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February 20, 2019

Freebies for furloughed federal employees range from tacos to comedy shows — here are the best of them

January 19, 2019
Upper West Side comedy club Stand Up NY is selling its LaughPass, good for a year’s worth of unlimited comedy shows at the venue and 30 other comedy clubs around the country, for just a buck to furloughed employees. (Stand Up NY)

While it doesn’t make up for being deprived of a paycheck, government employees affected by the shutdown can take advantage of perks to help ease some of the strain.

Whether you’re in need of no-fee extensions on cell phone service, could benefit from a free or cheap meal, or want to escape to a museum or movie on the house, there’s an offer for you. Just bring your official government employee I.D.

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COMEDY SHOWS FOR A YEAR FOR $1

(Stand Up NY, 236 West 78th St., New York)

You’re going to need something to laugh about if you’re not getting paid. So the Upper West Side comedy club Stand Up NY is selling its LaughPass — good for a year’s worth of unlimited comedy shows at the venue and 30 other comedy clubs around the country — for just a buck to affected employees. The $1 fee is because the system used by the club doesn’t allow zero amount credit card transactions. Normally, the LaughPass is valued at $159. “We’re not solving world peace but if we can add a little joy to people’s lives by giving them access to a free and fun comedy experience whenever they wish, I’m thrilled and grateful,” Stand Up NY co-owner Dani Zoldan stated. Furloughed workers should go to GetLaughPass.com and enter coupon code “FEDSHUTDOWN.” You’ll need to bring your work I.D. when picking up the pass at the club. The LaughPass has other perks like a free drink and preferred seating.

Wax figures depicting Duchess Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Madame Tussauds New York.
Wax figures depicting Duchess Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Madame Tussauds New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

FREE ADMISSION TO MADAME TUSSAUDS AND MORE

(Madame Tussauds New York, 234 W 42nd St., New York)

If you blame President Trump for the government shutdown, you can tell him so — or at least his wax figure. Madame Tussauds New York, along with other locations of the wax museum around the country, is offering free admission to federal employees affected during the shutdown. Other famous faces include Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle. Merlin Entertainments, which owns Madame Tussauds, is also extending the offer to its other attractions, including its Sea Life aquariums in Arizona; Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina; Dallas/Fort Worth; Kansas City, Missouri; Michigan; Minnesota and Orlando, Florida. Guests must show federal worker I.D.

FREE MOVIE TICKETS

(BAM Rose Cinemas, Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn)

Escape the harsh reality of your situation by watching other people’s drama unfold instead. BAM Rose Cinemas in Fort Greene, Brooklyn is offering free tickets to furloughed federal employees for the first show of the day of first-run films, Monday through Thursday. The deal is good for one ticket per employee (normally priced at $15 for adults, $11 for seniors) by presenting a federal I.D. at the box office. Online or advance orders are not available for the freebie.

Gregory’s Bar is giving free beef or veggie tacos to government employees affected by the shutdown and their immediate family members.
Gregory’s Bar is giving free beef or veggie tacos to government employees affected by the shutdown and their immediate family members. (Garnish Marketing)

FREE TACOS

(Gregory’s Bar, 900 Shore Road, Somers Point, NJ)

During “Taco Tuesday & Thursday,” which runs from 3 p.m. until “late,” those who show government I.D. at this South Jersey seafood joint can score free unlimited baskets of Gregory’s Famous Taco Hard Shell Beef Tacos, which are normally priced at $2.50 for two tacos. The tacos are also packed with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Guests can substitute in a Vegetable Hard Shell Taco Basket (but nothing else). The offer is for dine-in orders only. The spouses and kids of government employees in attendance will also get as many free baskets as they can eat there.

FLEXIBLE CELL PHONE PAYMENT OPTIONS

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(AT&T, plus other service providers)

A government shutdown doesn’t have to mean your phone service is also shut down. AT&T has vowed that, “as long as the shutdown is in effect, our customer service team will adjust late fees, provide extensions, and coordinate with you on revised payment schedules.” AT&T phone and DirecTV customers can check Att.com to learn more. Other cell phone companies like Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon can also make arrangements for affected government employees. Check with your provider for details.

FREE MUSEUM ENTRY

(Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave., Astoria)

Check out displays like “The Jim Henson Exhibition” and “A Whole Different Ball Game: Playing Through 60 Years of Sports Video Games” at the Museum of the Moving Image. The Astoria, Queens hotspot is offering free admission during the shutdown with I.D. Normally, it would set you back $15 for adults and $11 for those 65 and over.

DISCOUNTED FOOD

(Brickwall Tavern, all locations, check brickwalltavern.com)

This burger and beer joint wants to let federal workers know they have their back. In an Instagram post, the mini-chain vowed to discount furloughed employees’ bills by a percentage based on how many days the government has been closed. “It’s our small way of saying thank you to those in thankless jobs,” the post read. “You’re working class heroes.” The tavern has two locations in New Jersey (Asbury Park and Burlington) and one in Philadelphia. The discount is available to employees and, if present, their immediate family.

Rocco’s Tacos, known for its guac, will grant a one-time $20 credit to furloughed government employees providing proper identification through Sunday.
Rocco’s Tacos, known for its guac, will grant a one-time $20 credit to furloughed government employees providing proper identification through Sunday. (Rocco’s Tacos)

FREE EMERGENCY NYC HOTEL STAY

(various locations)

The Hotel Association of New York City, a trade association that includes 280 hotels, will provide free hotel rooms to furloughed federal workers who need to travel here for personal emergencies during the shutdown. Those with emergency family situations or health issues that require them to travel to the city can apply for limited-time lodging by sending an email explaining the circumstances to [email protected], with the subject “GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN ROOM APPLICATION.”

$20 ROCCO’S TACOS CREDIT

(Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar, 339 Adams St., Brooklyn)

Drown your sorrows in tasty Mexican food. Through this Sunday, Rocco’s Tacos will grant a one-time $20 credit at any location, including Downtown Brooklyn, to furloughed government employee that provide proper identification. Just don’t indulge in tequila if you’re on a budget — the credit can only be applied to food (except Taco Tuesday promotions) and non-alcoholic drinks. “Rocco’s Tacos has always supported our law enforcement and government officials. None of us expected this shutdown to go on this long, and I couldn’t stand by and not do anything for the people that keep us safe and keep America running,” founding partner Rocco Mangel said in a statement. The spot is known for guacamole made tableside.

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