Free in NYC


by Mallory Passuite, 06/22/2011

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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 22–28

Wednesday, June 22
FriendsWithYou at The Hole
Miami's FriendsWithYou presents smile, the art collective's first solo show in New York (and the only show in our recollection that has an emoticon for a title). Judging by their taste in nomenclature, the two artists involved are awfully positive, but that's nothing compared with their mission statement, as published on their website: "To spread the idea of Magic, Luck, and Friendship™ around the world, and become Friends-With-You!" Expect bold stripes, pops of color and smiling characters (including a giant inflatable), creating a world inside the gallery that resembles Super Mario's from the original Nintendo game. The exhibition also marks the first show in The Hole's brand-new Bowery space. smile is on view through August 6. Also check out FriendsWithYou's Rainbow City installation on The High Line through July 5.

Thursday, June 23
A Hike Through the National Historical Landmark District on Governors Island
Discover a fort built in 1798, a former Civil War prison and more on this National Park Service tour. (This year marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, and Governors Island is unexpectedly rich in American history.) Tours begin at 10am and 1pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays; expect to walk about a mile and a half over the course of 90 minutes. Free tickets are distributed one hour before ferry departure at the Battery Maritime Building.

Friday, June 24
East River Ferry Tour
The East River Ferry, which began operating last week, is offering free rides through June 24. Hop on board at any of the seven stops in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens and take advantage of the final day of free service. Ferries depart every 20 to 30 minutes from 7am to 8:30pm. With breathtaking skyline views, the ride alone is worth the trip, but stops in DUMBO, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Long Island City offer loads to see and do. We suggest starting at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan after checking out our "Summer Harbor Guide" itinerary for ideas. After Friday, a one-way ticket will cost $4 and an unlimited day pass will cost $12.

Saturday, June 25
Summer Kayaking on the Hudson at Downtown Boathouse
Enjoy NYC's great outdoors while staying cool by paddling around on the Hudson River. 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.

Sunday, June 26
Hugh Masekela at SummerStage
South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela may be best known for his 1968 instrumental hit "Grazing in the Grass." The Friends of Distinction covered the song in 1969, adding lyrics ("Grazing in the grass is a gas / Baby, can you dig it?") and securing a spot for Masekela's tune on the pop charts in the process. See the trumpet player perform live from an appropriate venue: the lawn in front of SummerStage's Mainstage in Central Park (we can dig it). Freshlyground and Somi open; the show begins at 3pm. 

Monday, June 27
Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown Author Dialogue
Commemorating Bob Dylan's 70th birthday last month, Yale University Press released author David Yaffe's Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown, a new look at the icon. Yaffe considers Dylan from four perspectives: his relationship to the civil rights movement, the influence of his singing style, his image in films and his songwriting methods (which have led to charges of plagiarism). On June 27, Yaffe and David Hajdu, author of Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña, take a look at the man behind the music in a discussion and multimedia presentation at the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library, beginning at 6:30pm.

Tuesday, June 28
Chicago-based Icelandic artist Anna Jóelsdóttir transforms the all-white performance gallery at the Clocktower Gallery with an ethereal ceiling installation. Hand-painted, oversize sheets of Mylar drip from the space's ceiling and pillars, seeming to float in the space like condensed, colorful clouds, white and splattered in sunflower yellow, mint green, lavender and a burst of blood orange. Surge remains on view through October 1.

related venues/(5)

  1. 1
    The Hole
    312 Bowery
    Manhattan – SoHo
    NY 10012
  2. 2
    Governors Island
    New York Harbor
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004
  3. 3
    Riverside Park
    Riverside Drive to Hudson River
    72nd St. to St Clair Pl.
    New York – Upper West Side
    NY 10115
  1. 4
    SummerStage in Central Park
    Rumsey Playfield, E. 72nd St. at Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Central Park
    NY 10065
  2. 5
    Clocktower Gallery
    108 Leonard St., 13th fl.
    Manhattan – TriBeCa
    NY 10013

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