Free in NYC
by Niko Gelfars, 06/29/2011
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June 29–July 5
Wednesday, June 29
The View From a Volcano: The Kitchen's Soho Years, 1971–85
The Kitchen celebrates its 40th anniversary with an exhibition highlighting its early years as a center for experimental performance and visual art. Since its inception in 1971, the space has been an invaluable asset to the downtown art scene and served as the jumping-off point for many prominent and provocative artists. The View From a Volcano will include work by such alums as Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass and Sonic Youth. The opening reception, on June 29, begins at 6pm.
Thursday, June 30
Summer in the Square
Summer in the Square, the popular weekly series held in Union Square, takes place every Thursday through August 11. The event offers something for everyone, with yoga and fitness classes, music and theatrical performances and kids' activities. The June 30 installment will feature performances by the cast of Broadway's Million Dollar Quartet and Brooklyn-based synth-pop quintet The Aviation Orange. Festivities last all day, from 7am to 7pm.
Friday, July 1
40th-Annual International African Arts Festival
This yearly festival of African culture commemorates its 40th anniversary with four days of music, dance, spoken word and family-friendly activities at Commodore Barry Park, beginning on July 1. For the kids, there's storytelling, clowns and more. The theme of this year's festival is "Arobaini," which in Swahili means "40." International African Arts Festival is a nonprofit organization, and a (tax-deductible) donation is suggested.
Saturday, July 2
"Everybody Loves the Sunshine": Roy Ayers and The Jazz Mafia Symphony Plus Special Guests
Over the course of his five-decade career, jazz legend and vibraphone virtuoso Roy Ayers has gained renown for his funky and soulful compositions, as well as for such hits as "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" and "We Live in Brooklyn, Baby." On July 2, celebrate Ayers' 70th birthday, which was on September 10, 2010, as part of SummerStage with the world premieres of commissioned works from San Francisco music collective The Jazz Mafia, which has re-envisioned some of his classic pieces. The show starts at 7pm at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park.
Sunday, July 3
Each Sunday through October, Habana Outpost brings you outdoor film screenings as part of its Movies Under the Stars series. This week, revisit the summer nights of yore with the hit 1978 musical Grease, starring John Travolta as greaser Danny Zuko and Olivia Newton-John as his crush, the goody-two-shoes Sandy Olsen. The movie begins at around sundown.
Monday, July 4
Fourth of July Events in NYC
New York is definitely the place to be when it comes to free Fourth of July activities. Get to Coney Island before noon for the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, an annual favorite. Watch as a select group of skilled eaters scarfs down Nathan's dogs for 10 minutes straight, stopping for nothing—not ketchup, not mustard, not even a french fry. After that, check out Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, which is offering free admission for the holiday. Currently on view is Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels, which features 250-plus pieces from the jewelry house's archives. (Note: following the 4th, the exhibition galleries at the museum will close for renovation and expansion; they are scheduled to reopen in 2013. During this period, various other locations will host museum exhibitions and events.) And, of course, you can round out the evening with the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks, a festive and inspiring tribute to our nation's independence. The fireworks will burst over the Hudson River starting at 9pm, with approximately 40,000 shells launching from six barges on the water between West 20th and West 55th Streets.
Tuesday, July 5
Yoga in Bryant Park
Find your center—right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Expert yoga instructors from Lululemon Athletica will lead students in this energizing mind-body workout in Bryant Park beginning at 10am. Yoga mats are provided free of charge, but participants are welcome to bring their own. Yogis of all ages and skill levels are invited, but make sure to arrive early to claim your spot.