If you don’t have a ticket to see the Brooklyn-based quintet’s sold-out Summerstage show on Friday, they come back around to Prospect Park on August 11. (Tickets on sale here.) Alternately, if you live in Williamsburg, don’t be surprised to catch them thrift-shopping, eating Mexican “beef product” sandwiches or perusing the vinyl selection at The Thing, a few of bassist Gerard Smith’s (far left) favorite things to do when the tour bus is parked at home.
Smith, 34, has been living in the neighborhood on and off for eight years, since he moved to WB to work at a metal shop, only accidentally hooking up with TVoTR. This, of course, is the experimental art-rock band whose third studio album Dear Science was considered by many big critics to be last year’s best. “I didn’t come here to be a rock star,” he said. (Can anyone else in Williamsburg say that?) Smith is certainly a star in the Cheap-omeda galaxy. Here are six reasons why:
EAST RIVER BAR, 97 South 6th St., 718-302-0511.
“I’m not cool enough for Union Pool but this place is not sassy at all. It’s pretty laid back and they have good country music bars. You can get the classic $5 PBR-and-a-shot and they have Buck Hunter. One of the top players in the country is there.”
LA VILLITA BAKERY (above), 171 Grand St., between 1st Street & Bedford Avenue,
“It’s not organic, not pretty and rough around the edges. I get the grilled carne enchilada sandwich. It’s beef product and enchilada sauce. I get it with lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, and Swiss cheese [$4.50]. That’s one of the best deals in the neighborhood because of the amount of the serving, the flavors and it’s in a hero-style bun or roll and the bread is all baked there on the premises. They also have good coffee [$1].”
AMARIN CAFÉ, 617 Manhattan Ave. between Nassau and Driggs,
“Order the crispy duck [$12.95] and you get a quarter of a deep fried duck with angel hair deep fried potatoes on top of that’s just like the pasta—thin, light and buoyant. It has a lot of bang for its buck. You get the potatoes, boiled carrots, broccoli. You can share it. How much more pad Thai can you get?”
THE THNG (above), 1001 Manhattan Ave. between Huron St & Green Street, 718-349-8234
“They have everything—clothes, tons of books, old photographs and broken-down stereo equipment. CDs are a buck a piece. There’s a guy who goes to suburban estate sales and buys CDs and DVDs and vinyl (above).”
SALVATION ARMY, 180
“A nice facet of the one on Bedford Avenue you can always get a nice cheesy book Stephen King, Dan Brown or the guy who wrote The Corrections. I like the color-coded tags that tell you what day the prices will go down.”
GRAND MORELOS DINER AND BAKERY, 727 Grand St (Between Graham Avenue and Humboldt Street), 718-218-9441
“I get the chicken torta with everything on it—fresh Mexican cheese, avocados, refried beans, mayonnaise, blah blah blah. It’s open 24 hours. It’s easy to eat junk a lot when you’re eating on a budget so it’s nice that you can get a sandwich with vegetables for $5.50. Anything to break way from those really obnoxious cold-cut sandwiches. People get really turned off by the amount of meat in our sandwiches.”