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free food in manhattan???

  • c

i am insanely broke (like, $.90 in my bank account broke) and i NEED to find a way to get food. i work in midtown (broadway and 52nd. places around here keep a pretty tight leash on their customers, so an old fashioned "free lunch" is out of the question.

any freebie suggestions???????

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  1. Whole Foods always has good samples. Hope pay day comes soon.

    1 Reply
    1. re: CK1

      I used to manage a McD's when I was in Grad school and we always gave away leftovers about 10 min before closing. Go to the high Volume places that are not open 24/7 as they usually overcook. Also, on the weekends many festivals/carnivals overcook "junk" food like cotton candy and funnel cakes and give them away toward closing. The seaport used to have a bunch of these. Good Luck and God Bless....

    2. Go to coffee (e.g., starbucks) and pastry shops late, around closing time. Some places will put out unsold, day-old pastries for the homeless. I know it's only a step or two removed from dumpster diving, but the food is clean and the price is right.

      2 Replies
      1. re: a&w

        I think the same is true of Pret a Manger, of which there are still a few in midtown. I remember walking by one a year or so ago around 5 p.m. and saw bags full of the day's leftover sandwiches, still packaged up, on the sidewalk. Good luck, and remember there is always the kindness of friends as well as soup kitchens.

        1. re: bookistan

          there is a Pret a Manger on 55th just E of 6th Ave

      2. You can get free bread from both Cosi and Pranzo.

        1. not free and not in midtown, but you can get 3 bags of ramen for .90 from Chinatown grocers

          1. I could be wrong, but I think there's a section about that in the Cheap Bastard's Guide to NYC. Browse through that at a bookstore or library.

            1. In midtown or thereabouts Whole Foods is probably your best bet but if afterwards you find yourself downtown, Black Hound (2nd Ave & 11th Sts) always has a basket of very small samples out.

              1. The Hare Krishna's are quite generous with the free food. Every evening they have a free meal at 93 St. Mark's Place, 2nd Floor.

                2 Replies
                1. re: hanover

                  Yeah, but whatever they serve seems to make your hair fall out!

                  1. re: newsjoke

                    Actually, its very good vegetarian (but not vegan) fare.

                2. The bar at Ben Benson's (51/6th) puts out free bowls of spicy fried potato skins and fried chicken pieces during happy hours. Quite good junk food, esp if you're starving. The place is usually PACKED after work, so I am sure you can munch quickly and scoot unnoticed.

                  Try going to markets where people are handing out samples, the greenmarket, the whole foods, chelsea market.

                  Another thing, the egg folks at the Union Square Greenmarket usually give away eggs at the end of the day, the are there on Saturdays and Wednesdays that I know, but they may be there the other days too.

                  1. Sell your computer. Use the money you get and the money that you pay for internet service and buy some food.

                    1. Sneak into the Hampton Inn & have the breakfast buffet. There's one on 24th Street (I think) in Chelsea. Maybe they'll call the cops if they catch you, then you can have 3 free meals a day in JAIL.

                      1. If you are really desperate for a meal, rather than just samples/leftovers, you could call 311 and get a list of soup kitchens and food pantries. I know that there are a number of them in midtown, although some might be closed during the convention.

                        I think Coalition for the Homeless and Welfare offices also would provide such a list.

                        Good luck

                        1. I don't know about free, but since you're working and presumably about to have some money soon, there's a relatively inexpensive produce market near you: Stiles, which is on 52nd, just east of 8th Avenue, I believe. They normally have carrots for 33c/pound, for instance.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Fida
                            nicole friedman

                            I met the guy who wrote Cheap Bastards' Guide to NYC- at a cooking class for the New School. He had volunteered to help out/clean up, and got to eat our leftovers. However, he got to eat them standing up, while we sat down at a table with wine:} For others too- this actually is a good tip if u have the time, and want to learn some new cooking skills for free.

                          2. Pommes Frites in the EV gives a small free sample of their delish fries--WITH CHOICE OF SAUCE!!! They're on 2nd Ave. right below St. Marks. Maybe you can get more than one free sample...never tried.

                            1. Langan's on W 47th has a complimentary buffet from 5 to 7 but you'll have to rustle up the price of a drink to get it.