Just a Jew. Named Mitch. Writing about his feelings.

NYC Unemployment Guide

Posted by JewMitch on June 26, 2009


“Mitch, you live off unemployment in Midtown in New York City. How do you eat?”

That’s a good question. It’s weird, having no money sucks. But then again, trying to spend as little money as possible can seem like a fun challenge. You can make a game of it. Sort of like Life is Beautiful. Except not really, because I don’t have a son.

Because I like sharing, I decided to prepare a fun guide of how I live in New York City. There are a lot of guides out there, but they’re usually like: “Get a fancy pants lobster dinner for $35” or something. No, no, no. I’m talking, how specifically does Mitch live in New York City off of unemployment checks. Much more interesting.

Eating for a dollar:

99¢ Fresh Pizza: 151 E 43rd Street (Midtown East). I eat here maybe once a day. It’s funny how when you visit New York, you only want to go to the “best” pizza place, but when you live here, dollar slices are awesome.

$1 bagels at Ess-a-Bagel: 831 3rd Avenue (Midtown East). These things are huge. Easily a meal.

$1 falafel at Cinderella Falafel: 129 2nd Ave (LES). Okay, so it’s really only half a falafel. But still. Buy two if you’re hungry.

$1 small coffee at Pret a Manger (Midtown). It’s organic coffee too.

Grocery Stores:

Morton Williams. Everybody loves Trader Joes, but the line is around the block. I’ve found that while some things are really expensive in New York, deli meats and fresh meat are almost always on sale. Morton Williams always has at least one type of deli meat for $7 a pound, I’ve gotten chicken for $2 a pound, and London Strip for $3 a pound.


Here’s where Trader Joes comes in handy. At their wine store at Union Square, you can buy a bottle of Charles Shaw (“2 Buck Chuck”) for $3.24. I particularly recommend the Syrah. Alcoholism, here we come.

Going out:

Cornerstone Tavern Wednesday Trivia Night: 961 2nd Ave (Midtown East). $1 mugs of beer while you play trivia. So it’s free entertainment and $1 mugs. Really not a bad way to spend a Wednesday.

Flight 151: 151 8th Ave (Chelsea). $2 mugs of PBR. All the time. Free popcorn too. And their nightly specials are even a better deal.

McAleers: 425 Amsterdam Ave (UWS). 2 pitchers of beer, 2 orders of wing for $26. All the time.

Iggy’s: 132 Ludlow Street (LES). Conveniently located on the lower east side, pirate themed, and $2 PBRs all the time.

McSorleys: 15 East 7th Street (East Village). $2 beers all the time of McSorleys beer, which only comes in light and dark. You have to order two though at a time (not so bad). Also, feel free to order a cheese plate for $3, which is a sleeve of saltine crackers, sliced processed cheese, and a sliced onion. There’s also spicy mustard on the table.

Rudy Bar and Grill: 627 9th Ave (Lincoln Square). They have super cheap pitchers, including a pitcher of Rudy’s beer for $7. And free hot dogs. All the time.

Crocodile Lounge: 325 East 14th Street (Stuyvesant Square). Order a beer, get a free personal pizza.

123 Burger Shot Beer: 738 10th Ave (Clinton). $1 burgers, $2 shots, $3 beers. Done and done.

Aces and Eights Saloon: 1683 1st Ave (UES). Friday and Saturday nights they have all you can drink beer from 9pm-12am for $10. Seriously. This is in New York City. Also, they have tons of beer pong tables.


“Sweet” (Comedy Show) at Slipper Room: 167 Orchard Street (LES). Great alternative comedy show, only $5 every Tuesday night, and so far I’ve already seen Kevin Allison and Mike Birbiglia.


NYCSSC (New York City Social Sports Club). Only $75 a season when you prove that you’re unemployed. Plus free pizza at the bars after each game and $10 pitchers for flip cup. Not bad. Not bad at all.


6 Responses to “NYC Unemployment Guide”

  1. ChristianFrank said

    I love mike birbiglia.

  2. Erin said

    It seems a bit odd to post about how you’re living on unemployment the day after you got a job. 🙂 $35.00 Lobster heading your way.

    Congrats again.

  3. Great post! Love it.

  4. […] Posts Cowboys and Indians and India-IndiansHangovers and PedialyteNYC Unemployment GuideFun with JDateKaraoke and Darryl […]

  5. Laura said

    Great Blog! I am new to Manhattan and will definitely be using your tips on living cheaply! McAleer’s Pub on the UWS is GREAT !!

  6. Leah said

    yum, new york bagels are the best

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