NYC businesses offer free food & services during the shutdown
As the government shutdown drags on, these NYC businesses are making life a little easier for federal workers with free food, entertainment and services.
With no end in sight to the government shutdown, federal workers on furlough are having to make difficult choices about their budgets, but they’re getting a little help from generous businesses well beyond Washington D.C. We’ve rounded up the free food, entertainment and services available to federal workers in New York City (plus a couple fun nearby outings in New Jersey).
Michael Sinensky has started what he calls the Funbars Government Meal Plan at his three NYC restaurants, serving complimentary meals until the government reopens. That includes fresh-pressed juices at Juice Shop, lunch at the popular Sushi by Bou at Jue Lan Club in Flatiron, and for dinner, a free entrée and Bud Light draft at Sidebar in Union Square. Feds also skip the line, with no cover plus a free drink at Hudson Terrace on Friday and Saturday nights. Before coming in, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-677-2900
While the Smithsonian’s two NYC-based museums may be closed, federal workers and a guest get free admission to the New-York Historical Society. Current exhibits include a retrospective of Billie Jean King’s career, what life was like for black Americans under Jim Crow and the socially Betye Saar. Note that you’ll still need to buy a separate ticket for Harry Potter: A History of Magic. 170 Central Park West, nyhistory.org
Escape reality for a little while at a movie. BAM Rose Cinemas is offering free admission to the first show of the day of any film, Monday through Thursday. Just present your Federal Employee ID at the box office; no online or advance orders are available. 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, bam.org/film
Blow off some steam with a little friendly competition at indoor go-karting track RPM Raceway, where federal workers can show their ID for a free race in one of their electric karts at all of their locations. 99 Caven Point Rd., Jersey City, New Jersey, rpmraceway.com
Do your celebrity spotting indoors at Madame Tussauds. During the shutdown, Merlin Entertainment is offering one free ticket to all federal employees for endless selfies with their wax figures — new additions include Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan and King Kong. 234 W. 42nd St., madametussauds.com
Feel the Brrrn at NYC’s first cool temperature fitness studio, where federal employees can not sweat out their stress during a complimentary workout held in 45°-60°F rooms. The Flatiron studio claims it burns more calories — but if you need to warm up, there’s also an infrared sauna. 107 W. 20th St., thebrrrn.com
Federal workers get a $20 credit at modern taqueria Rocco’s Tacos, not applicable to Taco Tuesday specials or alcoholic drinks. Good through Jan. 20, 339 Adams St., Brooklyn, roccostacos.com
Take a family trip to Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park offering free entry to federal government employees, their partner and children for a 60-minute jump session every Tuesday through Thursday until Jan. 31. You’ll have to spring for the special socks required on the course though. Locations in Pine Brook and Springfield, New Jersey and Long Island, skyzone.com
Too many Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, and Financial Gym is working to change that one educational happy hour, marijuana seminar and shopping tip at a time. Federal workers on furlough can sign up as a new client with the personal finance management company for free (an introductory consultation is always free for anyone). Monthly membership fees are also waived for current clients who are federal employees. 134 W. 25th St., financialgym.com