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free food in manhattan???

callmebetty Aug 27, 2004 01:19 PM

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???????

  1. c
    CK1 Aug 27, 2004 01:45 PM

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: CK1
      Terry Aug 27, 2004 04:49 PM

      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. a
      a&w Aug 27, 2004 02:09 PM

      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
        bookistan Aug 27, 2004 02:33 PM

        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
          folklaur70 Aug 27, 2004 04:14 PM

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

      2. a
        Autumnwine Aug 27, 2004 02:19 PM

        You can get free bread from both Cosi and Pranzo.

        1. t
          tracey Aug 27, 2004 02:22 PM

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

          1. e
            evg Aug 27, 2004 03:13 PM

            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. b
              bk Aug 27, 2004 03:58 PM

              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. h
                hanover Aug 27, 2004 04:01 PM

                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
                  newsjoke Aug 27, 2004 10:24 PM

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

                  1. re: newsjoke
                    hanover Aug 28, 2004 04:06 AM

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

                2. t
                  tater paw Aug 27, 2004 04:13 PM

                  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. c
                    citizen x Aug 27, 2004 09:26 PM

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

                    1. b
                      Beeftaco Aug 27, 2004 09:31 PM

                      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. r
                        ruth arcone Aug 27, 2004 09:45 PM

                        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. f
                          Fida Aug 29, 2004 12:28 AM

                          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 Aug 30, 2004 03:11 AM

                            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. y
                            YumYum Aug 31, 2004 01:14 PM

                            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. b
                              bwdirector Oct 18, 2004 05:47 PM

                              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.

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