Free This Week


by Erin O'Hara, 07/02/2013

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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.

July 3–9

Wednesday, July 3
Our Nixon
Where: Socrates Sculpture Park
When: 7pm
Socrates Sculpture Park, the outdoor art oasis in Long Island City, offers an array of exciting programs for kids, teens, adults and families all summer long. On Wednesday evening, celebrate the successful defeat of hump day at the park, where you can watch a flick outside and paddle around Hallet's Cove. Those interested in exercise are welcome to take canoes and kayaks out on the water during the Outdoor Cinema Paddle, which goes from 6pm to sunset. Afterward, cinephiles can enjoy a screening of Our Nixon, a documentary by director Penny Lane, which assembles never-before-seen footage of the president filmed by his aides before his infamous fall from grace. The film presents the material largely unedited. 

Thursday, July 4
Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks
Where: Hudson River (between W. 23rd and W. 42nd Streets)
When: 8pm
It wouldn't be the Fourth of July in New York City without the Annual Macy's Fireworks, now in its 37th year. The iconic display will take place over the Hudson River, so the optimal viewing spots are going to be on 12th Avenue between 23rd and 42nd streets, but anywhere with a decent view of the Hudson will work. If you plan on heading to where the action is, aim to be there by 5pm to snag a good spot. Pop-music fans, take note: this year's show was curated by Usher and features performances by Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Mariah Carey and Selena Gomez.

Friday, July 5
King Lear
Where: Riverside Park
When: 6:30pm
If you couldn't get your hands on tickets to the other Shakespeare in the Park, fret not. The talented theater group at the Hudson Warehouse is mounting its 10th season of free Shakespeare performances in this Upper West Side green space. On Friday, catch the opening night of the Bard's classic tragedy King Lear, filled with all the political intrigue, insanity and gore that fans have come to expect from the production. For even more free Shakespearean entertainment, see our roundup

Saturday, July 6
Celebrate Brooklyn!: Theophilus London
Where: Prospect Park Bandshell
When: 7pm
Don't miss this free live performance by Brooklyn's own Theophilus London, the alternative rapper who has made a name for himself with his soulful style over the past few years. Joining him are Afro-pop group Les Nubians and stutter-funk Brooklynites Aabaraki. (Sidebar: fans of free live music will be thrilled to know that there's plenty more where this came from.) 

Sunday, July 7 
Kayaking on the Hudson
Where: Pier 40 and Pier 96
When: 10am–6pm and 9am–6pm, respectively; last launch 5:30pm
Getting out on the water is a rare treat in New York, and those of us who don't own a yacht—or even a raft—are happy with any chance we can get. At Pier 40 (west end of Houston Street) and Pier 96 (west end of 56th Street), you can take a kayak out on the Hudson for free. All you need is an ID and swimming skills—no kayaking experience necessary. Volunteers from The Downtown Boathouse will give you a quick lesson and a lifejacket and then you'll be ready to paddle away on an aquatic adventure. 

Monday, July 8
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Where: Bryant Park
When: Viewing area opens at 5pm, film begins at sunset (between 8 and 9pm)
The HBO Bryant Park Film Festival is a staple of summertime Mondays, showing great films, outdoors, for free. This week, catch Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. (Yes, it's the original—sorry, Tim Burton.) Bring a blanket and some snacks to enjoy Charlie and Grandpa Joe's high jinks inside Willy Wonka's weird candy wonderland. The various punishments meted out to Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt and Mike Teevee ought to make for a relaxing evening. 

Tuesday, July 9
Aisha Tyler: Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation
Where: Barnes & Noble Tribeca
When: 6pm
Aisha Tyler, current host of CBS' The Talk and professional funny lady, reads from her new book at Barnes & Noble in TriBeCa. Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation is a hilarious account of the comedy actress's many missteps. Tyler has mastered the art of failing epically, and she's been gracious enough to compile the best of the worst in this book—from throwing up on her crush to drunkenly sleeping through the SATs—for our enjoyment. (Celebrities: they're just as clumsy and helpless as us!)

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Socrates Sculpture Park
    32-01 Sculpture Park at Broadway
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11106
  2. 2
    Riverside Park
    Riverside Drive to Hudson River
    72nd St. to St Clair Pl.
    New York – Upper West Side
    NY 10115
  3. 3
    Prospect Park Bandshell
    Prospect Park West
    NY 11217
  1. 4
    Pier 40
    353 West St
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10014
  2. 5
    Bryant Park
    Sixth Ave. between 40th and 42nd Sts.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
  3. 6
    Barnes & Noble Tribeca
    97 Warren St
    Manhattan – Financial District

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