's fine [No it's not -Ed.], because most tickets for this neolithic cinema house never jump above five bucks.
22. It has been argued that life is nothing if not improv comedy, but for just a sawbuck (or less), many of the improv acts at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (307 W 26th St.) are, thankfully, cheaper than life, and almost as funny as that thing that guy said or did that time.
23. We know that some of you Park Slopers have kids that you know about, and some of you 'Burgers have kids you don't, so why not bring the family together and head up to the Bronx Equestrian Center (9 Shore Rd., Bronx) for some pony rides. Five dollars gets the same kid two rides in one day, or twins one ride each—if you pull it off right.
24. If you can actually figure out when they have shows, and get there early enough for a seat, The Slipper Room (167 Orchard St.) has the best burlesque show in town, and by best we mean the most immoral, immodest, naked, raunchy and weird. You've heard of it, now go!
25. Or head over to the Central Park Boathouse (E. 72nd St. & Park Drive North) with five of your friends—or four friends and one frenemy who needs to be taught how to swim—and hire a gondola for five bucks each. Work quickly to pay off the gondolier so he'll turn the other way as you push your victim over the side, A Place in the Sun-style: you only get a half hour to accomplish the task and are never too far from the shore. [Please do not actually murder your frenemies -Legal Dept.]