Free This Week


by Alyssa Grossman, 11/28/2012

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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.

November 28–December 4

Wednesday, November 28
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting 
It doesn't get much more "iconic NYC Christmas" than the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, towering above the ice rink below. Things get festive on November 28, when thousands of revelers will fill the area for the lighting of this signature Norway spruce. Beginning at 7pm, catch holiday-themed performances from a star-studded guest list, including Rod Stewart, CeeLo Green, Il Volo, Chris Mann, Victoria Justice and Brooke White. When the switch is flipped on that Swarovski star–topped tree wrapped in 30,000-plus energy-efficient LED lights, expect plenty of "oohs" and "ahs" from the crowd. If you can't make it to the big event, you can see the tree (and snap plenty of photos of it) through January 7. 

Thursday, November 29
Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Lincoln Center Inside Out: An Architectural Account
Lincoln Center's 11 organizations—among them Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Ballet—span 16.3 acres, showcasing striking examples of urban architecture throughout the Upper West Side campus. Much of Lincoln Center's current design is owed to the architecture and design talents of Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro. The project began in 2006 with the expansion of The Juilliard School, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall and The School of American Ballet, creating a more accessible space for Lincoln Center's many events and visitors. At 7pm at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper East Side, meet the three responsible for this transformation and celebrate their newly released book, Lincoln Center Inside Out, a documentation of the project told through images, drawings, text and renderings. 

Friday, November 30
Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest
If you think waking up at 5am to snag the best Black Friday prices sounds like a challenge, try packaging up some of your strangest-shaped gifts in record time, while competing against other world-class gift-wrappers. Gaze in amazement at contestants' wrapping, taping and paper-cutting skills and pick up some tips for your own present preparation on November 30 at the Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest, at 8:30am at Celsius in Bryant Park. Eight contestants are in the hunt for a $10,000 prize and holiday bragging rights. And these gifts are set to put square-shaped presents to shame—everything from gumball machines to a backyard play set were in the mix during last year's competition. 

Saturday, December 1
Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum's popular first-Saturday program ushers in December with a night celebrating the institution's latest exhibition, GO: a community-curated open studio project, which showcases the creations of Brooklyn-based artists. The evening of borough pride kicks off at 5pm with a performance by 11-member group Underground System Afrobeat. Afterward, drop into documentary film screenings, discussions, art projects and music and dance performances from talented locals. Note: some programs require tickets, which are available for free an hour prior to the starting time. 

Sunday, December 2
December Picture Book Bonanza
Literary artistry takes center stage at Books of Wonder's December Picture Book Bonanza. The event brings some of the best in the picture-book world to the Flatiron District reading space, giving young bookworms a chance to mingle with the authors and illustrators who created their favorite tales. Kids and their parents can learn more about the featured books from their creators and take home a signed copy of any of the 11 titles. Participating authors and illustrators and their books include: Lane Smith, author and illustrator of Abe Lincoln's Dream; Michelle Knudsen, author of Big Mean Mike; Melissa Sweet, illustrator of Spike, the Mixed-up Monster; Susan Hood, author of Spike, the Mixed-up Monster, Just Say Boo! and The Tooth Mouse; Douglas Florian, author of Shiver Me Timbers! and author and illustrator of Poem Runs: Baseball Poems and Paintings and UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings; Corey Rosen Schwartz, author of The Three Ninja Pigs; James Howe, author of Otter and Odder: A Love Story; and Bryan Collier, illustrator of I, Too, Am America. The event takes place from 1 to 3pm. 

Monday, December 3
Bike Repair Class: Basics 
Traveling by train, bus and taxi has its conveniences, but New York City's bikers know that sometimes the best way to get around is on two wheels. Learn how to keep them turning during a workshop hosted by the environmentally conscious team behind grassroots organization Time's Up!. Free classes start with basics at the beginning of each month and build up to more complex fixes by the end of each four-week series—so December 3 is the perfect time to get started. After the first class, participants will know their way around the parts of a bike and the tools needed for fixes, plus understand when repairs are needed in the first place. Changing tires, fixing flats and must-know tips for purchasing a bike are also in the lesson plan. The workshop starts at 6:30pm in the basement of ABC No Rio on the Lower East Side. 

Tuesday, December 4
Toe-Tappin' Tuesdays – Dixieland Jazz with the Gotham Jazzmen
Using your "library voice" doesn't apply when the Gotham Jazzmen take the stage at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The group's five members deliver Dixieland jazz inside the Bruno Walter Auditorium during a lunchtime set. Expect an upbeat tribute to the New Orleans–born, early-1900s style, with dance-worthy classics from the Jazz Age performed on the piano, clarinet, cornet, trombone and drums. 

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    Rockefeller Center
    45 Rockefeller Plaza
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10111
  2. 2
    W 42nd St
    Manhattan – Midtown West
  3. 3
    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11238
  1. 4
    Books of Wonder
    18 W. 18th St.
    Manhattan – Flatiron District
    NY 10011
  2. 5
    ABC No Rio
    156 Rivington St
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
    NY 10002
  3. 6
    Barnes & Noble 86th & Lexington Ave
    150 E. 86th St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  1. 7
    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
    111 Amsterdam Ave
    Manhattan – Upper West Side

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