Free in NYC
by Alyssa Grossman, 05/02/2012
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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, May 2
Dan Rather: Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News
Dan Rather is no stranger to controversy and confrontation. An unstoppable dedication to revealing the truth at all costs is what gives the award-winning journalist a story to tell. His latest memoir, Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News, describes top stories in a way only the former CBS reporter and anchor could recount them. Career standouts include rallying against CBS's initial avoidance of Abu Ghraib coverage and his dismissal from the network after fallout from a report on George W. Bush's National Guard service. The book also touches upon Rather's predictions for the future of journalistic coverage. On May 2 at 7pm, the Barnes & Noble at Broadway and West 82nd Street hosts Rather for a discussion about his book, which comes out on May 1.
Thursday, May 3
The Target Free Thursdays performance series at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center continues its run of innovative programming at 8:30pm on May 3. Lindigo hails from the French island of Réunion, located in the Indian Ocean, just east of Madagascar's coast. The group's sound—a mix of Madagascarian polyphonies (multiple independent melodies) and the island's traditional genre maloya (Creole singing accompanied by percussion)—makes for a highly demanding and refreshingly unique performance. After more than 150 shows, Lindigo takes the stage for their NYC debut.
Friday, May 4
Bike Expo New York
Get ready for the TD Five Boro Bike Tour on May 6 with three days of free cycling entertainment, activities and giveaways. Get an intro to bicycle touring with Eastern Mountain Sports, learn to conquer a frustrating commute from blogger Bike Snob NYC and preview summer riding fashion with Momentum magazine. Free classes, cycling history lessons and author discussions round out the lineup. Events take place from May 3 to 5 at Pier 36.
Saturday, May 5
Ryan Visitor Center Grand Reopening
Celebrate the completion of a three-year restoration project at Floyd Bennett Field's William Fitts Ryan Visitor Center. The building is finally prepped to take guests back to the 1930s, when it served as the terminal for the City's first municipal airport—just in time to honor Gateway National Recreation Area's 40th anniversary, in October. Inside, you'll find a touch screen that plays newsreels from the period, watercolor panels of the era's transportation methods and a replica of an aircraft built to scale by skilled volunteers. On May 5 and 6, learn about Floyd Bennett Field's past as a naval air station and enjoy contests, dancing and kids' activities. The festivities take place from 9am to 5pm on both days.
Sunday, May 6
Irish Arts Center NYC Dance Festival
Riverside Park's Summer on the Hudson series kicks off with the 11th-annual Irish Arts Center NYC Dance Festival, a full day of Irish entertainment. From 1 to 8pm, take in performances from local and national troupes, drop in on a dance class to learn some basic steps, peruse offerings from Irish craft vendors and join a singing circle, music sessions and Irish language classes. Kids can visit the children's tent for face painting and crafts.
Monday, May 7
Garden Tour, Teardrop Park
Situated among high-rises in Lower Manhattan, Teardrop Park is an unlikely site for a quiet oasis. Yet this Battery Park City green space manages to serve as an urban escape for everyone. Landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh incorporated lush greenery, striking artwork and rocks carved perfectly for sitting down to read, as well as a slide, sandy areas and water features for cooling down on a hot summer day for the younger visitors. On May 7, join a horticulturist for a guided tour of the park and discover innovations in organic gardening at the public spot. The tour leaves from the rock wall at 12:30pm.
Tuesday, May 8
A Window on Nature: Art of Asuka Hishiki
Asuka Hishiki's vibrant watercolor paintings play to the interests of children and adults alike. Inside Central Park's Arsenal Gallery, you'll find plantlike insects, such as a caterpillar growing mushrooms from its body, and portraits of vegetables, both part of the A Window on Nature: Art of Asuka Hishiki exhibition. Among Hishiki's inspirations for such creations are the work of notable 18th-century naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian, reference books the artist read as a kid and produce from NYC Greenmarkets. The 35-plus works will be on display through June 6.