Free This Week


by Christina Parrella, 08/14/2013

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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.

August 14–20

Wednesday, August 14
Where: Randall's Island Park
When: dawn–dusk
Flow.13, a two-part environmental art exhibition—presented by the Randall's Island Park Alliance, The Bronx Museum of the Arts and Made Event—features five new site-specific installations by a group of emerging artists. The artworks, which include mixed-media pieces like billboards, benches and a ring-shaped bark structure titled "Looping Back" that references improvisatory jazz, encourage visitor interaction. The pieces are on view along the southwestern shoreline of Randall's Island Park through November. Pedestrians and bicyclists can access the park from paths in Queens and Manhattan. 

Thursday, August 15
An Evening with Penny Arcade and Quentin Crisp
Where: The Theater at MAD
When: 7pm
With his wispy lavender hair, androgynous fashion and tenacious attitude, the late author/performer Quentin Crisp was a leading figure in the gay community. Among his most famous books is The Naked Civil Servant, an autobiographical work that documents the negativity and ridicule he received living as an openly gay man in England during the '20s and '30s. The English dandy's friend Penny Arcade, a well-known NYC-based performance artist, pays tribute to Crisp at this event, which includes a screening of a two-hour talk between the two (taped during the 1995 Vienna Festival) and a live discussion afterward between Arcade and filmmaker Steve Zehentner.

Friday, August 16
Bronx Stories: I Heart BK/BX
Where: The Bronx Museum of the Arts 
When: 6:30–9pm
As part of the I Heart BK/BX series, musicians, poets and storytellers from Brooklyn and the Bronx come together for a night of inspired performances. Storyteller Robin Bady, spoken-word artist Brittany Maldonado and percussionist Jose Ortiz (aka Dr. Drum) bring poetry, music and more to the stage. Note to aspiring entertainers: you can share the spotlight during the evening's open mic session. 

Saturday, August 17
Coney Island Sand Sculpting Contest 
Where: Coney Island Boardwalk
When: noon–5pm
Test your sculpting skills during this annual competition at Coney Island. Amateurs and pros alike will fashion giant mounds of sand into works of art, often with spectacular results. In past years, sculptures have included a replica of the New York Aquarium and a giant octopus. Spectators who haven't quite mastered the art of sand sculpting can sit back and quietly judge the competition. Judges award prizes to winners in five categories, including one for children. There are no experience or age requirements for this event. 

Sunday, August 18
Free Fashion Center Neighborhood Walking Tours 
Where: northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and West 39th Street
When: 2pm
The Garment District has been the center of New York City's fashion and apparel industry since the beginning of the 20th century. Today a slew of stores in the area still hawk one-of-a-kind fabrics, supplies and all the necessary odds and ends for clothes making. Explore this fashion hub during a one-and-a-half-to-two-hour tour led by Mike Kaback. You might visit a private showroom, a sample sale, Mood Designer Fabrics and more, all while learning about the neighborhood's historic background and importance. Reservations are required; make them by emailing

Monday, August 19
Summer Talks: Brian De Palma
Where: Film Center Amphitheater at Lincoln Center
When: 7pm
Brian De Palma is a master of suspense: the director is known for violent crime flicks like Carrie, Scarface and Carlito's Way. His latest film, Passion, is an erotic thriller starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace as workplace rivals whose professional struggles spill into their personal lives with deadly results. The film's visual style and sexually explicit plot mark a return to the kind of filmmaking that made De Palma famous in the '70s and '80s. Join the director for a one-hour discussion about the film. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 6pm at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center box office. 

Tuesday, August 20
Summer Movie Nights at mad46: Dirty Dancing
Where: mad46 Rooftop Lounge at The Roosevelt Hotel
When: 9pm
Dreamy dance sequences, forbidden romance and a shirtless Patrick Swayze—Dirty Dancing is among the most classic of all '80s cult films. Watch the dance movie, which turned 25 last year—yes, it has been that long—at the rooftop lounge of The Roosevelt Hotel with the Midtown cityscape as your backdrop. The film starts at 9pm, but cinephiles can enjoy a preshow cocktail party beforehand beginning at 8pm. (NB: First-time dirty dancers are not encouraged to practice any heavy lifting or salacious spin moves during the screening.)

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Randall's Island Park
    East River
    New York
  2. 2
    Museum of Arts and Design
    2 Columbus Circle
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 3
    The Bronx Museum of the Arts
    1040 Grand Concourse
    Bronx – South Bronx
    NY 10456
  1. 4
    Coney Island Boardwalk
    Boardwalk and W 8th St
    Multiple Locations
    NY 11224
  2. 5
    The Film Society of Lincoln Center
    70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 4th fl.
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023
  3. 6
    mad46 Rooftop Lounge
    The Roosevelt Hotel, Madison Ave. at 46th St.
    Manhattan – Midtown East
    NY 10017

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