You've heard of a love-hate relationship. Well, I have a love-love relationship with a website called Postabon. I've written about the fanciful prizes both my boyfriend and I have won by being active members (Met's tickets, iPad, Peter Luger's gift certificate, helicopter tour...) and people often ask me a one word question - HOW?!
First let me give you a little background. Postabon started as a final project for a couple of Harvard Business School students and turned into a full-fledged company after obtaining financial backing in 2009. The idea behind the site is sort of a community for deal sharers, Foursquare meets Retailmenot meets Google Maps. Users earn "Karma Points" for posting, sharing and commenting on deals around the city. I caught on to this genius back in May when they were offering Met's tickets to the first 20 users who earned 500 Karma Points. Simple enough.
Next time I logged in and the steaks were raised. An iPad was up for grabs for the user who earned the most Karma Points in a week. That's when I went a little gung-ho and ended up winning the contest, much to the surprise of pretty much everyone I knew. When I actually whip-out my new favorite toy is when I get all the queries of how they can get in on the action as well.
Another great thing about the site is that it's easy to use and provides great benefits for little effort. If you want to casually share some deals you find walking down the street, great. If you want to use the site and it's iPhone app (soon to be newly designed and available at the app store) to find deals in your neighborhood, cool. Or you can also get super into the site, apply to become a Guru (involves sending an email and getting a super-cool icon next to your name) and go for the contest wins, I'd welcome the competition. There are options for everyone.
Postabon also holds awesome events for Gurus. I recently attended a happy hour at West 3rd Common and a dinner at Brasserie Les Halles where I got to meet other Postabon-ers and swap deal tips. They also keep a pretty cool blog which features deals members post.
The majority of activity is currently in NYC, but they are expanding into other major cities like Chicago, San Francisco and Boston so all you have to do is sign up and start posting. Trust me, it's worth it :)
Through the awesomeness that is Postabon, Mike recently won a tour for two of Manhattan. Not by taxi, double-decker bus or by mule, but by chopper! I can't even tell you how excited I was when I found out because this isn't something normal people do. I mean for one, it's expensive, and two, well, who was the last person you knew who went on a helicopter?
We arrived at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport on a cloudy but warm Sunday abuzz with anticipation. I had been on a helicopter once before on a family trip to Hawaii. There were at least eight passengers, but I ended up being one of two people who did not up-chuck lunch after some gnarly turbulence (and that was only because there were no more little baggies left for us). So I was careful not to eat a big lunch before this adventure, but truthfully I wasn't really worried about that this time.
The staff led us out onto the tarmac (is it still called a tarmac?) and boy was that baby loud and windy! They were taking touristy pictures of our co-passengers, a family from Mexico, while we tried as best as we could to get our own without paying the $20+ they charged for a take home souvenir.
Once we were in the helicopter, the noise only gets louder, so they give you fancy dancy headphones equipped with microphones so you can talk to everyone and the pilot can give his tour. I'd have to say that the coolest part about the ride itself was the take-off. All of the sudden you are just up in the air and you don't even realize - no extra noise or thrust - and you can just sit back and enjoy the view as you get higher.
We swung around Lower Manhattan toward the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I decided then that I need to go revisit Ms. Liberty since she's now open on the inside again. Now I just need some out of town visitors to drag with me...
Mike with his fancy dancy headphones and Ms. Liberty
Next we came back to downtown and I caught a glimpse of my office (how cool!). It's in the Trinity Building (the two-towered turn-of-the-century building toward the center of the photograph) on the 13th floor. Nobody was there (duh, it was a Sunday), but I waved anyway.
Our chopper continued north and I couldn't believe the amazing perspective I was gaining on my city. It's one thing to see pictures that other people have taken, but to actually know that we were hovering at just above the height of some of the buildings below us was pretty awesome. I kept trying to point out landmarks and friends' apartments.
Times Square is in there somewhere.
Me with my fancy dancy headphones.
Central Park! This is the view I see every
morning on the ABC7 weather report :)
The Jackie O. reservoir in Central Park with my favorite
two-towered UWS building in the foreground (also my
apartment is somewhere in the background).
We passed over Columbia, one of the most gorgeous urban campuses in my opinion, and looped around Yankee Stadium. It was interesting to see the empty lot that was the old stadium. I think they are turning it into parking.
Yankee Stadium and the Bronx
Coming back south, I was able to get a few better photos of some West Side landmarks.
The Intrepid (check out the submarine on the left!)
Overall, this was an awesome experience I won't soon forget. I am so in love with this city and I am ever grateful to Postabon for allowing us to do something most people never get to do.
Me and Mike
I must preface this post with a little background on how I ended up dining at a NYC legend of a steakhouse (especially since this was my third steakhouse dinner in 3 weeks). A few months ago I discovered Postabon, a community for deal-sharers. A new site, Postabon is in the process of building a community and thus holds weekly contests with some pretty sweet prizes (this week it's a Kindle!) for activities like earning the most "Karma Points" (which you earn by posting, sharing and commenting on deals), posting the most deals or referring the most people. What got me hooked was an iPad giveaway, and yes, I won it. Talk about stirring up intrigue! I get so many questions when I whip out my fancy-dancy digital media device and I happily refer everyone to the website. Two weeks after the big win, Postabon gave away 3 $150 gift certificates to Peter Luger Steakhouse. I ended up winning one and after I got my boyfriend, Mike, hooked on the site, he won another. This was our first adventure.
Good news! After months and months of brain-breaking studying, Mike finally completed the first step of the US Medical Licensing Exam! We needed to celebrate and I knew just the place. Under the East River and down Driggs Ave. it's off to Peter Luger's we went!
All I really knew about the establishment was that it was cash-only, very expensive, had a reputation for snooty service and served AWESOME steak. Walking into the restaurant, it felt like I could have been in any era - the place is timeless (it's been around since 1887 so I guess it has to be). We made reservations, which you absolutely need about 2 months in advance I'd advise, and only had to wait a couple of minutes for our table.
Contrary to what we expected, our waiter, Bernard, was warm, welcoming and very happy to make recommendations. The menu is very simple with few options for add-ons and the way your order steak is not by cut or even by oz. You can either get Steak for 2, Steak for 3, Steak for 4, or Steak for 6. Expensive aside (you have to just suck it up if you've already made it in the door), the meat was incredible! When steak goes to heaven, this is where it goes; super buttery in texture with a nice crisp on the outside. As for sides, and you have to order something else all you'll be eating is cow, we started with the Caesar salad and had the German-fried Potatoes and Creamed Spinach. The salad was pretty standard, but nicely dressed, while the potatoes were yummy but not that different from your typical home fries. The thought of creamed spinach takes me back to the days of eating in my dreary elementary school cafeteria, but I could have eaten this stuff by the bowlful. Not overly creamy and still with a fresh spinach flavor, this side is a must-do.
My plate: Creamed spinach, German-fried potatoes and steak
In the end, we were too full for dessert, but after seeing the table next to us order special "Holy Cow" ice cream sundae, I'm definitely game for that next time. All of their desserts are served with homemade Schlag, or amazing amazing creamy whipped cream.
I know NYC has so many hip and trendy eating establishments you would like to try, but trust me on this one. Oldies can be goodies and Peter Luger Steakhouse is a goodie. Make your reservations now for October!