Free in NYC


by Erin O'Hara, 06/08/2011

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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.

June 8–14

Wednesday, June 8
As the battle over which coast is best continues to rage, LANY brings together works by seven artists from the two cultural capitals for a group exhibition at Peter Blum Chelsea. Four artists from New York (Luisa Rabbia, Benjamin Degen, Andy Cross and Daniel Rich) display structural, complex and narrative works, while three from Los Angeles (Kevin Appel, James Melinat and Kara Tanaka) present pieces that are more simplified and spiritual. The show illustrates the differences geography can make, and that artists from both locales create meaningful art. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday evening, from 6 to 8pm.

Thursday, June 9
Trisha Brown Dance Company: Roof Piece
While the phrase "only in New York" is certainly overused (unless you're Cindy Adams), it's entirely apropos for a quirky experience like this one. Forty years ago Trisha Brown went knocking on doors in SoHo asking strangers if she and her company could dance on their roofs; with a little persistence, Roof Piece was born. Now witness a revival of the live performance on the 40th anniversary of its debut. Head to The High Line, where dancers perched on rooftops around the southern end of the park mimic each other's improvised actions, sending movements across the horizon like messages in a game of telephone. The performance starts at 5pm.

Friday, June 10
Andrew Bird at Celebrate Brooklyn!
Indie-folk favorite Andrew Bird officially kicks off the 2011 season of Celebrate Brooklyn! in Prospect Park with this free show on Friday night. Bird's classical upbringing is apparent in his signature style, sometimes referred to as "baroque pop," which intermingles violin and glockenspiel with modern guitar, vocals and whistling. The show starts at 8pm, and though the gates open at 6:30, it's safe to say people will be lining up for the spots even earlier than that. 

Saturday, June 11
32nd Annual Mississippi Picnic
Get a taste of some old-fashioned southern hospitality at the 32nd Annual Mississippi Picnic. The event was founded in 1979 by a group of Mississippians to help promote understanding between New Yorkers and natives of the southern state. Thirty-two years later the picnic is still going strong, attended by more than 2,000 people, including politicians from both Mississippi and New York, and serving as a reunion activity for alumni from Mississippi universities. Bring a blanket and enjoy authentic southern music from Eddie Cotton, plus southern cuisine (for a recommended donation) like fried catfish, watermelon and sweet tea.

Sunday, June 12
Kayaking on the Hudson
Summer might not officially start until June 21, but summer weather has certainly arrived. Enjoy NYC's great outdoors while getting exercise and staying cool by paddling around on the Hudson River this Sunday. On weekends, volunteer organization the Downtown Boathouse offers free river kayaking to the general public. Instructors provide the equipment and lessons; all you have to do is show up in a swimsuit or shorts and strap on a life vest. (Oh, and you also have to know how to swim.) You don't need to register ahead of time, but children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and 16- and 17-year-olds must have parental permission and supervision. 

Monday, June 13
Simon Pegg at the Strand
Simon Pegg, the fair-haired British comedian best known for writing and starring in the zombie horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead and the police farce Hot Fuzz, proves his writing chops once again with his new memoir, Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy's Journey to Becoming a Big Kid. The book follows his geeky and clumsy childhood in England through his current success as a, well, supergeek. (His most recent success: portraying engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the 2009 Star Trek film.) Pegg will read from his endearing book, answer questions from the audience and sign copies.

Tuesday, June 14
Museum Mile Festival
Where else can you find this much culture packed into one mile? Nine of the country's finest museums offer free admission amid a festive car-free block party along Fifth Avenue, with live music, street performers and tons of activities for kids. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art at one end of the mile to El Museo del Barrio at the other, here's your chance for a bargain crash course in New York City culture. The Museum for African Art is opening on Museum Mile in September; in the meantime be sure to visit their table at 105th Street, near El Museo del Barrio. This year's festival kicks off at 5:45pm at Neue Galerie, and the party goes on rain or shine.

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    Peter Blum Soho
    99 Wooster St
    Manhattan – SoHo
  2. 2
    The High Line
    Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10011
  3. 3
    Prospect Park
    95 Prospect Park West
    Multiple Locations
    NY 11215
  1. 4
    Central Park Bandshell
    Mid-park, 66th to 72nd Sts
    Manhattan – Central Park
  2. 5
    Riverside Park
    Riverside Drive to Hudson River
    72nd St. to St Clair Pl.
    New York – Upper West Side
    NY 10115
  3. 6
    Strand Book Store
    828 Broadway
    Manhattan – Union Square
    NY 10003
  1. 7
    Neue Galerie New York
    1048 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028

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