Free This Week


by Christina Parrella, 05/08/2013

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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.

May 8–14

Wednesday, May 8
Lou Gramm and Scott Pitoniak: Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock 'n' Roll
Where: Barnes & Noble, Lexington Avenue and East 86th Street
When: 7pm
While the name Lou Gramm may not immediately resonate with you, the songs he's written likely will. As the lead vocalist for Foreigner, Gramm is responsible for penning '70s and '80s smash hits (and today's karaoke favorites) such as "Cold As Ice," "I Want to Know What Love Is" and "Urgent." In Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock 'n' Roll, Gramm details his rise to fame and 50-year music journey—from his roots as a music-loving youth in Rochester, New York, to a jet-setting rocker selling more than 70 million records worldwide. Gramm and coauthor Scott Pitoniak will discuss the memoir and later sign copies.

Thursday, May 9
Target Free Thursdays
Where: Museum of Chinese in America 
When: 11am–9pm
Every Thursday, admission to the Museum of Chinese in America in Lower Manhattan is complimentary, allowing visitors access to troves of Chinese art, history and culture. Currently, there are two exhibitions that show the relationship between the Chinese and American fashion worlds and their influence over the industry as a whole: Front Row: Chinese American Designers and Shanghai Glamour: New Women 1910s–40s. The former display explores the social and cultural impact made on fashion by Chinese American designers such as Derek Lam, Wayne Lee and Vera Wang. The latter tells the story of Shanghai allure through a 12-piece showcase of 20th-century Shanghai clothing sampled from three different constructs: femme fatale (glamour and danger), femme savante (educated new women) and femme du monde (society women). 

Friday, May 10
National Public Gardens Day
Where: Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum 
When: noon–4pm
With its stunning trees and flora-filled grounds, the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx is the perfect place to partake in National Public Gardens Day, a celebration launched in 2009 to promote public gardens and support their role as a resource for environmental awareness and education. Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum will open its doors for free house-and-garden tours throughout the day. The landmark home features period rooms, a stunning elliptical staircase at the entrance, floor-to-ceiling windows on the second floor and an airy conservatory that retains many of its original features. After you marvel at the architectural beauty inside the mansion, visit the exhibition The Age of Botanical Wonders, which features hand-painted steel engravings created for the 19th-century horticulture publication series Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London.

Saturday, May 11
Mother's Day Jewelry Workshop
Where: Morris-Jumel Mansion 
When: 1–2:30pm
Just in time for Mother's Day is a craft workshop in Washington Heights where kids can create handmade jewelry to give as presents to the special women in their lives the following day. Jeweler Miranda Nelli will teach children jewelry-making methods such as beading, knotting and crimping that allow for a well-crafted and irreplaceable gift. Children 6 and older are welcome to participate if accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required for this event; RSVP by calling 212-923-8008. 

Sunday, May 12
Water in Brooklyn's Folk Imagination: Story, Song and Dance
Where: Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge 
When: 2–4pm
Harborlore Festival is a monthlong celebration of water-themed cultural traditions (such as rituals, entertainment and demonstrations) that are practiced among Brooklyn's diverse immigrant communities. As part of the festival, Water in Brooklyn's Folk Imagination: Story, Song and Dance emphasizes the influence of water in historical folklore and the practices of Guyanese, Garifuna and Bangladeshi cultures. The fun includes a water vessel dance, folk-song performance and traditional storytelling about river monsters and magical fish. The activities take place on a barge docked in Red Hook, providing an appropriately aquatic ambience and expansive view of the Hudson River.

Monday, May 13 
Walk NYC: Willowbrook Park
Where: Willowbrook Park
When: noon–1pm
Willowbrook Park's sprawling expanse in Staten Island provides the perfect backdrop for a refreshing walk and a chance to discover budding springtime greenery and local wildlife. The hour-long trek is part of the Walk NYC program, which encourages participants to stay active and fit while enjoying the great outdoors. Those interested in participating should meet at the Carousel for All Children, located at the Eton Place entrance.

Tuesday, May 14 
Daniel Vaughn: The Prophets of Smoked Meat, with Anthony Bourdain
Where: Barnes & Noble, Union Square
When: 7pm
As a trailblazing barbecue blogger and the holder of perhaps the most enviable title in all of media, barbecue editor, Daniel Vaughn of Texas Monthly is a connoisseur of the 'cue. So it's unsurprising that No Reservations celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain tapped Vaughn for the first book release in Bourdain's new line at HarperCollins. Titled The Prophets of Smoked Meat, the work is an all-inclusive guide to Texas barbecue, complete with recipes from pitmasters, photos and stories from Vaughn's 10,000-mile road trip to unearth the best smoked-meat delights in the Lone Star State. Vaughn will discuss the book with Bourdain and later sign copies. Grab a bite to eat before the event, though, because the dialogue is sure to make you salivate. 

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Barnes & Noble 86th & Lexington Ave
    150 E. 86th St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  2. 2
    Museum of Chinese in America
    215 Centre St.
    Manhattan – multiple locations
    NY 10013
  3. 3
    Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
    895 Shore Rd.
    Bronx – Pelham Bay
    NY 10464
  1. 4
    Morris-Jumel Mansion
    65 Jumel Terr.
    Manhattan – Washington Heights
    NY 10032
  2. 5
    Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge
    290 Conover St
    Brooklyn – Red Hook
    NY 11231
  3. 6
    Willowbrook Park
    1 Eton Pl.
    Staten Island
    NY 10314

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