Free This Week


by Max Geistfeld, 07/24/2013

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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 24–30

Wednesday, July 24

Mad. Sq. Music: Dafnis Prieto Sextet & Yosvany Terry Quintet
Where: Madison Square Park
When: 6pm
Just as Orly Genger’s undulating Red, Yellow and Blue rope installation reshapes the boundaries of Madison Square Park, so do these two Afro-Cuban musicians redefine their genre. Cuban jazz percussionist and composer Dafnis Prieto won a coveted 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for his virtuosic playing and "adventurous compositions" that incorporate a range of styles and cultural influences to put a modern twist on established Afro-Cuban sounds. Tonight Prieto performs with his sextet, including Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Manuel Valera on piano and Johannes Weidenmueller on bass. Rounding out the evening is a performance by saxophonist Yosvany Terry’s quintet, including Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Osmany Paredes on piano, Yunior Terry on bass and Justin Brown on drums. The classically trained Terry, who has lived in NYC since 1999, has been hailed by the New York Times for reframing "the sound of Afro-Cuban jazz in New York" with his "flexibly cerebral, harmonically advanced" fusion.

Thursday, July 25
Hudson River Park’s RiverRocks: Foxygen and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
Where: Pier 84
When: 6pm
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Hudson River Park’s RiverRocks free summer concerts at Pier 84 (at W. 44th Street). Headlining this evening’s show is indie-rock duo Foxygen, which has been electrifying audiences with highly charged, sometimes unpredictable live performances of songs influenced by ’60s rock (think: the Stones) and ’70s punk. Their acclaimed newest release, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, surfaced on a slew of Best Albums of the Year (So Far) lists recently, so be sure to show up early to snag a spot—but don’t expect to be sitting down much. Opening is Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, a San Francisco–based alternative folk-rock group; led by vocalist and guitarist Thao Nguyen, they’ve released with three LPs, the most recent being We the Common. Gates to the performance open at 6pm, and the music is scheduled to begin at 7pm. 

Friday, July 26
Films on the Green: U
Where: Transmitter Park
When: 8:30pm
Now in its sixth year, Films on the Green brings French cinema to New York City parks through the lens of a particular theme, and this year’s festival trope is, naturellement, "Love á la Française." Tonight’s feature, U, is an animated film directed by Serge Elissalde and Grégoire Solotareff that centers on a princess named Mona who is cruelly mistreated by a pair of rats until she is saved by a unicorn called U. Mona and U live happily together until one day she encounters a troupe of traveling musicians, the Wéwés. The film is subtitled and is appropriate for children 6 and up. 

Saturday, July 27
Hip to Hip Theatre Company: The Tempest
Where: New Stage (Beach 17th Street off Seagirt Blvd.)
When: 7pm
Hip to Hip Theatre Company brings the Bard’s finest works to 12 public parks throughout Queens between July 24 and August 18. This summer features two productions: Love's Labor's Lost and tonight’s featured play, The Tempest. Directed by Jason Marr, The Tempest tells the tale of a deposed duke on a deserted island who becomes a sorcerer and uses his powers to seek revenge against the enemies who robbed him of his position. Admission to the show is on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early and remember to bring a chair or blanket. Free theater games and workshops will be offered for children 30 minutes before the show begins.

Sunday, July 28
Rock Steady Crew 36th Anniversary Concert
Where: Rumsey Playfield
When: 3pm
To celebrate its 36th anniversary, the Rock Steady Crew is putting on a free show at SummerStage for the first time ever. The Bronx-bred b-boy group, initially formed in 1977 by Jimmy D and JoJo, quickly became one of hip-hop’s biggest names. The Crew recorded two studio albums, Ready for Battle and 30 Years to the Day, yielding a number of hit singles, notably “(Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew.” The Crew will be joined onstage by one of hip-hop’s most celebrated duos, producer Pete Rock and vocalist C.L. Smooth. Since the show is free, admission is on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure to get there early. 

Monday, July 29
Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series Presents Annual Gospel Night
Where: Wingate Park
When: 7:30pm
The 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series presents an evening of hand-clapping, soul-stirring gospel music in Brooklyn’s Wingate Park. The night will feature 16-time Stellar Gospel Music Awards winner Marvin Sapp, the gold-selling-album artist and worship leader Israel Houghton and the New Breed and the Christian Cultural Center Choir. Be sure to get there early to score a good spot before the music begins at 7:30pm. 

Tuesday, July 30
SummerStage Theater Presented by Time Warner: King Kong
Where: Herbert Von King Park
When: 8pm
Director Alfred Preisser and acclaimed impresario Randy Weiner have teamed up for a modern theatrical interpretation of the classic 1933 film King Kong. The play takes place during hip-hop’s glory days in the Bronx in the late 1970s, where the Gold Brothers, owners of a dying record company, strike out in search of a lifeline to keep their business afloat. They travel to the mystical South Bronx in search of the most talented MC alive, Kong. The Gold Brothers hire a beautiful woman, Faye Wellington, to try and seduce Kong into playing for their label. The show features original musical and dance pieces, and also gives serious insight into the racial stereotyping that was a part of the original story.  

related venues/(5)

  1. 1
    Madison Square Park
    23rd to 26th Sts. (bet. Fifth and Madison Aves.)
    Manhattan – Flatiron District
    NY 10010
  2. 2
    Pier 84
    44th and West Sts
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10036
  3. 3
    Central Park's Rumsey Playfield
    Enter Central Park at Fifth Avenue & 69th Street
    Manhattan – Central Park
  1. 4
    Wingate Park
    Brooklyn Ave and Rutland Rd
    Brooklyn – Flatbush
    NY 11225
  2. 5
    Herbert Von King Park
    670 Lafayette Ave
    Brooklyn – Bedford-Stuyvesant

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