Free in NYC


by Christina Parrella, 10/24/2012

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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.

October 24–30

Wednesday, October 24
Fashion Illustration From Vision to Vogue
Izak Zenou has sketched colorful creations for tons of fashion campaigns touting companies like Chanel and Vera Wang. Zenou's charming images for Henri Bendel, of contemporary ladies clad in couture, are among his most recognizable. Join the illustrator, along with Jessica Dennis—president of marketing and e-commerce at Henri Bendel—and Michelle Edelman, CEO of Traffic Creative Management, for a discussion on the history of fashion illustration and the business behind it. Created digitally or using materials like watercolor or pencil and ink, fashion illustrations travel through many channels before they're published in advertisements and editorial layouts. After you brush up on your fashion-design knowledge, check out the rest of the Brooklyn Public Library's Fashion Illustration: A Contemporary Look exhibition, which celebrates the art of illustration through a series of displays, events and drawing sessions. The panel discussion begins at 7pm at the Central Library's Dweck Center. 

Thursday, October 25
Launch Party for Jami Attenberg and The Middlesteins
Join Brooklyn author Jami Attenberg, known for her sharp voice and expressive style of storytelling, at the launch party for her third novel The Middlesteins. The event starts at 7pm at Word in Brooklyn. After an introduction by fellow novelist Kate Christensen, Attenberg will read from her novel, participate in a Q&A session and sign copies of the book. The emotional tale, about a Midwestern family and the struggles resulting from their matriarch's obsession with food, earned a spot on Amazon's Best Books of the Month list for October. 

Friday, October 26
Gateway 40th Anniversary Historic Lantern Tour of Fort Wadsworth 
While the Gateway National Recreation Area officially marks its 40th anniversary on October 27, you can celebrate a day early by touring one of its oldest military establishments: New York Harbor mainstay Fort Wadsworth. Learn about the significance of the Staten Island site during a lantern tour that will bring you deep inside the dark tunnels and passageways of one of its batteries, Fort Tompkins (yes, a fort within a fort). Fort Tompkins is a pentagon with five tower fortresses, so there's a lot of ground to cover. The two-hour tour, which begins at 6pm, requires a reservation (make one by calling 718-338-3799). Tour organizers recommend visitors bring a flashlight. Not only is it dark, but according to legend, spirits from the past lurk around the former military stronghold. 

Saturday, October 27
Día de Los Muertos/Day of the Dead Celebration
Though Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) isn't officially until November 1, you can commemorate the Mexican holiday early at the National Museum of the American Indian. This colorful, family-friendly celebration features live music and dance performances as well as hands-on workshops. Create special Day of the Dead crafts like vibrant papier-mâché calaveras (skulls), and make your own version of a calaca—a smiling, ornately decorated white skull mask usually worn to symbolize revival after death. Later, visit the altar de muertos, designed to honor deceased ancestors with ofrendas (offerings). This specific altar will be decorated with ceramic skulls, masses of marigold flowers and calaveritas de azúcar (sugar skulls), customarily eaten by friends and relatives. The event runs from 1 to 4pm in the Diker Pavilion and first-floor lobby of the museum. During the annual Day of the Dead celebration, some believe that souls of the deceased return to visit living relatives, and festivities like this help welcome them. 

Sunday, October 28
Halloween in Central Park: Parade & Pumpkin Sail
Watch a fleet of pumpkins float on water in Central Park at Halloween: Parade and Pumpkin Sail, an annual display of the finest carved pumpkins in the City. Bring your carved creation to the Dana Discovery Center (at 110th Street) before 5:30pm and, at nightfall, watch your jack-o'-lantern glow on the water in a pageant of other pumpkins (and don't forget to dress yourself up, too). Before the sail on Harlem Meer, the Halloween fun begins with a costume parade led by Frankenstein. Also on the agenda: spooky story time, music and fun crafts for kids. The event starts at 4pm, and the pumpkin sail itself begins around 6pm. Interested in showcasing your own hollowed-out gourd? The rules dictate that it must be between five and 10 pounds.

Monday, October 29
Editors of The Onion: The Onion Book of Known Knowledge 
During the past two decades, satirical news organization The Onion has entertained readers with amusing headlines and willfully misleading stories. Their latest book continues that work. The Onion Book of Known Knowledge is The Onion's dry, humorous take on the encyclopedia, featuring oodles of unsubstantiated-yet-useful information. The entry for "kitchen" is a perfect example. Meet the editors at Barnes & Noble at 7pm. 

Tuesday, October 30
In Conversation: Barney Kulok and Joel Smith 
As Archtober winds down, one of the month's final events is a discussion between photographer Barney Kulok and Joel Smith (curator of photography at the Morgan Library & Museum) regarding the relationship between photography and architecture. Kulok recently released Building: Louis I. Kahn at Roosevelt Island, a book containing black-and-white photos of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park during its final stages of construction. He'll discuss his experience and sign copies of the book; the event begins at 6:30pm at Aperture Gallery and Bookstore. You can also visit the Louis Kahn–designed Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island during regular admission hours. Admission is free. 

related venues/(5)

  1. 1
    Brooklyn Public Library
    Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Ave
    Brooklyn – Park Slope
    NY 11238
  2. 2
    126 Franklin St
    Brooklyn – Greenpoint
    NY 11222
  3. 3
    National Museum of the American Indian—NY
    1 Bowling Green
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004
  1. 4
    Central Park
    Between Fifth Ave. and Central Park West
    Manhattan – Central Park
    NY 10024
  2. 5
    Aperture Gallery
    547 W 27th St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10001

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