Free This Week


by Alyssa Grossman, 06/19/2013

« »
  • print

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.

June 19–25

Wednesday, June 19
¡Arriba! Community Dance Parties at the High Line
Where: The High Line
When: 7–9pm
Watch the sun set along the Hudson River as you move your feet to Latin beats during this monthly dance session on the High Line. The summer series kicks off on June 19, when Orlando Marin provides the sound track for an evening of drum-infused salsa and merengue tracks. The New York Times reports that the Bronx-born Marin "still seems to live in that era of 1950s New York, with mambo celebrities like Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez and Machito slamming dance halls with Cuban-born beats." Hear the infectious rhythms for yourself at the Chelsea Market Passage at West 16th Street.

Thursday, June 20
Governors Island History Tours
Where: Governors Island
When: times vary
Governors Island packs a whole lot of history into its 172 acres. Once a military outpost, then a major command headquarters for the US Army and later a Coast Guard base, this destination in New York Harbor brings the past to life during weekday tours (held Wednesday through Friday) led by National Parks Service rangers. Though much of the island's programming is available only on Saturdays and Sundays, on Thursdays there are three tours that cover several historical topics. Tickets for each program are distributed at the Battery Maritime Building one hour prior to the ferry departure. Hop aboard the 10am or 2:15pm ferry from Lower Manhattan for Hiking Through History. This mile-and-a-half jaunt takes participants around the island's Historic District. Take the 12:15pm ferry and get an in-depth look at Castle Williams and Fort Jay, which includes the opportunity to venture onto the castle's roof and gaze across the harbor. Finally, board the 1:15pm ferry for Artillery Thursdays, which takes guests back to the 1800s, when the Army was stationed on Governors Island. Part walk and part demonstration, this outing is all about the story behind the island's cannons.

Friday, June 21
GMA Summer Concert Series: John Legend
Where: Central Park, Rumsey Playfield
When: 7–9am
Seeing a live show and maybe making your television debut is a lot to accomplish before 9am—unless you wake up extra-early for Good Morning America's Summer Concert Series. This Friday brings the Grammy Award–winning, certified-gold singer John Legend to the stage. The R&B star (and—fun fact—Ivy Leaguer) will play an alfresco set in Central Park. His skills at the piano may be just the thing to help kick-start the day. Need even more motivation to set that alarm clock? Legend's recent performance of "True Colors" for TED Talks Education should do the trick.

Saturday, June 22
Mermaid Parade
Where: Surf Avenue, Coney Island
When: 1pm
There's nothing quite like Coney Island's annual parade of quirky mermaids and sea creatures, antique cars, floats and performers. The pageant, founded in 1983, displays participants' mastery of mythology and wearable art. (You'd be hard-pressed to find a similar event in any other NYC neighborhood.) The procession moves east from Surf Avenue and West 21st Street, turns south on West 10th Street, then heads back west on the boardwalk, ending in front of MCU Park. The 2012 parade drew a crowd of about 750,000, so get there early to snag a prime viewing spot. After the colorful characters have made their way around—led, of course, by the celebrity king and queen (Judah Friedlander and Carole Radziwill, respectively, this year)—there's still plenty to explore nearby. Check out our guide to Coney Island for other ways to experience the amusement district.

Sunday, June 23
LIC Flea & Food
Where: 46th Avenue and 5th Street, Long Island City
When: 10am–6pm
NYC's outdoor food and shopping scene became one market bigger this month with the June 15 debut of LIC Flea & Food. Take in views of the Manhattan skyline from Queens while perusing wares and treats from local businesses. Patrons can expect a curated selection of crafts, clothing and antiques on Saturdays and Sundays all summer long. While the shopping and food cost money, the market is free to attend, and the vista it affords is beautiful. Once you've examined the offerings along the waterfront, stick around to check out the other must-see spots in Long Island City.

Monday, June 24
Queens Symphony Orchestra Concerts on the Green
Where: Astoria Park
When: 7:30–10pm
Free concerts are a staple of NYC's summer entertainment scene (just check out our calendar for proof), and Queens Symphony Orchestra is just one of many organizations performing this season. Grab a blanket and snacks and enjoy an evening of popular, classic and patriotic tunes courtesy of this talented group of musicians, who individually have also been a part of Broadway productions and played with New York City Ballet. Stick around after the show for a Grucci fireworks display.

Tuesday, June 25
Big City Fishing
Where: Pier 46
When: 1–5pm
Join environmental pros for an afternoon of free catch-and-release fishing on the Hudson River, suitable for both budding and seasoned fishermen ages 5 and up. There's no need to bring any gear, either. Just show up in the afternoon to get a rod, a reel and some bait, plus a complimentary lesson in enticing the fish to bite. Before the session is over, you'll walk away with some newfound knowledge about the waterway and the species that call it home.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    The High Line
    Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10011
  2. 2
    Governors Island
    New York Harbor
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004
  3. 3
    SummerStage in Central Park
    Rumsey Playfield, E. 72nd St. at Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Central Park
    NY 10065
  1. 4
    Coney Island
    Surf Avenue
    Brooklyn – Coney Island
    NY 11224
  2. 5
    Astoria Park
    Enter at 21st Ave and 23rd St
    Queens – Astoria
    NY 11102
  3. 6
    Hudson River Park, Pier 46
    Charles St
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
    NY 10014

check-in date

check-out date