Free in NYC


by Christina Parrella, 08/22/2012

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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 22–28

Wednesday, August 22
US Open Qualifying Tournament
Watch more than 100 hopefuls as they compete for qualifying spots in the US Open during the second day of this four-day tournament. The US Open Qualifying Tournament pits 128 very determined women and men against each other for the final 32 entries in the singles draws, where they'll take on the sport's stars a few days later. Players will duel it out on the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center's outer field courts, not at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Get there before the gates open at 10am to secure a seat.

Thursday, August 23
Two Boots 25th Anniversary Concert
Two Boots celebrates 25 years of Cajun-infused Italian dining with a party only this beloved pizza pioneer could host. The Two Boots 25th Anniversary Concert features music, art, dance, poetry and—you guessed it—free pizza. Actor Luis Guzmán serves as host, and Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, a pop-reggae act that was displaced during their native country's civil war, headlines the show. They'll be joined by hip-hop jazz group Mamarazzi and Lady Circus, a troupe of aerialists, acrobats and costumed stilt dancers. Other entertainment includes live painting and a mini merry-go-round. The fun starts at 5pm at East River Park.

Friday, August 24
3rd-Annual Etsy Craft Party
Get crafty with Etsy at the third-annual edition of this event, where, with a little instruction, you'll become a master of DIY accessories in no time. Between 6 and 8pm, partake in a wide variety of hands-on projects—including stenciling, postcard-making and painting NYC-inspired illustrations onto bottles (bring an empty one)—at Brooklyn Bridge Park. While Etsy supplies the instruction, Raya Brass Band, a Balkan music group, will supply the sound. Kimchi Taco and The Red Hook Lobster Pound will be on hand, and CoolHaus will be there with its irresistible ice-cream sandwiches—so bring cash.

Saturday, August 25
Afro-Punk Festival 2012
For the past seven years, the Afro-Punk Festival has morphed into a subcultural Brooklyn institution of its own, celebrating music, art and skateboarding and all their factions. The festival, at Commodore Barry Park, spans the weekend, and Saturday's lineup features R&B songstress Erykah Badu and Queens hip-hop group Das Racist. Watch skilled skaters kickflip at Nike's Battle for the Streets competition, judged by pro skater Paul Rodriguez and New York native and pro BMX rider Nigel Sylvester. The day's events take place from 10am to 9pm.

Sunday, August 26
36th-Annual Brighton Jubilee Festival
Thousands flock to Brighton Beach's sun-drenched shores to enjoy the sand, the sea and the area's vibrant Russian flair. The Brighton Jubilee Festival showcases the neighborhood's Eastern European roots, but also celebrates cultures from far beyond the Baltic Sea. Taking place on Brighton Beach Avenue between Coney Island Avenue and Corbin Place, the event features hundreds of vendors, entertainment, merchandise, rides for kids and various ethnic eats. Browse through antiques and vintage duds, or dine on grilled meats and other specialties. The festival runs from 10am to 5pm.

Monday, August 27
Movie Night in Astoria Park: Footloose
No dancing allowed? That's what Chicago teen Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) is told when he moves to a small Midwestern town dominated by the ultraconservative Reverend Shaw Moore (John Lithgow). McCormack, with the help of friends, makes it his mission to bring dancing back to the town—and to give his classmates the chance to have a senior prom. Grab a blanket and head to Astoria Park to watch this '80s classic. The film starts at 8:30pm.

Tuesday, August 28
Summer on the Hudson: Pilates in the Park
If you've been slacking on your summer workout, get a jump-start on fall fitness with a free session of Pilates in the Park. This total-body workout will strengthen your core while toning your body, rather than bulking up muscle. You will improve your strength and increase your flexibility and stability as well. The hour-long workout begins at 6:30pm in Riverside Park South. Bring a mat and remember to wear comfortable clothing (stretching in jeans is not recommended).

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
    Flushing Meadows Corona Park
    Queens – Flushing
    NY 11368
  2. 2
    East River Park
    Houston Street at FDR Drive
    New York – Lower East Side
  3. 3
    Brooklyn Bridge Park
    334 Furman St.
    Brooklyn – DUMBO
    NY 11201
  1. 4
    Commodore Barry Park
    Navy St
    NY 11201
  2. 5
    Brighton Beach
    Neptune Ave
    Brooklyn – Brighton Beach
    NY 11235
  3. 6
    Astoria Park
    Enter at 21st Ave and 23rd St
    Queens – Astoria
    NY 11102
  1. 7
    Riverside Park South
    Henry Hudson Parkway at W. 70th St.
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023

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