Free in NYC


by Christina Parrella, 07/31/2012

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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.

August 1–7

Wednesday, August 1
Perpetual Energy 
In 1982, the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition informally created an outdoor sculpture showcase as a way for artists to express their love of the art form; the event has since flourished into a long-standing tradition. As a celebration of the show's 30th anniversary, the Coalition has organized showcases at East River State Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Perpetual Energy, the theme of this year's exhibition, alludes to the abundant and unfettered energy that surrounds us in nature. Sculptures from the artists—most local, including Beth Bailis, Richard Brachman and Tone Johansen—also pay tribute to environmental and social sustainability. The opening reception for the Brooklyn Bridge Park show, which opens on August 1 in the Main Street area of the park, is on August 4 from 1 to 5pm; the exhibition runs through September 15. 

Thursday, August 2
Rumble on the River
Are you ready to rumble? Or at least ready to witness some extreme martial arts on Manhattan's west side? If so, head to Hudson River Park's Pier 84, in the shadow of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, for Rumble on the River—an event that brings the ancient sport of Muay Thai kickboxing to New York City. Amateur fighters from the NYC area will battle in the ring during this no-holds-barred contest; feet, elbows and knees are all in play for this kickboxing showdown. The action starts at 7pm. 

Friday, August 3
Celebrate Brooklyn!: Wild Flag and Mission of Burma
Wild Flag, a band whose lineup includes Sleater-Kinney/Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein and Helium vet Mary Timony, will descend on the Prospect Park Bandshell for a performance, accompanied by Mission of Burma, a long-established avant-garde post-punk quartet from Boston. Ted Leo, a staple of the free-summer-music scene, will open the show for the exuberant indie rockers. Doors open at 6pm; the show starts at 7pm. (A $3 donation is suggested but not required.) 

Saturday, August 4
Dance Theatre of Harlem 2012 Street Festival
This isn't your typical street festival. While local food and retail vendors will be on hand, the Dance Theatre of Harlem 2012 Street Festival will bring pirouettes, demi-pliés and relevés to the streets in an all-day celebration of ballet and movement. The Dance Theatre of Harlem has become a backbone of the City's sprawling and diverse dance arts community, especially for African-Americans. Enjoy performance showcases from these devoted student ballerinas, as well as other special guest artists. The festival also promotes healthy lifestyles among dancers and families and offers health screenings for families. Author and journalist Michaela Angela Davis hosts the event, which runs from noon to 7pm on West 152nd Street between Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenues. 

Sunday, August 5
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is an annual sporting and multicultural event held at Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park to celebrate the fifth day of the fifth moon of the lunar calendar. In addition to serving ethnic foods and showcasing performances, the two-day festival hosts more than 170 dragon boat teams from across the United States and Canada, making it one of the largest dragon boat festivals in the United States. Depending on the division, teams compete for cash prizes and other awards. The event takes place on August 4 and 5. Sunday's entertainment includes traditional Chinese dance (10:30am) and original music and pop and jazz classics by composer Napua Davoy (noon). Racing begins at 9am; the day's happenings end at about 5pm.

Monday, August 6 
Coney Island Flicks on the Beach: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Skip the packed indoor theaters and outrageous snack lines and take in a film alfresco in Coney Island. Cinephiles will enjoy watching Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol on a 40-foot screen on the beach with the Wonder Wheel off to the side, lighting up the night. In the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team are implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin and must go rogue to clear their name. The film begins at dusk; moviegoers should enter the beach at West 10th Street.

Tuesday, August 7 
Jim Marshall: The Rolling Stones and Beyond
Five decades ago, The Rolling Stones made their name in rock 'n' roll by challenging the genre's boundaries, weaving rhythm and blues into their sound and presenting themselves as countercultural icons. Today, they are still one of the biggest rock acts in history. Jim Marshall: The Rolling Stones and Beyond, at Steven Kasher Gallery, features more than 60 photos by Jim Marshall, including intimate moments with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and never-before-seen images captured during the Stones' 1972 US tour. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band and the 40th anniversary of that tour. The Stones photos are also featured in Marshall's new book, The Rolling Stones 1972. Also on display in the show are shots of Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash and Otis Redding, among other music icons. 

related venues/(4)

  1. 1
    Brooklyn Bridge Park
    334 Furman St.
    Brooklyn – DUMBO
    NY 11201
  2. 2
    Coney Island
    Surf Avenue
    Brooklyn – Coney Island
    NY 11224
  3. 3
    Steven Kasher Gallery
    521 W 23rd St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  1. 4
    Pier 84
    44th and West Sts
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10036

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