Live the Good Life for Less

The recession may have officially ended in June 2009, but times are still tough for many folks throughout the Hudson Valley. Unemployment remains high, housing prices are low, and the wild spending sprees of the 1990s seem like ancient history. But just because you are pinching pennies, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the finer things in life. So from hip consignment shops to budget Broadway shows to daring dining deals, here’s our guide to champagne living on a beer budget. You’ll never pay full price again!



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Entertainment

A Triple Steal

Minor League baseball abounds in the Hudson Valley, and all three local clubs — the Hudson Valley Renegades and Tri-City ValleyCats of the New York-Penn League, and the brand-new Rockland Boulders, an independent team — offer affordable family entertainment. Renegades fans can purchase a five-game package and receive a complimentary ticket to a sixth game (or buy 10 and receive the 11th free); the all-you-can-eat pregame picnic and Reserve Grandstand ticket is just $20. For “Sunday Fundays,” the Troy-based Tri-City ValleyCats give you four tickets, four hot dogs, and four sodas for $25 (available at every Sunday home game). General admission tickets are $6.

The Rockland Boulders begin play in Pomona in June 2011; while plans are still shaping up, the Boulders intend to offer an average ticket price of $10 and at least one meal for under $5 at the concession stand, says spokesman Ken Lehner.

Photograph by DeeBee Photography/courtesy of Tri-City ValleyCats

Stingy Stage

For a Broadway-style experience at a bargain-basement price, try the International Family Series at Albany’s Palace Theater. For $25 ($12.50 for kids), families can enjoy three different live theater experiences per season.
Next up: Avner the Eccentric in Exceptions to Gravity on Feb. 13.

Riverside Revels

The Valley is home to dozens of art galleries, all of which are free. One of the best ways to experience the region’s art offerings is during one of the Art Along the Hudson events. This collaboration of arts organizations in Beacon, Catskill, Hudson, Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, and Rhinebeck offers special arts programs on rotating Saturdays each month, year-round. Most events are free; local restaurants and shops also have special deals and sales to enhance the festivities (www.artalongthehudson.com). For a comprehensive list of area galleries, visit the “Arts” tab at www.hvmag.com.

Film Frugality

Long known for live dinner theater, the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford has branched out with a new recession-buster: “Hollywood and Dine.” Classic films are screened for $8, and dinner is a la carte; together, the evening should run you about $20 (check www.broadwaytheatre.com for dates). Other oldies options include the $5 Friday night films at Poughkeepsie’s Bardavon Opera House (catch Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange on Jan. 28) and the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston (take the kids to Back to the Future on Feb. 25). And Silver Cinemas at South Hills Mall in Poughkeepsie continues to offer $2 movies and $1 admission on Tuesdays.

Dirt-Cheap Dancing

For first-rate footwork at a cut-rate cost, visit www.ashokan.org and check out Fiddle and Dance News, a compendium of lessons and events from various dance clubs throughout the Valley, as well as a rundown of upcoming performances by local folk musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason (at right). With a few exceptions, every dance event on the Mid-Hudson Dance Calendar is $10. You can also pick and choose classes in swing, contra, Cajun/zydeco and English country dancing by visiting www.hudsonvalleydance.org.

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