03/29/08 — How to eat in NYC if you’re broke

This is in response to this NYTimes article, which wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. Not that it was bad – it was about making meals based on finds from a place called Jack’s 99 Cent Store, and there is no DC equivalent. The article suggested a couple of soup recipes and recommended Goya Dulce de Leche wafers. What I got from it was that the best finds were in the international food section. I thought everyone knew that there are great food finds in the international sections of stores.

I also can remember when I was a college student in NYC. I paid my own way for food & lodging, and the food plan on campus was ridiculously expensive, so I made do on 5$/day like this:

  • Breakfast: Columbia (R.I.P.) hot cinnamon raisin bagel w/cream cheese and diet Pepsi ($1.50)
  • Lunch: falafel stand ($1) or pastrami on rye ($2-$2.50)
  • Dinner: monster-sized slice of Koronet pizza ($1.60) or mac & cheese (3/$1) closer to paydays
  • Treats: occasional spaghetti carbonara, grilled chicken in lemon juice/cayenne pepper marinade, grilled italian sausage.
  • Produce: sucks in NYC, main source of vitamin C was juice and going out for Chinese food w/friends @the place that gave you free wine w/your meal. Didn’t go out that often.

I’m sure the prices on most of these things have gone up since then due to inflation as well as the gentrification of Morningside Heights. Campus meals were truly awful, however – often the only thing edible was Cap’n Crunch. In the rare cases where I had to eat on campus I had a bad case on Cap’n Crunch mouth more often than not.