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Brainstorm for clueless New England visitor

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I'm coming down to NYC from Maine to meet up with some old college friends this weekend. It's a last minute visit, so no reservations have been made. I'm on a budget, and my friends are, too. I'd say no more than $50 per person per meal.

I'm looking for...

-Somewhere to meet up with 2-3 people for drinks/dinner on Friday, at about 6:30-7:00. Either small plates / tapas around $10-15, or entrees around $20. One of these friends is on a gluten-free diet. As for neighborhood - either Astoria, or anywhere on the East side from 14th street to about 60th street.

-Lunch (not brunch) on Saturday - basically anywhere in Manhattan, but preferably above 14th street. How's the Grand Central Oyster bar? Oysters or sushi or something else 'light' would be good for this meal, I think.

Thanks for your help

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  1. Post on outerborughs board for Astoria.

    1. Get a falafel sandwich from the King on 53rd and Park for lunch. Save your money for expensive nightclubs

      1. You will get way more bang for your buck in astoria- greek mezze and potato dishes may be a good option for your gf friend. Check the outer boroughs board.
        GC oysters are great but add up quickly. For "light" sweetgreens in flatiron has satisfying unique salad combos, or get bagel sandwiches at pick a bagel on 3rd ave near 23rd st or ees a bagel. Maybe halal cart chicken on salad if its nice enough for street eating on 53rd and 6th ave (look for the yellow shirts and longest line)