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Showing posts from 2008

NYC <$20 a pair: Dumpster Diving on the Upper West Side

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MOVIE: Dumpster Diving on the Upper West Side, NY
What's cheaper and choosier than finding a rococo chaise at the Salvos? Pouncing on a pair of apple green boudoir chairs turfed out with the trash!

It was precisely the good fortune of fellow Aussie Sarhys Page and me after emerging from a Cheap'n'Choosy night at the Hudson Hotel.

The hipper than thou Hudson - recently tarted up by Philippe Starck - turns hotel design on its head, with a pair of escalators bathed in a yellow light as the "stark" entrance, leading up to an impossibly dark lobby dominated by a dangerously low hanging mega-chandelier. (I need to publicly berate Mr Stark for placing mirrors in the ladies' restroom too high for anyone under 5-foot nothing).

On this night I was carousing with the first person to give me a break in advertising Downunder, John Doorley, and budding Aussie actress Sarhys (pronounced Sar-reece). We were partly celebrating being legends in our own lunchtime, having been …

New York: Ducking overpriced workout gear at Daffy's

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THE MOMENT I found an impossibly cheap'n'choosy yoga class in Manhattan, the next task was finding cheap-not-cheesy workout gear.

By cheesy, I mean the ubiquitous pastel pink, ice blue and minty green styles of the styleless triathlon world replete with arbitrary detailing. Chintzy inserts, piping and words like "Workout World" - for those who regularly confuse their sweats with their Sunday burka - who pays these "designers"? It's as annoying as those no-doubt all-male designers who insist on making pastel pink hiking pants for women. Oh yeah, give me some camel shit to smear on 'em in Egypt ...

I also dislike the arbitrary ornamentation on running shoes too. They Inc. would tell you it's for technical reasons, but I doubt it. I have a pair of ASICS "neutral" runners recommended by the knowledgeable hasher who sold them to me. They look like a crazy paver sewed them. They're white and an equally mud-magnetizing pastel blue. Apparen…

New York: Downward Dog Days at a Buddha's price

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YESTERDAY I mentioned the donate-what-you-will daily yoga class at Laughing Lotus.

I did my second session this week, as one can, when a class is affordable and you're paid a Northwest salary in NYC.

The studio is on the third floor of an old building with an old lift and a big, cheerful orange and pink banner out front.

The 1 1/4 hour 'community class', offered at 2.30pm each week day, is taught by student or "blossoming" teachers, as they are called. The suggested donation on the website is $5.50, yet I understand attendees donate between $0 and the standard class price of $11, depending on their capacity. The donations are directed each month to a charity of the school's choosing - it was the Obama campaign at one time, the Tsunami another.

It's heated - great in winter - who needs Bikrim? It walls are painted with soft yet vibrant colors, depicting deities like Ganesha, "Lord of success and destroyer of evil and obstacles ... an elephantine cou…

New York: Chowderhounds, rejoice - $3.50

Welcome Skintsters, to Cheap 'n' Choosy.

This blog was originally inspired by an article I wrote for the Eugene Weekly's Back to Campus Guide in 2005. Eugene is the land of the sliding scale, bartering for babysitting and 1001 different ways to make tofu palatable. It abounds with sub-5-10 dollar options to make you forget you're stuck in Eugene, like the amazing Pizza Research Institute's Vegan Chef Special slice, $4, or the Keystone Cafe's famous sesame oat pancake.

Even $10 is a big night out there, so the hunt for the superlative yet sub-$5 life experience has become my own private Idaho, ever since leaving Australia in 1997 to travel the world on a folding bicycle. Since then I've been sharing my finds for the discerning yet frugal fashionista, foodie and funseeker in my general Galfromdownunder blog.

But today, while partaking of a $3.50 cup of the dangerously addictive New England Chowder at the Lobster Place in Manhattan's Chelsea Market, I happe…