BinderCon on the Cheap

Hello and welcome to the BinderCon blog, where we’ll be posting content from our organizers, speakers, scholars and volunteers about the conference but also the wider experience of being female or gender non-conforming in the writing world.

Today let’s talk logistics of attending our Out of the Binders conference. New York City is known for being expensive, and while many spend thousands on rent, food and going out, many more New Yorkers squeeze all the good out of this city on a tight budget.

Washington Square Park by Roey Ahram

Washington Square Park is close by and has plenty of space to hang out. Photo by Roey Ahram

Where to sleep (and shower and stuff)

If you’re a visitor, even better, you’re in luck: the most expensive thing about New York City is rent! When finding a place to stay, consider how far away it is from the conference but also other places you might want to visit, like Central Park or the bars of Williamsburg.

The conference is easily accessible by the A, B, C, D, E, F, M, 6, N or R trains – and that’s just the two closest stations. No matter where you stay, your best bet for cheap lodgings is Airbnb. Look for good reviews, consider traveling with someone if that makes you feel more comfortable, and I hate to say it, but: prepare for the worst. A very nice couple was recently unceremoniously tossed from an Airbnb listed apartment in my building because the wrong neighbor found them out in the lobby.

Technically, short-term rentals are not allowed by many apartment buildings’ rules, but there are literally hundreds of wifi-enabled private rooms or apartments available on BinderCon weekend for less than $100, so it’s worth a look.

If that’s not for you, for about the same price if you book soon, you can stay in a regular old hostel, in either a private or bunk room, at The Bowery House, a mere nine-minute walk away.

Where to eat (and take pictures of your food)

The following are recommendations are all BinderCon team-tested and approved!

Dos Toros Taqueria (Fourth Ave & 13th St.) (6 blocks from conference): Killer tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, including corn tortillas for GF folks. Seating is limited, but the park is a few blocks away for anyone who wants to take their tacos to go.

Fresco (Second Ave b/w St. Marks & 9th St.) (3 blocks from conference): Known for its fantastic gelato selection (rosewater and lemon basil, anyone?), this cute cafe also has delicious salads, sandwiches, pastries, and coffee.

Atlas Cafe (Second Ave near E. 4th St.) (3 blocks from conference): Beloved tiny East Village cafe that serves Moroccan-inspired vegan and non-vegan sandwiches, pasta, crepes, and more.

Mamoun’s (on St. Marks Place, almost at 2nd Ave.) (less than a block from conference): This was recommended a few times by fellow binders. Serving better quality falafel and kebabs and other traditional Middle Eastern food.

Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (17 Cleveland Place, b/w Spring and Kenmare) is a fifteen minute walk from the conference area and perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

Red Bamboo (West 4th St. b/w 6th Ave. and MacDougal): A cozy vegan brasserie popular with local students and Earth-loving types, Red Bamboo often has a lineup but is great for a catch-up dinner with friend or new conference mates, and will set you back around $20 for dinner.

Joe’s Pizza is $2 and is the epitome of a New York slice. Enough said.


Where to hang out

Bar 169 by Chris Goldberg:Flickr

Bar 169 by Chris Goldberg/Flickr

Since you’re already here, you might as well enjoy all that New York City has to offer; here are a few places you can hang out, have a drink, read a book or catch some culture for cheap.

Bluestockings is a volunteer-run trans-inclusive feminist bookstore and cafe open til 11 every night. They often have talks, readings or other events on the weekend, and it’s also a friendly space to just hang out and read a book.

MoMA’s Free Fridays is a perfect way to see art and do some serious New York City people-watching between 4 and 8 for completely free.

Triona’s is a no-frills sports bar that shows “all the good games” for football fans, according to our friend Mina from WAM!

As for bars, you can’t walk a minute without seeing one.  For a fancy cocktail try Death & Co. For a not-painfully hipster music bar try Cake Shop. For a weird New Orleans-themed locals bar go to Bar 169 – and if we missed your favorite, let us know on Twitter or Facebook.