This is as close as I’m going to get to selling my blood for money…
On June 6th, 2017 you can donate blood for two Mets tickets at Citi Field’s Caesars Club from 10 am – 5 pm. You also have until June 30th to make a platelet donation at New York Blood Center for ticket vouchers from a select list of game dates. Click Here to schedule an appointment or call 1-800-933-2566.
New York Blood Center also has a Donor Advantage Program. So instead of tickets you can get Donor Advantage Points towards a whole list of items and gift cards. I would probably join this program just for the hell of it if I weren’t borderline anemic all the time. I tried to donate for my second time ever today, and was 35/38 on the anemia test. Three points away despite having taken my iron pills for a whole week. I know not everyone can donate, but if you meet the requirements, why not? People are always in need of critical blood transfusions. It’s a very good deed that saves countless lives.
Plus look at the Blood Center mascot. Look at that goofy costume. Do it for that poor schmo.
Growing up in the outer boroughs of NYC, I always thought theater was out of reach with tickets in the hundreds of dollars. I didn’t find out until last year that the whole time I was a teen I could have been a seat filler and seen any show I wanted by walking in after the Intermission. I’m a little bitter about this. Anyway… I’ve seen more plays this past year than I’ve watched TV or movies. And that’s with bootlegging a friend’s Netflix account.
Let’s start with the free and work our way up from there.
Yelp is more than a place to give one star reviews to Mexican restaurants because the waiters dare to speak Spanish. As much as I rip on Yelp and Stoppleman’s haircut, having Elite status does get you a steady supply of free food and drink. It’s actually worth being that person who won’t let you eat until they take a picture of your dish under different lighting conditions and angles.
Even though I’m blacklisted from ever becoming Elite (long story…), it’s still worth my while to have written 378 reviews since 2011. That’s an average of 4.5 reviews a month. And here I am thinking that I barely write reviews.
Yelp’s open events are what I stick around for. They are free-free. All my other sites have “processing fees”. $5 isn’t much, but it still isn’t free. Most of the seats have been font mezzanine but I’m not gonna complain about a free shows and views like this:
As you can see I’ve see the most and the best shows with Yelp and for that I’m grateful.
The dark-horse of low cost theater tickets. The quality has been all over the place. I recommended it to a friend just when it hit a growth spurt. Really bad timing. Not only did it take forever for him to start getting offers, the majority of these plays were off-off-off Broadway and what I like to call “Church Basement” plays. “Theaters” in office buildings and community centers. If they weren’t hot messes only populated with family members and other unfortunate Show-Score reviewers, then I wouldn’t have complained, but they were twice baked hot messes on metal folding chairs. I learned the hard way to google the theaters. If it’s located in 59E59 it’s guaranteed to be good. Thought recently all the seats Show-Score gets are by the sound booth, in the nosebleeds.
The tickets used to be completely free but once they took off, they had to start charging a $5 processing fee. It’s not bad and helps stop people from thoughtlessly ditching shows. I think they’ve gotten their sea legs back because they’ve started curating for quality again. Or maybe I’m just better at picking the good stuff.
I really like the review format. It used to be limited to 140 characters for and 140 against seeing the show. Recently they started offering a longer format. I’m not a fan. The Twitter style was challenging and forced me to be creative. Here’s how I handled it: My Show-Score Reviews. As you can see, I’m a generous reviewer.
They’ve also expanded into the Today Tix and GoldStar realm of offering reduced and full-priced Broadway tickets. Here’s to hoping they maintain the quality of their “free” offerings.
I’ve mostly used Goldstar for a wide variety of events like baseball and bull riding (Yes, there’s bull riding in NYC) but I’ve had my best luck with the comp off-Broadway show Neal Brennan’s 3 Mics. It’s on Netflix right now, you should catch it. I paid an $8 processing fee for a seat with a seriously obstructed view. But I made out like a bandit when the theater manager started moving people to fill seats smack dab in the middle. It was my first stand-up show and I loved it. GoldStar will get a mention later for sure.
Neal Brennan’s 3 Mics
Even with the head, these seats were 1000x better.
The link above will take you to my referral page so you can get $10 towards your first purchase. With Lottery tickets starting at $20, it’s a sweet deal. TodayTix is a combination of full-priced, discount, Rush, and Lottery tickets. Set the search filter to Price>> Lottery/Rush so you don’t have wade through the full priced shows.
I was going to mention Shakespeare in the Park sooner since it too is free-free, but by far the most convenient way to get tickets is through TodayTix. You can set up an alert in the app to let you know as soon as shows become available. Once the lottery opens at midnight you have until noon to enter the drawing via the app. Then you have to check your email from noon until 2:15pm to see if you’ve won. It’s up to you to claim them in 45 mins. or else they return to the pool. Similar rules apply with the Rush and Lottery tickets. Rush tickets are within the $30 range. Still a sweet deal.
I don’t know how updates work on blogs (I’m so painfully green), but as I use new programs I’ll update. Since I’m a student again, I know there are other free/low cost ticket programs like Student Rush, but I won’t review them until I actually use them. No need to go off half cocked and give out bad information.
Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side is far and away my most favorite music venue. The acts are always high caliber and you can always find a show without a cover. Always.
There are 4 stages. Stage 1 is the smallest, no drink minimum if you avoid the tables, full service bar. Being small in no way diminishes the quality of the acts. These aren’t second string performers. I’ve yet to hear a mediocre show on Stage 1. I would inundate you with video if I could.
Stage 2 is the largest with an upstairs balcony. The 2 drink minimum applies upstairs with the all table service. Same for the table service if it’s downstairs. Basically all the tables everywhere have a 2 drink min. so I don’t sit at the tables. There’s always a stool somewhere! Here a wandering waitperson might or might not take your 1 drink min. order if you don’t hit the bar yourself.
When there isn’t a cover for Stages 1 & 2, they usually pass the bucket for the band. Tip as generously as you can. The place is already a bargain.
Sting guested on Stage 2 a few months ago… I’m not immune from FOMO even here.
Stage 3 is on the lower level and has nothing but table seating. Although I’ve never seen a show at this stage without a cover, those tend to be in the $10 range. The acts in this room are more mellow for the more intimate space. I thought I didn’t really dig jazz until I heard Now vs Now‘s electronic take on it. Now I know electronic jazz. ::insert Keanu Reeves meme here::
The 4th stage might’ve had performances in it at some point in its lifetime, but it’s usually where you can go drink (blackout) and converse (make out) without disrupting a show.
Rockwood does that lovely thing where they provide a free water cooler at the bar. No need to make a pest of yourself with the bartenders. Since I tend to compulsively drink whatever’s put in my hand, having access to free water helps me slow my roll.
I rave about Rockwood all the damn time because if you’re looking for a solid no-cover music venue with reasonably priced drinks, there’s always something excellent going on. Every time I come for one show, I leave with yet another band that I must follow until the End of Days. I know… poor me.
CityParks’ SummerStageis the be all and end all of free summer event lineups. Oh, do you scoff? Do you say, “Pishaw! If it’s free how good could it really be?” Well let’s go back to SummerStage 2016 so I can prove my case.
As a kid I wasn’t sheltered, but you’d think I was from how little I went out. I was just a baby Broke-ass with zero social skills. I grew up in the Bronx and missed the rise of Hip Hop, Punk in dives like CBGB, Disco at the mega dance clubs that didn’t card or where a decent fake ID was ridiculously easy to get. I missed everything good about NYC in the 80s.
So when I see that Public Enemy is going to be playing at Betsy Head Park in the middle of Brownsville FOR FREE, I figure here’s my only chance to experience them like I should have back in the day. I got there 2 hours early to insure I got right in front. Unnecessary but hell, I wasn’t taking a chance or capturing a dream of my childhood.
It was the best concert I’ve been to in my entire life. I had a better view of the performance than I ever would have in Public Enemy’s heyday. I left sweaty and dusty and happier than I’ve been in 4 decades.
Public Enemy @ Betsy Head Park – SummerStage 2016
Flavor Flav!!! – SummerStage 2016
Chuck D. getting nice with it at SummerStage 2016
Since that went so well, I decided to catch the free showing of “A Ballerina’s Tale” directed by Nelson George in Central Park. While chatting in line, people asked if Misty Copeland was going to make an appearance. Staff couldn’t confirm or deny. I’m thinking that would be swell and all, but having Nelson George seemed like an awful lot already. Well, after Mr. George intros his film he introduces Misty Copeland. We were all the woman on the left.
Click here fortheFull SummerStage Event List. There are events up until September, with the vast majority of them being 100% free.
This year’s line up is like someone dug thru a crate of Old School Hip Hop vinyl and decided to get them all to perform. It’s like the Summer of 1986 all over again! I plan on catching George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic w/ DJ Marley Marl hosted by Roxanne Shante, KRS-One / DJ Chuck Chillout, Slick Rick, TKA (Freestyle FOREVER!), and last but not least… Rock Steady Crew 40th Anniversary featuring MC Lyte! Holy crap this is going to be an awesome summer.
Lowdown Hudson Music Festdown in Brookfield Place in TriBeCa isn’t nearly as expansive as SummerStage stage, but it’s more current than nostalgic. Last year I got to see The Roots. I missed The Roots Picnic and was pretty bummed that I didn’t win tickets. This made up for it in a big way.
This year’s Fest is on July 18th & 19th. Common plays on Tuesday and OK GO on Wednesday. I think I’m going to catch that OK GO show! It should be lots of fun.
I have to get my calendar organized. This is going to be one busy summer!
Today is my 3 year anniversary with e-Rewards. If it were a year ago, I might have said it was a monumental waste of time. In fact, I did say that very thing to another member a year ago. Now that I’ve received a real $25 gift card for Starbucks, I’m singing a completely different tune.
I’m going for the $50 one this time. 50 bucks worth of free coffee is more valuable than gold as far as I’m concerned.
What is e-Rewards, you ask? You fill out tons of demographic information and they email you surveys to complete almost daily. They can take as long as 30 mins. to finish, but whether you qualify to finish one or not you receive a little something for your trouble. e-Reward’s “money” isn’t real money. When it comes time to redeem you’re only getting 33 cents on the dollar. But if you qualify for 3-4 surveys a week, you hit those redemption goals surprisingly fast. Waiting for the bus… fill out a survey. Stuck in the doctor’s waiting room… fill out a survey. It’s more productive that putzing around on Facebook.
Since it’s been three years I don’t remember how I joined, but now it is strictly “by invitation only”. I know… that sucks. But don’t let it stop you! All you have to do is be willing to spread your email address around, thus opening yourself to a whole lot of mail to wade through. But beware, if you’re anything like me and can’t stand that little red dot of unread emails, you could be opening yourself up for a whole lot of extra work.
For example, if you join Southwest Airline’s Rapid Rewards Email Update, you become eligible for an invite. But that’s just one. e-Rewards has many partner sites. Here’s a partial list:
Maybe GolfNow is listed twice because you’d have a better shot with them. *shrug*
So, look for any free membership sign-ups, preferably anything that outright mentions e-Rewards like Southwest does.
My main criticism of e-Rewards in the past has been their less than attractive, à la Publisher’s Clearinghouse, magazine offers. Who on earth reads Redbook??? Now at the $75 level I have a $25 iTunes gift card option too. That’s pretty choice stuff. They also offer airline/hotel club points and a not highly rated Restaurant. com gift card that I’m not interested in, but someone might find them useful. As long as e-Rewards keeps me in free Frappuccinos, they have won a place in my heart.