Free This Week


by Alyssa Grossman, 07/10/2013

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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 10–16

Wednesday, July 10
Harlem Summer Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
Where: Riverbank State Park
When: 8pm
Pulse Ensemble is devoted to making the Bard’s works accessible to younger audiences by staging productions with unexpected, contemporary twists. The company’s choice for this year’s Harlem Summer Shakespeare performance is The Taming of the Shrew, the classic comedy that follows Petruchio’s adventures in pursuing the reluctant-to-marry Kate. Making matters worse, her younger sister Bianca cannot marry until Kate finds a match. The outdoor show, at Riverbank State Park’s amphitheater, uses colorful set design and music—namely calypso—to evoke a 1950s Caribbean vibe. The four-week run will continue through August 4. 

Thursday, July 11
Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival
Where: Brookfield Place
When: 6pm
Spend the evening on the Lower Manhattan waterfront enjoying cool breezes and chill rock and blues riffs. Coheadlining the star-studded music fest are Grammy-winning East LA band Los Lobos and blues rockers Los Lonely Boys, from Texas. Austin-based musician Alejandro Escovedo opens the show. It’s the second (and final) night of the festival’s run at Brookfield Place Plaza; blues legend B.B. King takes top billing the previous evening. While admission is free, seating is limited, so be sure to arrive early to guarantee a spot.

Friday, July 12
Come Out and Play After Dark
Where: South Street Seaport
When: 7pm
Once a year, adults are encouraged to act like kids as they run around the South Street Seaport and play games designed for a night of interactive entertainment. A spinoff of the original daytime Come Out and Play fest (organizers also hold Come Out and Play Field Day and Family Day on Governors Island), this nighttime celebration brings players together for anything-goes activities. This year’s games, chosen from a pool of public submissions, include Field Frogger and the medieval-plague-inspired Leechwyves and Bonesetters.

Saturday, July 13
West Coast Swing
Where: West Harlem Piers Park
When: 6–9pm
Head to Harlem for this dance-centric edition of Riverside Park’s Summer on the Hudson series. You’ll step, swing and shake to rock, hip-hop, country and more on the outdoor dance floor, against the backdrop of a Hudson River sunset. The all-encompassing style of West Coast swing, which has a little bit of salsa, some East Coast-style swing and elements of Lindy Hop, will be taught to newcomers during a complimentary lesson from 7 to 7:45pm. Participation is limited, so get there early to claim your spot. 

Sunday, July 14
Laughter in the Park 2013
Where: Tompkins Square Park, Old Bandshell Lawn
When: 2–4pm
New York City is a hub for comedy. But free comedy is a little harder to find. Thanks to nonprofit NYLaughs, New Yorkers and visitors who love to laugh can drop by City parks throughout the summer for gratis stand-up routines from big-name performers. The crew believes that everyone should have access to comedy, and fans are taking notice: the program, begun in 2007, has already brought 40 shows to NYC green spaces. Hosted by Best Week Ever’s Jared Logan, this afternoon set features Comedy Central regular Ted Alexandro and includes club favorites like Kevin Barnett and Giulia Rozzi. Show up with a blanket or a chair and settle in for two hours of entertainment. 

Monday, July 15
SummerStage Kids: Wildlife Theater from the Central Park Zoo
Where: Haffen Park
When: 10:30–11:30am
Performers from Manhattan’s Central Park Zoo head to the Bronx for a special SummerStage performance. The Wildlife Theater will stage a nature-oriented show for young audience members, complete with music, games, interactive elements and critter puppets, including an oversized cockroach. The event’s main act, “The Tale of Flutterby and Piggle,” tracks two butterflies as they travel thousands of miles together. 

Tuesday, July 16
Land Art Generator Initiative: Freshkills Park
Where: Central Park Arsenal
When: 9am–5pm
The City undergoes transformations all the time, but few undertakings seem as dynamic as plans for Staten Island’s Freshkills Park. The former landfill encompasses 2,200 acres a bit west of the island’s center, and the Land Art Generator competition, held every year, challenges inventive minds to reimagine the space. The goal is to combine art with function and create an installation that turns natural energy into electricity. An international pool of competitors—architects, engineers, artists—submitted ideas to this year’s competition, and the top 25 will be exhibited during a show at Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery. For a look at what to expect, check out last year's innovative ideas. 

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Riverbank State Park
    Riverside Drive
    NY 10031
  2. 2
    Brookfield Place
    230 Vesey St.
    Manhattan – Battery Park City
    NY 10281
  3. 3
    South Street Seaport
    Pier 17, Fulton and Front Streets
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10038
  1. 4
  2. 5
    Tompkins Square Park
    Ave. A between 7th and 10th Sts.
    Manhattan – East Village
  3. 6
    Central Park Arsenal
    East side of the park at Fifth Ave and 64th St
    Manhattan – Central Park
    NY 10065

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