Free in NYC


by Christina Parrella, 05/30/2012

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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.

May 30–June 5

Wednesday, May 30 
Fashion, A–Z
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 second 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 Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent. Admission to The Museum at FIT is always free.

Thursday, May 31
Lawrence Schiller: Marilyn & Me
Fifty years ago, a young Brooklyn-born photojournalist captured Marilyn Monroe during a very intimate swimming pool scene for her final, never-finished film Something's Got to Give. Shot months before her death, Lawrence Schiller's photos of the iconic star—more than two thirds of which have never or rarely been published—will be on display at Steven Kasher Gallery through June 30. A public reception and book signing (of Schiller's hot-off-the-presses book of the same name) will take place from 6 to 8pm on May 31.

Friday, June 1
Howl! Festival 
The ninth-annual Howl! Festival begins with a group reading of "Howl," the 1955–1956 Allen Ginsberg poem that inspired the happening, at 4:30pm in Tompkins Square Park. This tradition and celebration honors the East Village's long tradition of attracting people with creative tendencies and includes poetry, public art, live music, performances, carnival games for kids and more. For background on the poem that has come to define the Beat Generation (and for some of their New York City haunts), read "Snap Your Fingers, Say Howl!," our article on the 2010 festival.

Saturday, June 2
Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum
Thanks to Target, admission to the Brooklyn Museum is free from 5 to 11pm on the first Saturday of every month, providing the opportunity to see a wealth of art exhibitions and enjoy special activities sure to please even the most discerning culture vultures. The theme of the June 2 edition of the monthly event is Brooklyn Block Party and features music performances (Cuban with hints of jazz, funk and Brazilian sounds courtesy of Son de Madre, and West African rhythms blended with funk, jazz and soul supplied by Zongo Junction), the documentary film Hands to the Sky (about outdoor house music parties) and even tarot card readings and makeovers. Attendees can also have their portraits taken by street-style photo legends like Jamel Shabazz. 

Sunday, June 3
A three-block stretch of Orchard Street on the Lower East Side will turn into an urban backyard—literally—replete with Astroturf and picnic tables courtesy of DayLife. This one-day event celebrates the vibrancy of the neighborhood, so expect Boho-art and music, as well as trendy food and shopping, with merchandise sold directly out of modern pushcarts, an homage to the history of the Lower East Side. Ping-Pong tables and a skateboarding ramp help round out the plethora of activities. 

Monday, June 4
Flow.12, a two-part environmental art exhibition—presented by the Randall's Island Park Alliance, The Bronx Museum of the Arts and Made Event—features five new site-specific installations by a diverse group of artists. The artwork will be on view along the southeastern shoreline of Randall's Island Park all summer long. The pieces make their debut on June 2 during Go With the Flow, an event during which Randalls Island will also be celebrating the opening of the newly restored 103rd Street Footbridge. From 10am to noon, enjoy music, snacks, farm-to-table and nature activities, and tennis, soccer and dance lessons for kids.

Tuesday, June 5
Space Program: Mars 
Artist Tom Sachs has created a dynamic sculptural installation in the Park Avenue Armory's 55,000-square-foot drill hall that simulates a live mission to the Red Planet, complete with launch platforms, a mission control center and a Martian landscape, all meticulously crafted from basic materials. Sachs and his team of 13 "lift off" to Mars several times throughout their residency at the Armory, through June 17, and demonstrate such procedures, tasks and rituals as planetary excursions, walking on the surface of Mars, the collection of scientific samples and photographing the surrounding landscape. Admission is free on Tuesdays from 4 to 7pm. 

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    New York Botanical Garden
    2900 Southern Blvd.
    Bronx – Bedford Park
    NY 10458
  2. 2
    Steven Kasher Gallery
    521 W 23rd St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  3. 3
    Tompkins Square Park
    Ave. A between 7th and 10th Sts.
    Manhattan – East Village
  1. 4
    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11238
  2. 5
    Park Avenue Armory
    643 Park Ave
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10065
  3. 6
    Randall's Island Park
    East and Harlem Rivers
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10035

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