Free This Week


by Erin O'Hara, 03/06/2013

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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.

March 6–12

Wednesday, March 6
SciCafe: Green-Blooded Lizards and Malaria Genetics
Where: American Museum of Natural History
When: 6:30pm
SciCafe is a monthly series where science aficionados get together to learn about cutting-edge topics. The lively event is more like an intellectual nightclub than a classroom and features drinks (from the cash bar) and spirited discussions. This week, experts Susan Perkins, associate curator at the museum, and Chris Austin, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University, talk about their fascinating new work with lizards found only in New Guinea. The reptiles' bright green blood is thought to hold the key to the mysteries of many human diseases.

Thursday, March 7
Target Free Thursdays
Where: Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)
When: 11am–9pm
The Museum of Chinese in America brings Chinese art, history and culture to the public, with accessible and interactive exhibitions. Every Thursday, admission is free, courtesy of Target. Right now, explore MOCA's newest show, With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America. The exhibition tells the story of several generations of Chinese Americans, their contributions and challenges and the greater political context of the relationship between the Chinese and American governments. Also ongoing at the museum is the Chinatown Film Project, where 10 local filmmakers were asked to present their interpretation of Chinatown, a neighborhood that has been exhaustively illustrated (and, at times, misrepresented) by Hollywood. 

Friday, March 8
Free Admission at the Rubin Museum of Art
Where: Rubin Museum of Art
When: 6–10pm
The Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea features art and historical artifacts from the Himalayan region, especially Tibet. On Friday evenings, admission is free. Up now are Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection and Gateway to Himalayan Art, two ongoing exhibitions that address the institution's core subject. Other shows include The Place of Provenance, which explores the four distinct styles of Tibetan painting, and Modernist Art from India, a collection of artworks created after India won its independence. Living Shrines of Uyghur China showcases the work of New York photographer Lisa Ross, who captured poignant images of Muslim shrines in the Taklamakan Desert of northwestern China. After you've seen the exhibitions, enjoy a cocktail or meal (not free) in the relaxing K2 lounge. Happy hour, from 6 to 7pm, features specials like two-for-one beer, wine and well drinks.

Saturday, March 9
HSBC Children's Garden Family Day
Where: Queens Botanical Garden
When: 2–4pm
If you're itching for spring, visit the Queens Botanical Garden for a special sneak preview of its new HSBC Children's Garden. Starting this year, from spring through fall, the garden will allow children with memberships to plant and harvest their own vegetables, herbs and flowers—a rare opportunity in NYC. On Saturday, parents can take advantage of membership discounts, while kids can plant seeds, learn how to compost, do arts and crafts projects and win cool prizes. 

Sunday, March 10
Target Free Sundays
Where: The Studio Museum in Harlem
When: noon–6pm
The Studio Museum in Harlem offers free admission and special family programming on Sundays, thanks to Target. The institution showcases the work of artists of African ancestry from all over the world, as well as the history of Harlem, its culture and its prominent African-American residents. Catch Fore, a collection of works by 29 groundbreaking contemporary African-American artists from across the United States, on its last day at the museum. Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967 exhibits photographs, by legendary Harlem photographer Gordon Parks, of the Fontenelle family. The photos, originally taken for a Life magazine photo-essay, offer a rare glimpse of urban poverty in the late 1960s. Also on display is Harlem Postcards, an ongoing project that features artists' photographs of Harlem, which are printed as free, limited-edition postcards for visitors to take home.

Monday, March 11
Nancy Dwyer: Painting & Sculpture, 1982–2012
Where: Fisher Landau Center for Art
When: noon–5pm
See this exhibition of 30 years of avant-garde art by Nancy Dwyer, considered a core member of the Pictures Generation, a group of contemporary artists working in the 1970s and '80s whose work reproduced and appropriated images, graphics, text and themes, especially from media and advertising. Her fascinating work places words and images in interesting and unexpected contexts, at times emphasizing meaning and at other times completely altering it.

Tuesday, March 12
The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes
Where: The New York Public Library, Mid-Manhattan Branch
When: 6:30pm
The ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival presents a series of films that highlight the experiences of people living with what most would consider disabilities. The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes is a Swedish film, directed by Lena Koppel, about a self-centered man who gets a job working with a disabled persons' theater group. What begins as just a means of making a paycheck becomes a life-changing lesson.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    American Museum of Natural History
    Central Park West at 79th St.
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10024
  2. 2
    Museum of Chinese in America
    215 Centre St.
    Manhattan – multiple locations
    NY 10013
  3. 3
    Rubin Museum of Art
    150 W. 17th St.
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  1. 4
    Queens Botanical Garden
    43-50 Main St.
    Queens – Flushing
    NY 11355
  2. 5
    The Studio Museum in Harlem
    144 W. 125th St.
    Manhattan – Harlem
    NY 10027
  3. 6
    Fisher Landau Center for Art
    38-27 30th St.
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11101

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