Free This Week


by Max Geistfeld, 07/17/2013

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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.

July 17–23

Wednesday, July 17
CityParks PuppetMobile presents Little Red's Hood
Where: Mount Hope Playground
When: 10:30am
CityParks PuppetMobile puts on a performance of Little Red's Hood, a thoroughly modern retelling of the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood, in the Bronx. This variation features beautifully handcrafted marionettes and depicts the adventures of Little Red, a young girl who is constantly distracted by her cell phone while walking around New York City. When Little Red travels to visit her grandmother outside the City, she encounters a succession of quirky characters, such as the antagonist, Wulfric the Wolf, who continuously attempts to intercept her delivery of cupcakes. The all-ages show humorously explores our modern predisposition for distraction—and the benefits of being aware of our surroundings. 

Thursday, July 18 
Syfy Movies With a View 2013: Enter the Dragon
Where: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, Harbor View Lawn 
When: 6pm
Outdoor movies are one of the great pleasures of a NYC summer, and Syfy Movies With a View offers classic flicks set against a stunning backdrop—so grab a picnic blanket along with some grub and enjoy the comforts of a theater like none other. Thursday's feature is the seminal Enter the Dragon, a Bruce Lee headliner that was the actor's last movie. The film revolves around a kung fu competition held at the island redoubt of a powerful drug lord, who Lee, playing a martial arts master, wants to take to justice. The film's fight scenes are renowned as masterpieces of martial arts choreography, and Lee is magnetic in the main role. Arrive early to get a good spot on the lawn and watch the sun set; before the film, DJ Hahn Solo entertains the crowd beginning at 6pm.  

Friday, July 19
Uniqlo Free Friday Nights at MoMA
Where: MoMA
When: 4–8pm
Uniqlo Free Friday Nights at MoMA give visitors the opportunity to see the museum's stunning collection and special exhibitions for no cost. And the shows currently on view are quite heady. A massive retrospective on Le Corbusier—MoMA's first—gives new insight on the French architect's wide-ranging work and influence. Another program surveys the recently acquired work of 19 photographers whose experiments, portraits and politically inspired images reveal trends and innovations in the field. And the popular Rain Room installation features a downpour that starts and ends in response to visitors' movements; check it out before it closes July 28. Although admission to the museum is free, tickets are required. 

Saturday, July 20
Conservatory Garden Tour
Where: Conservatory Garden, Central Park
When: 11am–12:30pm
While the City is renowned for its urban attractions, it also has a good number of horticultural destinations. On Saturday, you can explore one of those idylls, Central Park's Conservatory Garden. The garden, a quiet refuge accessed through an entrance gate on Fifth Avenue, is a showpiece of horticultural skill and the park's only formal garden. The area is divided into three sections, each of which displays a distinct style: Italian, French and English. The tours are given by the gardeners who work here, and their understanding of the plantings and landscape composition helps visitors savor the garden's artistry. Reservations aren't necessary for the tours, which meet at the Vanderbilt Gate (Fifth Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets) and last about 75 minutes. 

Sunday, July 21
Laughter in the Park 2013
Where: Holley Plaza, Washington Square Park
When: 2–4pm
Everyone needs a good laugh now and then, and this free show delivers that medicine to the masses. This is the sixth year of the event series, started by the nonprofit organization NY Laughs, whose mission is to make comedy accessible by taking it from inside the clubs to the great outdoors. The numerous benefits of this include no cover charges and no drink minimums, not to mention the pleasures of watching both seasoned and emerging performers do their shtick. Events in past years have featured comics such as Anthony Jeselnik, Amy Schumer and Hannibal Buress when they were on the way up.

Monday, July 22 
Literary BFFs at McNally Jackson With Veronica Gonzalez Peña and Ben Schrank
Where: McNally Jackson
When: 7pm
In McNally Jackson's ongoing Literary BFFs series, two longtime literary comrades talk about their recent work. At this event, author Veronica Gonzalez Peña celebrates the release of her novel The Sad Passions by discussing it with author and publisher Ben Schrank. The story explores the effect of a mother's mental illness on her four daughters, and the narrative has garnered praise from the Los Angeles Times and was named a book of the week by During the conversation, Gonzalez Peña and Schrank will explore the themes of the book and the craft of writing. 

Tuesday, July 23
Stargazing on The High Line 
Where: The High Line, 14th Street Passage or just south of The Standard Hotel
When: 8:30–10:45pm
Every Tuesday, members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York bring their telescopes and other astronomical gear to look closely at the celestial bodies above. It is revelatory to see the moon, planets and star formations in magnified detail in the nighttime sky. The experience can be a very necessary tonic for awakening a sense of wonder and putting things in perspective, and the High Line setting only adds to the enchantment. Weather permitting, viewing sessions begin at dusk. The event gathers both newbies and seasoned stargazers, making a grand setting for conversation, learning about astronomy and figuring out if NYC truly is the center of the universe. 

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1
    Furman and Old Fulton Sts
    Multiple Locations
    NY 11201
  2. 2
    The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA
    11 W. 53rd St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 3
    Conservatory Garden
    Fifth Ave and 105th St
    Manhattan – Central Park
    NY 10029
  1. 4
    Washington Square Park
    W 4th St to Waverly Pl
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
    NY 10003
  2. 5
    McNally Jackson
    52 Prince St.
    Manhattan – NoLIta
    NY 10012
  3. 6
    The High Line
    Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10011

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