The first thing I do when New York pops up in my roster is text Gwen Albers. Not only is Gwen a fellow flight attendant who lives in New York but she is also well on her way to making it big as an actress. Whenever we are both in town we usually meet up in Washington Square park to catch up on the latest G. And of course she know’s all about the latest hotspots. A few years ago she decided to pursue her dreams by moving to New York and attend the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting. Sound super glamorous but fact is that New York is a very expensive city. Not everyone lives like Carrie Bradshaw (getting a new pair of Manolo’s every week). As she was born in Holland (we Dutchies know a thing or two about budgeting ) she knows exactly how to make it in Manhattan. Where to shop, where to do groceries and get the best deal on your daily cup of coffee. Unfortunately we just missed each other on my last trip as she was flying back to Amsterdam when I landed in New York. She did manage to share some tips with me. And just so happens that I have a few tips up my sleeve as well. Want to know which? What are you waiting for, go go!
1. Organic groceries
So, I always use to go to Whole Foods to get some groceries for those jetlag snack attacks (and yes, I have this thing with supermarkets). Not the cheapest place to go and you end up spending at least fifty bucks for the three thing you put in your basket. And one time Gwen told me ‘nobody goes to Whole Foods’ and introduced me to Trader Joe’s. You can get many organic products without going completely bankrupt. On the down side: many, many people shop here so it’s always super crowded! So here’s an idea. When you enter, immediately go and stand in line and get the products while you are waiting in line and passing along the shelves (I know..).
2. Organic Brekkie
The trick to budget in any big city is to stay away from the main streets. Because the prices are usually higher, for everything. You will never see me walking on 5th Ave by the way. Way too crowded and too many tourist (I’m not a tourist of course..?). The other day I ran into this great breakfast place on 8th avenue. They have my all time fave brekkie, açai bowl but also delish juices that don’t run up you bill like Joe and the Juice. Now I’m a regular and always order the same: spinach and feta omelet and an açai smoothie. Very good prices and you won’t get hungry again until dinner time.
Juic-O-logie on 387 8th Avenue.
3. Coffee/wifi/oatmeal break
What always surprises me are what people sometimes charge you for tea and coffee. The cooler the place the more expensive your macchiato is. When I was strolling along Greenwich Village to go to Soho I stumbled upon this cute place (ok, to be honest I was looking for wifi ☺️). It is actually a oatmeal place, I used to despise warm oatmeal and just stick to overnight kind. But turns out they have some nice warm oatmeal and tea is just a buck fifty! And did you know that oatmeal is very ‘trendy’ these days? So for some trendy oatmeal, free wifi and affordable tea and coffee this is your go to place. OatMeals, 120 W 3rd St, Greenwich Village.
4. Donation based ‘zen’ moment
When you live in the city that never sleeps you need really need to take a break every now and then. Like most New Yorkers Gwen gets that break by doing yoga at Yoga to the People. And what’s really nice is that you pay based on a donation. So if money you have a little less to spend sometimes you can still get your zen on and get some inner peace. You’ll find YttP on various locations like on 1017 6th Avenue and 115 W 27th Street (and no, the lessons are not outside but in a regular studio). ?
5. Park life
Personal fave: just love to do this. Getting a healthy lunch at Trader Joe’s and having a break in one of the many lovely parks of New York. Gwen and I usually meet up at Washington Square Park (meeting each other half way) to catch up. Even in winter there’ll be many other people having lunch at the park as well. It’s free, super view and super fun.
We just missed each other by a few hours so here’s an old pic of Gwennie and myself.
7. Good Will Hunting
Regular visitors of TheTrendAttendant.com might already know but I am a sucker for designer vintage. Everywhere I go I am always looking for vintage treasures. However, I stopped looking for designer vintage in the US. The prices are very steep and you end up paying the same amount as you would pay for a new piece in Europe. But in stead of going to vintage heaven boutiques like What Goes Around (omg, literally fa-reaked out in this place! ❤️) why don’t you try your luck at these so called Goodwill stores. Ok, you might not find that gorgeous classic vintage Chanel 2.55 but with some patience and luck you might find some other vintage goodies! ? What Goes Around 351 W Broadway. Goodwill stores, many throughout the city and 44 W 8th Street.
8. Rooftop shenanigans
Ok, so you can stand in line for hours, spend a fortune on tickets for let’s say the Empire State building to get that amazing view of the city. But why don’t you put on a nice dress, go to the top of a hot and happening hotel and get a drink at their rooftop? It’ll just cost you a drink, no lines and who knows you might even run into your Mr. Big!
So if you want to follow Gwen in New York and on her adventure to Hollywood make sure you check out her site.
Good luck Gwen!