Free in NYC


by Joanna Weinstein, 10/19/2011

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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.

October 19–25

Wednesday, October 19
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at the Ace Hotel
This year, more than 1,300 bands are rocking out as part of the CMJ Music Marathon—and some are playing free shows. On Wednesday, the venerable rock 'n' roll fetishists at the Ace Hotel betray their Northwest roots when they partner with Seattle's KEXP and Toyota Free Yr Radio for a showcase of new music. Showtimes are 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm; headliners Clap Your Hands Say Yeah—whose latest collection of Brooklyn-style dance-rock, Hysterical, came out in early September—play at 4:30pm. Stick around for DJ sets from Beggars Group labels and catch an art show from the Tacoma, Washington–based Art Chantry, whose retro-oriented graphic design has graced posters for the likes of The Cramps, Mudhoney and The Sonics. If you can't make it on Wednesday, check out the shows on Thursday and Friday.

Thursday, October 20
France Rocks CMJ Night 
Thanks to Bureauexport and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, you can experience four courses of la musique rock at the October 20 edition of France Rocks CMJ Night. Get to Santos Party House by 9pm for a roster of electronic, rock, indie and punk by performers that, if they live even halfway up to their creative descriptions on the event's website, should provide a wildly entertaining evening. They include Stranded Horse ("silencing rooms and flooring jaws…throughout Europe"); The Inspector Cluzo ("excelling in crazy shows, high-energy chaos and the occasional smashing of drums"); Zenzile ("shadowy organs, bony guitars, ramping bass, the spirit of Bela Lugosi glides above Pawn Shop"); and Make the Girl Dance ("it begins with a mild thrill and it ends in a bloodbath"). RSVP here; be sure to type "RSVP CMJ 2011" in the "show" line.

Friday, October 21
Cider Week: Cider Pairing and Cooking Demonstration
In honor of autumn and the local bounty of the sweet, crunchy fruit, The Apple Project—sponsored by Glynwood, a Hudson Valley–based farming organization—brings Cider Week to NYC. The inaugural event, which takes place October 16 to 23, serves many purposes: introducing the delights of this oft-forgotten alcoholic beverage to New Yorkers, educating and encouraging Hudson Valley apple growers on diversifying their harvest and growing varieties that make for good drinking, and to promote the Hudson Valley Cider Route. From 10:30am to noon at the Union Square Greenmarket, watch neighborhood chef Robin Puskas make cabbage and apples braised in hard cider from Eve's Cidery. (The demonstration takes place next to the Eve's Cidery tent.) Food and cider samples will be offered, and freshly produced hard cider from Eve's can be purchased. 

Saturday, October 22
The Player Piano Player Pianshow 
On the third Saturday of every month, Player Piano, a long-form, Upright Citizens Brigade–trained improv group, puts a twist on free-form comedy by adding their own pianist to inspire the scenes. Expect acting, singing and nimble interactions among a cast of young men and one woman (who, incidentally, claim to spend part of their time partaking in "sandwich stealing"—so be forewarned if you're brown-bagging it). Beer is usually sold at the event for $2 (no word, however, on the chances of that getting nicked). The show, at Shetler Studios, starts at 8pm.

Sunday, October 23
Pop Souk Pop-up Marketplace 
New York City nightlife personality Ladyfag plays host to this two-floor shopping extravaganza at the Hiro Ballroom, and it's definitely not your grandmother's flea. Culture watchers speculate that stalls will resemble the dressing rooms of Lady Gaga, with goods from Ladyfag herself as well as Oak, Clemens and Patricia Field. From noon to 6pm, come prepared to be wowed by the new and gently used merchandise and the outrageous personalities behind them. NYC DJs will be spinning upstairs as visitors shop, get manis, indulge in treats and, of course, sip champagne. 

Monday, October 24
Dubday Mondays
In the late 1990s, an electronic dance music genre emerged in South London. By 2002, it was dubbed "dubstep," and Baltimore DJ Joe Nice was promoting the style in North America, where it continues to rocket through the music scene. For the past year, to honor this electronic explosion, DJ Uncle Tone and Feed the Starving Artists have been organizing Dubday Mondays, a weekly party at Bar 13, just off Union Square. Feed the Starving Artists serves as a promotional organization for events throughout the five boroughs and uses a portion of its profits to support up-and-coming artists. The beats start at 10pm. 

Tuesday, October 25
Stargazing on the High Line 
Glimpse the October night sky with the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, which is holding its final stargazing session of the year. The group, which sets up high-powered telescopes on the High Line, will help you discover what's sparkling beyond the New York City skyline. Weather permitting, the event will take place from 7:30 to 9:30pm. Follow @highlinenyc on Twitter for updates and to find out when the weekly gatherings will start up again next year.

related venues/(5)

  1. 1
    Santos Party House
    96 Lafayette St
    Manhattan – Chinatown
    NY 10013
  2. 2
    Union Square
    14th St to 17th St
    Manhattan – Union Square
    NY 10003
  3. 3
    Shetler Studios
    244 W 54th St
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  1. 4
    Hiro Ballroom (at the Maritime Hotel)
    88 Ninth Ave
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  2. 5
    The High Line
    Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10011

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