Thank you for caring, New York Times

August 4, 2006

Just yesterday I was reading up on the NYT’s Diner’s Journal, a blog maintained by Frank Bruni, and salivating over descriptions of meals that there is no way I could afford to eat, even if I happened to live in New York. I think I could have known this even before I started reading, but they suckered me in with an interview with down-to-earth female chef, who admitted to using Hellman’s mayonnaise and Pepperidge Farm buns at her establishment while still making it sound delicious. A dining blog for the people? Alas not, as it quickly moved on to tales of new restaurants where typical tabs for 2 people, sans alochol, quickly reach two hundred dollars. (It did have an extended discussion of doggie bags, however: there are some New Yorkers who will ask for them, but most won’t, and never in Paris.) I have, of late, attempted to embrace my thrifty side (with limited exceptions, including wine, travel arrangements, and certain movie tickets), but reading about these places makes me wish that I had picked a college major that might have given me a realistic shot at being able to drop a couple hundred on beautiful food and drink on a regular basis without being a broke-ass too.

But today, a heartening development: this article entitled Rock My Budget With a Gull’s Eye View, part of a new series called Cheap Seats. The reporter attempts to find the cheapest way to take in a concert and still have fun. It pretty much turns out that to save money at concerts you have to 1) not be too picky about who you see (Fiona Apple=expensive, Huey Lewis and the News=bargain) 2) take the most obnoxious subway route possible (no real equivalent of this if you drive a car… I guess you could carpool and save on gas if you can find some friends who want to go to the B-list concert) and 3) sneak in snacks (hard to do if you are a shy, polite Midwesterner who knows it is entirely possible to die just of embarassment). Okay, so the nuts and bolts of this article were not all that helpful, but the idea that the Times is willing to spend some ink on how the other 93% lives is encouraging all by itself. An italicized editorial note at the end of the piece states: “This article begins a new feature that will examine how to attend performances and other cultural events in and around New York City as economically as possible.” What? Economics is a legitimate concern? Good to know. I do also know that for greatness, one must often be willing to pay top dollar, but there are lots of weekends to fill and not all of them need to be life-changing. Bring on the cheap seats.

What with this and news in the Herald that some developers are taking another look at middle-income housing, one might start to think that some people have finally gotten the message that interest rates are going up, wages are not, and thriftiness may be just about to re-enter the zeitgeist. Oh dear me, I hope not… but I wouldn’t mind being able to afford somewhere to live when I get done with school.

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One Response to “Thank you for caring, New York Times”

  1. Lauren Says:

    It’s best to look at the downturn in the housing market and the increase in interest rates as America’s only hope of returning to some semblance of fiscal responsibility.

    Can you believe that we save less than any one else in the world?

    In a not really related note, I also read an article about the renaissance of the super-model. Not a cause for celebration in itself, but the article (or segment, I think it was on tv) suggested that super-models were back in demand as a result of the public’s growing dissatisfaction with celebrities. Beginning in the late 90’s celebrities began replacing models as the faces of designers, perfumes, and cosmetics. They were freakin’ everywhere.

    And we know what happened after that. Now we are embroiled in a completely celebrity-obsessed culture, so infatuated with the personal lives of movie stars that we can hardly care about their professional work. Movies, in my opinion, have suffered for it.

    While the 1990’s were a fun decade, they had consequences that were less so. We got so used to unprecedent prosperity we assumed it would go on forever. Perhaps now we are realizing it does not. We can pull ourselves out of the tailspin we are currently in — debt spiralling out of control, public seriousness at an all-time low, general ignorance.

    Yeah, I’m running out of steam right now. But I’m optimistic that these hardships will eventually lead to a happier, more stable time. And perhaps movie stars will stay where they belong — in the movies.


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