Free in NYC
by Mallory Passuite, 12/14/2011
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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.
Wednesday, December 14
Meet the Filmmakers: Meryl Streep and Phyllida Lloyd
The Iron Lady, the latest film from director Phyllida Lloyd, is a biopic of renowned UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Starring Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, the movie considers the price Thatcher paid for power. Streep and Lloyd will discuss The Iron Lady at the Apple Store in SoHo, beginning at 6pm. See the preview for the film, which will open in select US theaters on December 30, at trailers.apple.com.
Thursday, December 15
Carsten Höller: Experience
Whereas many of the New Museum's featured artists may be described as "experimental," Carsten Höller has truly earned the label. With a doctorate in biology, the Brussels-born artist worked as a scientist until 1993, when he quit to focus on art, and his early career remains a definite part of his craft. Höller's New Museum exhibition, his first New York survey, includes pieces from his 18-year career plus a new light installation, a sensory-deprivation pool and a twisting, 40-foot-high, 102-foot-long slide—built from transparent plastic—that extends from the institution's fourth floor to its second (and involved removing portions of the building's floors and ceilings). Visitors are able to ride the slide; the museum offers helmets and elbow pads. Admission to the New Museum is free on Thursdays from 7 to 9pm.
Friday, December 16
The Great Designers, Part One
With exhibitions at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) coming and going, it's easy to overlook the institution's permanent collection, which is wonderfully comprehensive. The first of a two-part showcase will present 50 masterpieces chosen from the 50,000 garments and accessories in the assemblage and include stunning pieces from Gareth Pugh, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Gianni Versace, Prada and Valentino. Admission to The Museum at FIT is always free.
Saturday, December 17
The Beatles: Hidden Gallery
Considering his storied, 45-year career in photo and film (all pre-digital), it's understandable that Paul Berriff might have misplaced something significant among stacks of negatives. While sorting through his attic recently, he discovered a series of shots he took in 1963 and 1964 of The Beatles, just before their prime. The collection includes more than 30 candid, never-before-seen images of the Fab Four; Berriff snapped the pics just before The Beatles left for their first tour of the United States, which included two shows at Carnegie Hall, where the collection is on view. Admission to The Beatles: Hidden Gallery is free, although tickets are required. Pick them up at the Carnegie Hall box office beginning at 10am on December 17, which happens to be the last day you can see the exhibition.
Sunday, December 18
Ice-skating at Citi Pond at Bryant Park
Ice-skating is synonymous with New York City winters, and the holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and practice your double axels. Citi Pond at Bryant Park is the centerpiece of Bryant Park's winter season (which also includes its annual Holiday Shops). The rink offers free admission for ice-skating, and if you bring your own skates, your turn around the ice won't cost you a dime. (Should you need to use any of the high-quality rental skates, however, it'll run you $14.)
Monday, December 19
Paul Cox Knives Collection Viewing
Although one may not immediately associate "careful craftsman" with "biker," Paul Cox unites these identities. The New York–based motorcycle enthusiast and artist welds metal, assembles engines, carves leather seats (for motorcycles and, more recently, the custom barber chairs at the Kiehl's spa, on the Upper East Side) and handcrafts intricate knives made from special steels, exotic woods and fossilized woolly mammoth tusks. A selection of his specialty knives will be on view at Fitzgerald Jewelry in Williamsburg through January 31.
Tuesday, December 20
Evening Satsang Meditation
Unwind from holiday madness with Siddha Yoga, a Hindu practice that focuses on finding inner peace through self-discovery. The Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in New York offers free satsang meditation on Tuesdays. The sessions include chants of ancient mantras (with traditional Indian music, performed live), group discussions of Siddha teachings and guided meditation. Achieve peace of mind at 7pm, but note that first-timers are encouraged to come 15 to 20 minutes early for orientation.