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New York on $10 a Day

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If You Beg, Do It With Integrity. At venue doors and in cabs with friends, I played my few dollar bills like a deck of cards, contributing little but with much fanfare. I begged my therapist to carry the balance. I turned to my brother for a cheeseburger and Budweiser. At Odeon for New Year’s Day dinner, I sang that Manhattan chorus about having no cash, about getting everyone back next week. And I will. Meet you there, guys: same time, same table.

Dream, and Desist. At midnight on the seventh, I could spend whatever. Sponsor a round of cognac for the bar, order in a rib eye, chocolate cake, and a stripper. Get a late-night limousine to Foxwoods. Buy an island in the Finnish archipelago. But when 12 a.m. rolled around, I had no desire to spend a cent. Instead I walked—walked!—home through dark winter streets, noticing for the seventh day in a row how the lights strung on fire escapes and on storefronts are even more beautiful after the holidays.

WHAT I SPENT EACH DAY

Sunday, January 1, 2006
Group dinner at Odeon . . . . . . . . . . . . $2
Group drinks at Tribeca Tavern . . . . . $2
Drink at Frank Restaurant . . . . . . . $3.50
Split cab to Tribeca . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2.50

Monday, January 2
Camel Wides Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . $9.50

Tuesday, January 3
Breakfast at Bouley Bakery . . . . . . . $3.71
Dinner at New Wonton Garden . . . $6.50

Wednesday, January 4
Subway to Donnell Library . . . . . . .. . $2
M&Ms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.75
Banana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.35

Thursday, January 5
Deli coffee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.75
Subway to midtown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2
Split cab to East Village . . . . . . . . . . . . $6
Banana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.30

Friday, January 6
Cowboy Special cocktail at Double Happiness plus tip . . . . $6
Lamb kebab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2
Mini York Peppermint Pattie . . . . . $0.25

Saturday, January 7
Subway to Upper West Side . . . . . . . . $2
Meatballs at Pizza Bar . . . . . . . . . . . . . $8


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