3) FREE SEATS
Since this isn't New York City (where the mayor helped build not one but two new ballparks that, from the number of empty seats seen so far, will need to give away scads of free tickets just to fill up), Bostonians have to be a tad creative when in search of affordable sporting events. You could, of course, arbitrarily choose to become the die-hard fan of some youth traveling team. But from where we sit, we imagine that a lot of the kids' parents wouldn't exactly 2-4-6-8-appreciate your support — particularly if you're sporting non-ironic Members Only jackets and watching the games through binoculars while hiding behind large oak trees.
Instead, why don't you check out the intense weekend-afternoon soccer games in Dorchester, Somerville, and Southie? (Just show up whenever — they'll be there.) Or bring a blanket to the public matches at Myopia Polo Club (435 Bay Road, South Hamilton), where there's a strict bring-your-own-malt-liquor policy.
4) FREE UNIQUE
Though there's no sign of a 21st-century Works Progress Administration project jump-starting artisan careers, it appears that the new president is more interested in broadening America's cultural horizons than his predecessor (whose dinner-party guest list featured such distinguished creative minds as Kenny Chesney). This past month, the Obamas even held a poetry jam in the East Room.
As we wait out a stimulus addendum for the arts, there are ways to have a colorful summer. Two of Boston's finest museums are free on weekday nights: hit the Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Avenue, Boston) on Wednesdays from 4 to 9:45 pm, then stroll over to the waterfront Institute of Contemporary Art (100 Northern Avenue, Boston) on Thursdays from 5 to 9 pm. For those who'd rather ramble, explore a warren of galleries and fill up on complimentary Dixie cups of wine at the SoWa Artists Guild's First Fridays in the South End (450 Harrison Avenue, Boston). And don't forget the sculpture path at Forest Hills Cemetery (95 Forest Hills Avenue, Jamaica Plain), where all you need to pay is your respects.
5) FREE GREETS
From the looks of the stimulus breakdown — with designations for such boring initiatives as rural-broadband infrastructure — there probably won't be much dough left for jamborees and block parties. But don't pack up those stickball bats and "Grill Sergeant" aprons just yet. A lot of Boston pols will be spoiling constituents with frozen-patty burgers over the next few months, and all they want in return are handshakes and superficial commitments.
Boston City Councilor Rob Consalvo's birthday bash is this Thursday, June 18, and he wants to party with you at the Sunset Bocce Club (65 Danny Road, Hyde Park). He's not even facing a serious challenger, so you can only imagine how many hot dogs Tom Menino, Sam Yoon, and Michael Flaherty plan to stuff down voters' throats this summer. With that in mind, call up the field offices of everyone who's running for mayor and City Council, and tell them to put you on their e-mail lists. With any luck, you might even score some free beers.
6) FREE SCREECH
While new car buyers in Massachusetts will save about $650 through tax incentives set up by Obama's stimulus package, that doesn't do much for those who can hardly afford monthly T passes.