Free in NYC


by Staff, 11/30/2011

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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.

November 30–December 6

Wednesday, November 30
Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting
Mark the start of the holiday season on November 30 with the celebrated tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. The colorful and towering tree is a sight to behold, and the lighting ceremony, beginning at 7pm, always features celebrity guests, musical performances and more. This year, the ceremony will be cohosted by Today's Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie and will feature the talents of crooners Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé, Faith Hill and Justin Bieber. The tree can be seen from the ice-skating rink below and is a must-visit for anyone in NYC during the holidays.

Thursday, December 1
Bobby Flay Appearance
The Iron Chef America and Food Network celebrity shares the wit and wisdom behind his latest kitchen aid, Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook, starting at 7pm at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. Featuring a collection of recipes from Flay's Bar Americain restaurant chain, the book espouses a kind of literal homegrown pride, with a heavy emphasis on local ingredients. We're most excited to try the barbecued oysters with black pepper–tarragon butter, but we're not exactly going to turn down red snapper with plantains or Kentucky ham and ripe figs, either.

Friday, December 2
Next Wave Art
Through December 18, catch the arty part of BAM's annual Next Wave Festival. Well, all of Next Wave is arty, but the works here hew to a more traditional definition of the term, including pieces by French painter Jules de Balincourt, conceptual artist Rashid Johnson and old-school New York street artist Lee Quiñones, who you might remember from such films as Wild Style (1983), Style Wars (1984) and Blondie's video for "Rapture" (1981).

Saturday, December 3
Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum
Thanks to Target, admission to the Brooklyn Museum is free on the first Saturday of every month, providing the opportunity to see a wealth of art exhibitions sure to please even the most discerning culture vultures. Among the shows up now are Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, featuring works in a range of media by the likes of Annie Leibovitz, Félix González-Torres and Alice Neel; Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, focused on representations of the Jazz Age, including works by Edward Hopper and Alfred Stieglitz; and Eva Hesse Spectres 1960, a collection of the late artist's oil paintings.

Sunday, December 4
Not Your Standard Bingo
Leave it to the crew at André Balazs' Meatpacking destination to turn bingo into an activity you might actually enjoy. Every Sunday starting at 10:30pm, enjoy a special menu, prizes and a genial (read: bacchanal) party atmosphere, complete with themes, at The Standard Grill, in The Standard hotel. (Previously, those have included Occupy Bingo, Spice Girls Bingo and Glee Bingo.) Fill out your card, get yourself a drink—a strong one, to be sure, but sadly not for free—and play a game of chance. Call 212-645-4100 to RSVP.

Monday, December 5
Mock Your World
See comedy cutups at the Lower East Side's Rockwood Music Hall before they hit the bigger-time Off-Broadway in 2012 with two free performances, at 7pm on December 5 and 6. The musically astute Andrew Byrne, Lisa Rothauser, Marya Grandy, Bart Shatto and Robby Sharpe skewer sex and dating, The Devil Wears Prada and other New York–ish subjects with wit and alacrity. Note that this one probably isn't good for kids; the videos aren't safe for work, either, judging from the posts on College Humor and YouTube.

Tuesday, December 6
Walton Ford: I Don't Like to Look at Him, Jack. It Makes Me Think of That Awful Day on the Island.
Walton Ford exhibits nine new watercolor paintings at Paul Kasmin Gallery through December 23 that are both enormous and, as you'd expect from the arch wildlife artist, enormously detailed. The show takes its name from the 1933 Fay Wray King Kong flick—Wray utters the line with loathing when she confronts the beast in New York—which dovetails nicely with the three paintings of Kong exhibited in the show.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Rockefeller Center
    45 Rockefeller Plaza
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10111
  2. 2
    BAM - Brooklyn Academy of Music
    30 Lafayette Ave.
    Brooklyn – Downtown Brooklyn
    NY 11217
  3. 3
    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11238
  1. 4
    The Standard Grill
    848 Washington St.
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10014
  2. 5
    Rockwood Music Hall
    196 Allen St
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
  3. 6
    Paul Kasmin Gallery
    293 Tenth Ave
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10001

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