Free in NYC


by Erin O'Hara, 04/27/2011

« »
  • print

There's always something exciting to do and see around the five boroughs that doesn't cost a dime. See our weekly picks below, and visit our calendar and special offers section for more free events.

April 27–May 3

Wednesday, April 27
John Waters: Role Models
On April 27, John Waters, Baltimore's king of kitschy cult films, will be promoting his latest book, Role Models, at Paula Cooper Gallery via 192 Books. The nonfiction collection of essays focuses on individuals who have inspired the director, from crooner Johnny Mathis to Esther Martin, a Native American woman who owned the "scariest" dive bar in Baltimore. There are a number of personal details about Waters' own fascinating life woven throughout the book, including the little-known story of when, while driving, he accidentally hit and killed a man who stepped out into the street; Waters was saved from a manslaughter charge by the eyewitness account of a nearby police officer. The event starts at 7pm; call 212-255-4022 to reserve your spot.

Thursday, April 28
Virginia Eubanks: Digital Dead End
Hop on the G train to Greenpoint Ave. and join what is sure to be a lively conversation, as educator and social-rights activist Virginia Eubanks reads from and discusses her new book, Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age, at 7:30pm at Word bookstore. Eubanks argues that flawed assumptions about the poor, racial minorities and working-class women support the notion that technology—Internet access, jobs and cutting-edge research—will automatically solve social and economic issues. Find out how she thinks this can be changed—and how technology might be used to do it.

Friday, April 29
Writing Wrongs, Righting Wrongs
As part of the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, a group of prominent literary figures will gather to discuss themes of "missing persons" (broadly defined as those whose lives, or societies, have gone astray) and "fend for yourself" (the hard truths of coming of age). The wordsmiths sharing their perspectives and experiences in writing about the topics include Lemon Andersen, Michele Carlo, Tayari Jones, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Rachel McKibbens, Tony Medina, Shin Kyung-sook and more. The hour-long two- and three-author discussions take place on The High Line (weather permitting), beginning at 10am and noon, and at the Westbeth Center for the Arts, starting at 10:30am and 12:30pm. Reservations are required for this event; to register, call 212-334-1660, ext. 109.

Saturday, April 30
Shakespeare in the Square: Twelfth Night
Undergraduate students from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts will be presenting William Shakespeare's classic comedy Twelfth Night, or What You Will, the gender-bending tale wherein Olivia falls in love with Cesario (who is actually Viola in disguise). The production is entirely student-run and will be staged in Washington Square Park's Holly Plaza, per the vision of Shakespeare in the Square's student founders, who wanted to present the Bard's works the way they were originally meant to be performed: "under the sun and in front of a loud, standing, possibly distracted audience." (This is the romantic explanation for why there is no seating, but you could always improvise or bring your own.) Performances take place at 1 and 4pm.

Sunday, May 1
TOAST Art Walk
The annual TriBeCa Open Artist Studio Tour (TOAST) is now in its 15th year. For four days only (April 29–May 2), nearly 100 artists in 36 buildings throughout TriBeCa will be opening their personal studios to the public for an up-close and personal view of their artwork and the space where it's created. The artists themselves will be there to answer questions and talk about their studios, their work and their creative processes, and tour participants will have the opportunity to purchase artwork directly from them. This is a wonderful way to enjoy the neighborhood of TriBeCa while also immersing yourself in the art world through this rare behind-the-scenes experience. Download the TOAST map at

Monday, May 2
Hola Havana
This spring, the ¡Sí Cuba! Festival celebrates Cuban culture throughout New York City with live music and dance performances, film screenings, discussions, art exhibitions and more. On view at the Brooklyn Academy of Music through May 20, Hola Havana showcases a selection of works from Cuba's contemporary art scene, featuring artists such as Alexandre Arrechea, Duvier del Dago, Douglas Pérez, Glenda León and René Francisco. The pieces are on display in the Leonard Natman Room of the Peter Jay Sharp Building and can be viewed from noon to 11pm.

Tuesday, May 3
Bryant Park Tai Chi
Start your day centered and invigorated with gentle morning exercise in Bryant Park. Get your blood flowing as members from the Tai Chi Chuan Center lead you through a series of slow movements. This Chinese martial art has been called "meditation in motion" for its relaxing effect and has been known to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and help with a variety of other health conditions. The hour-long class, which begins at 7:30am, takes place at the Fountain Terrace and is open to participants of all ages and experience levels.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Paula Cooper Gallery
    465 W 23rd St
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10011
  2. 2
    126 Franklin St
    Brooklyn – Greenpoint
    NY 11222
  3. 3
    The High Line
    Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10011
  1. 4
    Washington Square Park
    W 4th St to Waverly Pl
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
    NY 10003
  2. 5
    BAM - Brooklyn Academy of Music
    30 Lafayette Ave.
    Brooklyn – Downtown Brooklyn
    NY 11217
  3. 6
    Bryant Park
    Sixth Ave. between 40th and 42nd Sts.
    Manhattan – Midtown West

check-in date

check-out date