Free This Week


by Erin O'Hara, 02/13/2013

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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.

February 13–19

Wednesday, February 13
Candice Kumai Discussion and Signing
Where: The New York Public Library, Mid-Manhattan Branch
When: 6:30–8:30pm
Candice Kumai began her on-screen cooking career as a contestant on the first season of Bravo's beloved competition show Top Chef. Since then, the former model has built an empire advising people on how to stay sexy and lean by cooking healthy, satisfying meals. Kumai hosts her own show on Lifetime called Cook Yourself Thin, is a regular judge on Iron Chef America and is the author of such books as Cook Yourself Sexy and Pretty Delicious. The works are full of guiltless recipes for decadent meals. Kumai modifies ingredients for favorites like mac and cheese, sliders, pumpkin pie pancakes and eggs Benedict to make them healthier but still supremely tasty. Join the author for a discussion and book signing.

Thursday, February 14
Whisk(e)y Festival
Where: Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit
When: 5–8pm
Valentine's Day is cherished by some and reviled by others—but no matter where you fall on the emotional spectrum about the holiday, the prospect of free whiskey should warm the cockles of your heart. Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit is hosting its first-ever Whisk(e)y Fest. Bring your V-Day date for a whiskey tasting before dinner or go with friends and raise a glass to the single (malt) life. If you have other plans, you don't have to miss out on the free-flowing browns. The festival takes place all month long, so you can warm up with a different whiskey each night in February. Needless to say, this event is only for adults 21 and older.

Friday, February 15
Shape Up NYC: Pilates
Where: Prospect Park Audubon Center
When: noon–1pm
It's easy to allow exercise to fall by the wayside during the winter months. Shape Up NYC exists to eradicate any and all weak-willed excuses by offering free exercise classes for all skill levels, every day of the week, in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. On Fridays, try Pilates, a core-strengthening exercise technique that helps improve balance and flexibility, build muscle strength and increase body control and awareness. The class is geared toward beginners, but those with experience will still get a good workout. If you've wondered what Pilates is all about, this is your chance to get expert instruction without forking over a high fee. Participants are asked to bring their own mat.

Saturday, February 16
Lunar New Year Parade & Festival Celebration
Where: Flushing, Queens
When: 11am
If you're looking to ring in the Lunar New Year with a bang, then Flushing is the place you'll want to be. The parade, now in its 17th year, begins at 37th Avenue and Union Street and ends at Queens Crossing. It attracts throngs to this celebration of Asian culture that's packed with a joyous cacophony of music, fireworks, steel drummers and dragon dancers. This year's event welcomes the year of the snake, considered to be the most complex and intense of the Chinese zodiac signs. Snake years are said to be challenging but also rewarding, and the snake is sometimes viewed as the yin to the yang of the dragon year that it follows. The indoor festival takes place at Queens Crossing (136-17 39th Ave., 2 fl.) and will feature performances and a bazaar. Note: 7 train service is limited on weekends. You can take the N to Queensboro Plaza and pick up the 7 train there, or take the E, F or R trains to Roosevelt Avenue and transfer to the 7. The next day, Manhattan holds its festivities in Chinatown.

Sunday, February 17
Brian Chase and Robbie Lee
Where: Manhattan Inn
When: 10pm
Brian Chase, drummer of the Grammy-nominated indie rock group Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is an eclectic musician who also ventures into jazz and experimental territory with his solo and duo projects collaborating with other musicians. On February 17, he's performing an avant-garde set with Robbie Lee at Manhattan Inn. The music is ambient, resonating and at times improvised, but always captivating. Despite the name, Manhattan Inn is located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Monday, February 18
Citi Pond Winter Film Festival: Chicago
Where: Citi Pond at Bryant Park
When: 7pm
On Monday nights through the end of February, you can glide around while watching your favorite flicks at the Winter Film Festival. Get a little exercise, breathe in some fresh air and watch the Best Picture Oscar-winning classic musical Chicago, starring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, Richard Gere and John C. Reilly. The lively songs will keep you on your toes. Skating is gratis when you bring your own skates (skate rental is $14); bring a lock for free use of the lockers as well. If you don't wish to skate, bundle up, bring chairs or a blanket, and enjoy the film from the Upper Terrace.

Tuesday, February 19
Tuesdays at Wave Hill
Where: Wave Hill
When: 9am–4:30pm
This sprawling garden overlooking the Hudson River in the Bronx is free to the public every Tuesday. Most of the plants and flowers are dormant this time of year, but Wave Hill hosts some spectacular programming, especially for the little ones. First, at 1pm, join Yoga for Bliss for a children's fitness and movement class. The instructors will combine stretching, yoga and breathing techniques as well as aerobic exercises outdoors (if the weather allows). Then, from 2 to 4pm, kids can wind down and get creative with an art workshop. Afterward, put on your hat and gloves for a stroll around the grounds, since the winter views of the Hudson are always breathtaking.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    The New York Public Library Steven A. Schwarzman Building
    Fifth Ave
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10017
  2. 2
    Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit
    5 W 19th St
    Manhattan – Flatiron District
  3. 3
    Prospect Park Audubon Center
    Prospect Park
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11225
  1. 4
    Manhattan Inn
    632 Manhattan Ave
    Brooklyn – Greenpoint
  2. 5
    Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
    Bryant Park, 42nd St. and 6th Ave.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10018
  3. 6
    Wave Hill
    675 W. 252nd St.
    Bronx – Riverdale
    NY 10471

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