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#BeFreeNYC: Maria Bamford's favorite free thing in New York City

By Dana Varinsky

Our week of free is coming to a close! Each day, we've been keeping you in the loop about the best free events in NYC and giving you exclusive offers at some of our favorite spots around the city. But just in case we haven't convinced you that enjoying this city can come at zero cost, we're letting notable New Yorkers tell you about their favorite free things to do each day. So far, we've heard from actress Allison Williams, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan and author Lev Grossman. For our final day, we've got recommendations from two local celebrities. First up: actress and comedian Maria Bamford, who will be performing at the New York Comedy Festival on November 8 (Town Hall, 9:45pm). Here's what she has to say:

As a person who may or may not be addicted to any or all substances and processes, I find that walking to anonymous free support groups citywide is comforting. LA has the most variety, but NYC has the most accessible without a car. These clans (which shall remain unidentified) can be supportive in staving off urges to self-destruct—of which I have a few. And at the very least, it's an hour in a community room where I can't buy $200 three-inch high wedge robot boots that I will never wear. And some—they will say "open" in the listing—are open to the public, even it you don't consider yourself an addict of any kind. It may seem like an intense respite, but hearing the self-help slogans like One Day at a Time, the stories of others and remembering the sad consequences of choices I've made that seemed great at the time (i.e., eating my sister's handmade 30-piece ice cream birthday cake, sleeping with Australians, drunk-text-driving, etc.) helps me appreciate how lucky I am to experience the range of emotions available—when I'm not numbed by obsessions with the aforementioned crap. In a walk down the block in Manhattan, I am able to soberly experience the low-cost roller coaster of excitement, jealousy, fear, anger, joy! And going to these meetings and sharing those feelings can help me handle a little bit of the strongest feeling I have when I travel by myself: loneliness.

Oh! And if that's too depressing, go to an open mic! Same sense of community/camaraderie, same 3 minute timer, but with an open bar!


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