Week 118: Slices & Squares

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Location: Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen (Times Square)
Event: Have A Slice Day
Food: Pizza

This pizza shop has exactly two locations in the city at, you guessed it, Times Square and Port Authority. I opted for the Times Square location because I can’t afford that HepC vaccine yet. I could find a table to sit at but I'm pretty sure pizza is meant to be eaten standing over a subway grate anyways.

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Week 117: Popcorn & Power

Sunday, October 7, 2018
Location: Amazon Pop-Up (Flatiron)
Event: Calvin Klein Amazon Fashion Event
Food: Popcorn

Calvin Klein and Amazon tried to numb the pain of our crumbling capitalist society (of which they are key players) with free popcorn and boxed water in front of the Flatiron building. Some people even got free underwear to mask the sting Amazon’s powerful monopoly will soon have on us. all.

—Guest roach Alyson

Week 116: Joe's & Jail

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Location: Samsung NEXT NY (Flatiron)
Event: Why You Should Build Customer Service Chatbots
Food: Pizza

I know I'm supposed to like Joe's pizza but it always tastes like a soggy mess to me. With that strong start, it's not surprising there was also roughly a one to one ratio between presenters and audience members. While that makes it extra awkward to sneak out, I was up to the challenge.

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2 meals in September // $10 donated to Food Bank For New York City

Week 115: Chicks & Tricks

Saturday, September 8, 2018
Location: Chick-fil-A (Midtown)
Event: Chick-fil-A App Launch
Food: Grilled chicken nuggets

I'm still not sure if I'm going to be on the right side of history with all my Chick-fil-A patronage. This particular day the most offensive thing they did was run out of chicken nuggets so I was forced to eat grilled chicken. Why this even exists as a menu item we'll never know.

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Week 114: Birds & Baes

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Location: Jing Fong (Chinatown)
Event: Free Duck Dinner
Food: Peking duck

I've been blessed with more free Peking duck than any one woman deserves. The alcohol dim sum cart even made a special after dark appearance to serve up some jasmine flavored beer. Safe to say my fondness for Jing Fong only grows, as does my fear of getting my foot stuck in their escalator.

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3 meals in August // $15 donated to Food Bank For New York City

Week 113: Cookies & Commitments

Saturday, August 18, 2018
Location: Panera (Chelsea)
Event: Birthday Treat
Food: Cookie

We can probably all agree the only good thing about growing old is the possibility of getting something free from a fast casual restaurant on your birthday. Panera came through for me this year with a chocolate chip cookie. The downside is letting them send me at least one email a week for the rest of my life, but seems like a fair trade.

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Week 112: Art & Amanda

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Location: Delacorte Theater (Central Park)
Event: Shakespeare in the Park
Food: Popcorn

Shakespeare in the Park is the best because it's free and makes you feel like a grownup art connoisseur. They don't usually give away food but for Twelfth Night they invited everyone onstage for a carnival complete with stale popcorn which I happily consumed. The play truly only could've been better if they had cast Amanda Bynes in her rightful place as Viola.

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Week 111: Dogs & Hogs

Sunday, July 29, 2018
Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park (Dumbo)
Event: Erwin Wurm Hot Dog Bus
Food: Hot dog

Brooklyn Bridge Park feels like one of those places in the city that's too nice for me to show my face at. But they should've thought about that before giving away free hot dogs out of a bus shaped like a hot dog. That pretty much sums up my perfect last meal.

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3 meals in July // $15 donated to Food Bank For New York City

Week 110: Roofs & Retirements

Monday, July 16, 2018
Location: Cantina Rooftop (Hell's Kitchen)
Event: Artificial Intelligence: Powering the Future of Retail & Media
Food: Egg roll and spanakopita

When there's free booze and a rooftop involved you gotta expect a lot of riff-raff to show up. I of course gravitated towards the only people in the room over 50 so I could chat about the thing that really interests me: retirement plans. For some reason everyone they got to speak at this event was British so at least I had an excuse for not understanding what was going on.

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Week 109: Risks & Rewards

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Location: 7-Eleven (West Village)
Event: 7-Eleven Day
Food: Wild Cherry Slurpee

July 11 is the official day when everyone becomes a free food fiend. 7-Eleven continued their annual tradition of giving away free slurpees and the process has become a lot less sticky, probably because they don't let you pour your own now. They ran our of Blue Raspberry, but such is the risk of the free food lifestyle.

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Week 108: Pops & Pride

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Location: Magnum (SoHo)
Event: Magnum Celebrates Pride
Food: Magnum bar

The DIY Magnum Bar salon in SoHo brought together a range of New Yorkers from chic LGBTQ lovers to high school aged gamers with their offering of a custom chocolate bar to celebrate Pride. The hand dipped and hand drizzled bars boasted the signature rainbow colors for the special collaboration with GLAAD. The chocolate ice cream with milk chocolate bar I chose was gone in approximately 90 seconds, but my love and acceptance for the Pride movement will never waver.

—Guest roach Alyson

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5 meals in June // $25 donated to Food Bank For New York City

Week 107: Scams & Sliders

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Location: Peloton (Chelsea)
Event: Database Month Meetup
Food: Slider and wings

This event was just a thinly veiled sales pitch. Like all the other time share presentations I've been to the reward is never worth it. In this case just some sliders touched by a lot of other dirty New Yorkers.

Week 106: Hate & Baseball

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Location: Sony Square NYC (Gramercy)
Event: Cuba Loves Baseball Exhibition Opening
Food: Charcuterie

This event was all for some white dude who made a book of pictures he took in Cuba. Usually when I do stuff like that my mom just says thanks and throws it in a drawer somewhere. In a real missed opportunity to serve Cuban sandwiches, they just had some basic charcuterie. The  highlight of the night was, as it always is, Cornichon pickles.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2018
Location: Twitter (Chelsea)
Event: TapIntoTwitter NYC
Food: Turkey sandwich

Like I always say: If I had a billion dollars I'd buy Twitter and shut it now. And my only regret would be that I overpaid. My feelings have not changed after attending this event. But I'd give very nice severance packages to the decent people who currently work there. I'm even willing to forgive them for making us all go around the room and introduce ourselves as if we cared to get to know each other.

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Week 105: Carbs & Commitments

Friday, June 1, 2018
Location: Krispy Kreme (Midtown)
Event: National Donut Day
Food: Sprinkle donut

I faithfully showed up for the third year in a row to get my free donut from Krispy Kreme, officially proving everyone who says I lack commitment wrong. Despite our storied relationship, I still always get lost in the labyrinth of Penn Station to trying to find it. I admittedly went for the most photogenic donut, though I've yet to meet anyone who could explain to me the value of sprinkles.

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Week 104: Banquets & Bottles

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Location: Playbuzz HQ (Chelsea)
Event: World Press Freedom Day
Food: Lamb, pita, veggies

This was easily the most impressive food spread I've seen at a free event. There were chafing dishes and hot food and men decorating the table with tomatoes. The actual event was something about world free press day and included a moderator that was a bit more misogynistic than is currently acceptable at this point in history. Then they gave out free S'well water bottles as if we don't already have 99 of those.

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2 meals in May // $10 donated to Food Bank For New York City

Week 103: Dinos & Disappointments

Sunday, May 6, 2018
Location: J.Crew (Flatiron)
Event: J.Crew x Prinkshop Tee Party
Food: Macaroon and toast

I stopped by this J.Crew event because they said Prinkshop would be screen printing shirts for free and I thought I could get one that says "Selena y Los Dinos". Turns out you could only get one of their pre-selected non-Selena designs. It ended up fine because I ate some chocolate dipped macaroons and observed the post-spinning rituals of NYC women.

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Week 102: Pickles & Porn

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Location: Warby Parker (TriBeCa)
Event: Tale of Two Cities: From NYC To UK and Back Again
Food: Charcuterie

Apparently all those kiosks around the city were very complicated to build. They're also supposed to have high speed Internet which is literally never the case when I'm around. Nonetheless, the people from LinkNYC had some interesting things to say about the process of scaling them throughout New York and other cities. And yes, the porn problem came up.

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3 meals in April // $15 donated to Food Bank For New York City

Week 101: Seltzers & Strangers

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Location: Work-Bench (Flatiron)
Event: Retaining Women in Tech Best Practices
Food: Pizza

While they generally serve alcohol at these events to make them more tolerable, Work-Bench decided to go the La Croix route. It was a surprisingly refreshing choice, but unfortunately opened the door for a random stranger to make conversation with me. I'm now searching for a way to make myself seem deaf while maintaining the level of respect for those with disabilities I hope to convey.

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Week 100: Mentors & Milestones

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Location: WeWork (Chelsea)
Event: Women of WeWork, Fireside Chat
Food: Veggies and cheese

Apparently to get ahead in the workplace as a woman I need to find good mentors. A former Nickelodeon executive talked about her career and how show makes mentor-seeking girls find her in Central Park on her morning walk to chat. Being able to make ridiculous demands like that is now my main motivator to climb that corporate ladder.

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Week 99: Portions & Persistence

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Location: Essex Street Market (LES)
Event: Women in Food: Passion Fuels the Palette
Food: Snacks

It's hard to know at this point whether closing Essex Street Market is an empty threat because it just keeps existing. They still know how to attract a crowd and their portion control food servings have always been ahead of their time so hopefully they persist.

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5 meals in March // $25 donated to Food Bank For New York City