Free This Week


by Erin O’Hara, 08/21/2013

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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 21–27

Wednesday, August 21
The Hunger Games
Where: Pier 63 Lawn
When: Dusk (around 8:30pm)
Academy Award–winning actress Jennifer Lawrence charmed audiences as Katniss Everdeen in the first movie based on the beloved Hunger Games books. (Her noteworthy cast mates in the dystopian sci-fi flick include Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson.) Watch all the action outdoors on the big screen before the sequel hits theaters this fall. Note: there are snacks and drinks available for purchase, but there will also be plenty of free popcorn to go around. 

Thursday, August 22
Hiking Through History
Where: Governors Island
When: 10am & 12:15pm
On Governors Island, NYC's historic highlights meet the City's natural landscape. It's a place where centuries-old buildings can be found amid lush parkland and the views of New York Harbor are among the most picturesque of those across the five boroughs. The island's historic district, which received landmark status in 1996, consists of approximately 100 buildings, some of which date back to the early 1800s. National Park Rangers lead this walk, which covers 1.5 miles in 1.5 hours and over 200 years of New York history.

Friday, August 23
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
Where: Marcus Garvey Park
When: 7–9pm
The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival is a New York institution, just like the musical legend it memorializes. The event has been taking place for over 20 years and has long been one of late summer's highlights. During this edition, catch the premiere performance of Jimmy Heath's "Bird is the Word" (whose title is, of course, a nod to Parker's nickname). Heath, who is a jazz legend in his own right, will also perform arrangements of some of Parker's most famous compositions.

Saturday, August 24
AfroPunk Fest
Where: Commodore Barry Park
When: noon–9pm (also on Sunday, August 25)
As of press time the schedule of performers has yet to be released, but fans of hip-hop, R&B, rock, punk and an incredible array of other genres can expect top-notch entertainment. The weekend's lineup includes Questlove from the Roots, Theophilus London, Danny Brown, Big Freedia, Saul Williams, Mykki Blanco, Chuck D and DJ Lord, Living Colour and more. The festival also features food, yoga, art, shopping, a motorcycle show and an after-hours party. Tickets are free with an RSVP, but prepare to wait in line. "Fast Pass" admission, which lets you skip the line, is available for a donation of $25.

Sunday, August 25
EcoFest 25th Anniversary
Where: Times Square
When: 10am–6pm
The 25th annual edition of this event features a slew of festivities that celebrate environmentally conscious industries. These include a recycling "Olympics," the latest and greatest in green vehicles, an eco-fashion show presented on a solar-powered stage, a snowman ice sculpture, games for kids, sustainable eats, live music and more. As with past EcoFests, attendees will find plenty of opportunities for education—and fun.

Monday, August 26
Outdoor Strength
Where: Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park
When: 7–8pm
NYC offers free fitness classes every day of the week all over the five boroughs—everything from yoga and tai chi to kickboxing and Zumba. Now you can add strength training to that list. Trainers from Brooklyn Strength teach bodyweight strength training (think push-ups, squats and maybe even a handstand or two) and aerobic intervals. Meet at Pier 6 near the volleyball courts 15 minutes early to register. Check the Brooklyn Strength Twitter or Facebook for updates before attending.

Tuesday, August 27
Stories in the Garden
Where: Wave Hill
When: 11am
Wave Hill's stunning gardens look as though they were plucked from the pages of a children's book, which makes the space the perfect backdrop for storytelling for kids. Every Tuesday, children can sit in the grass, unwind and escape into their imaginations by listening to stories that relate to a different nature theme. Stories in the Garden is appropriate for ages 3 and up; all children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission to the grounds is free all day, so afterward take the little ones around to learn about the flowers, trees and creatures that call the garden home.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Hudson River Park
    West Side Highway, bet. Battery Place and W. 59th St.
    Manhattan – multiple locations
    NY 10014
  2. 2
    Governors Island
    New York Harbor
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004
  3. 3
    Marcus Garvey Park
    Madison Ave.
    Manhattan – Harlem
    NY 10035
  1. 4
    Commodore Barry Park
    Nassau Street (bet. Navy St. and N. Elliot Place)
    Brooklyn – Fort Greene
    NY 11201
  2. 5
    Brooklyn Bridge Park
    334 Furman St.
    Brooklyn – DUMBO
    NY 11201
  3. 6
    Wave Hill
    675 W. 252nd St.
    Bronx – Riverdale
    NY 10471

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