With an untraditional college atmosphere, most Parsons kids don’t hang out at the school cafeteria or even the school café. If you want to see some of us in action, head out to the Union Square Greenmarket. It’s about three blocks away from campus, situated in Union Square Park, and it’s open almost every day during the week and weekend. It’s the best place to pick up some locally grown produce, bread, some juice, and maybe even throw in a plant every now and again at great prices.
Really, we live on student’s budgets, and many people think that leads to ramen. But when you have access to such great locally farmed ingredients at such low prices, most of us turn to vegetables instead of slowly dying from salty noodles. Most of the time, in between classes and work or even before I get on the subway, I’ll stop to pick up some groceries. Apples seem to be my main constant and for New York $1.29 a pound can’t be beat, throw in some potatoes for 89 cents a pound, and, well, it just keeps getting better. There’s more specialty stands like Red Jacket Orchard Juice (if you get the ones that expire faster, it’s buy one get one free) and The Pretzel people who sell these great big bags of hard pretzels at a really decent price. They also have the most beautiful selection of plants and they always trick me into buying them but then two days later they are dead for I am the worst plant owner in the world. I’ve recently just picked up some cacti and it’s been two weeks- so far so good!
The Greenmarket keeps me far away from both a vitamin C deficiency and the Easy Mac most nights. But the city is full of farmers markets – there’s a lot in Brooklyn, the East and West Villages (I’m willing to travel for my delicious discounted veggies). Another great option are co-ops (or coops – either way), which are stores that carry locally grown food on discount and all they require you to do is to become a member and work a couple hours a month. Some of my friends have joined ones like the Park Slope Food Coop and the 4th Street Food Co-op.
But don’t think if you’re living in the Stuyvesant Dorm that doesn’t have a cafeteria that you have to eat out all the time. Buying groceries in New York can be affordable, you just need to be looking in the right places and not go to Whole Foods all the time. So learn those recipes – especially ones that use all vegetables and get those reusable bags ready! Once you go to the Union Square Greenmarket, you’ll be hooked for four years!