Free This Week


by Erin O'Hara, 10/02/2013

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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.

October 2–8

Wednesday, October 2
Nick Offerman, Paddle Your Own Canoe
Where: Barnes & Noble Union Square
When: 7pm
On NBC's Parks & Recreation, Nick Offerman's character Ron Swanson is a manly man known for his sage wisdom, impressive facial hair and appreciation of elemental pleasures like tools, whiskey, cigars and meat—qualities wholly embraced by Offerman himself, if his new book is any indication. On Wednesday, Offerman will read from and discuss Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. The book traces Offerman's evolution from small-town Midwestern boy to Chicago theater actor and woodworker to network star, all while ladling out deadpan advice about self-sufficiency, romance, fine living and naturally, how to grow an enviably thick, perfect mustache.

Thursday, October 3
The Masters Series: R.O. Blechman, Opening Reception
Where: SVA Chelsea Gallery
When: 6–8pm
For 60 years, illustrator R.O. Blechman's simple, tremulous line and low-key humor have found their way onto magazine and newspaper pages and covers (including 14 for The New Yorker); animated series (including 1984's Emmy-winning PBS special The Soldier's Tale); television commercials (a memorable talking stomach for Alka-Seltzer); and graphic novels. He’s a fitting recipient for the 25th Annual Masters Series award and accompanying retrospective exhibition at the gallery of the School of Visual Arts, where he taught in the 1960s and '70s. Blechman also worked in the New York ad agency world and opened his own renowned animation studio, the Ink Tank (1977–2004). The exhibition will remain on display through Saturday, November 2.

Friday, October 4
Free Music Fridays
Where: American Folk Art Museum
When: 5:30–7:30pm
Each Friday the American Folk Art Museum offers the public the chance to unwind from the workweek with free live performances by a rotating assortment of talented, folk-inspired musicians. This week, Brooklyn's Jalopy Theatre, a veritable clubhouse for old-time-music devotees, presents Dolunay, a band that plays Turkish Rumeli music, a type of urban folk that's popular throughout the Balkans. (The band's name translates to "full moon," and the lead singer's name is, appropriately, Jenny Luna.) While you're there, sip an affordable cocktail in the lobby or peruse the museum's collection and current exhibitions, including alt_quilts, which features the works of three alternative quilt artists.

Saturday, October 5
William Helmreich, The New York Nobody Knows
Where: Word
When: 5pm
William Helmreich, a professor of sociology at the City College of New York, embarked on a seemingly impossible challenge: walking every block in all five boroughs of New York City, a journey of 6,000 miles that took four years to complete. Along the way, he met and interviewed hundreds of New Yorkers about their daily lives and personal histories. The resulting book, The New York Nobody Knows, presents an ethnographic study of people from all backgrounds and walks of life who call New York City home. Meet Helmreich at Word, where he'll discuss some of the fascinating things he learned and found in North Brooklyn. Afterward, join him on a walking tour of the neighborhood.

Sunday, October 6
Target Free Sundays
Where: Studio Museum in Harlem
When: noon–6pm
Thanks to Target, admission to the Studio Museum in Harlem is free all day every Sunday. Check out the museum's current exhibitions, including Body Language, which juxtaposes images of human bodies with written words, and No Filter, featuring the photographs of talented local high school students. At 1pm, join the museum staff for a gallery tour of the current video exhibition, VideoStudio: Long Takes; following that, participate in a workshop where kids can create works of art by collaborating with their peers. And don't forget to pick up your free Harlem Postcard, part of an ongoing program in which local artists are commissioned to create souvenir postcards inspired by the neighborhood.

Monday, October 7
The Next Level: East Side Access Photographs by Hiroyuki Suzuki
Where: Grand Central Terminal, New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store  
When: 8am–8pm
Photographer Hiroyuki Suzuki traveled 18 stories beneath Manhattan to capture an exclusive glimpse of the City's subterranean depths during an ongoing massive transformation. The Next Level presents a collection of Hiroyuki Suzuki's photographs of the East Side Access project, the construction of a new tunnel beneath 100-year-old Grand Central Terminal that will connect the station to the Long Island Rail Road. Capturing the work site's eerie serenity and overwhelmingly large dimensions, his photos both document the project's progress and offer an unexpectedly beautiful artistic perspective of a seemingly mundane subject. 

Tuesday, October 8
Juilliard Jazz Orchestra: The Music of Thad Jones 
Where: Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Juilliard
When: 8pm
The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra starts off its new season with a tribute to the work of Thad Jones. Jones is famous for his mastery of the trumpet, his big-band-style compositions and his performances with the Count Basie Orchestra and Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Orchestra. The show is free but tickets are required; make sure to reserve one at the Juilliard Box Office.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Barnes & Noble Union Square
    33 E. 17th St.
    Manhattan – Union Square
    NY 10003
  2. 2
    American Folk Art Museum
    2 Lincoln Square
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023
  3. 3
    126 Franklin St
    Brooklyn – Greenpoint
    NY 11222
  1. 4
    The Studio Museum in Harlem
    144 W. 125th St.
    Manhattan – Harlem
    NY 10027
  2. 5
    New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store
    Main Concourse, Grand Central Terminal
    Manhattan – Midtown East
    NY 10017
  3. 6
    Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Julliard
    155 W. 65th St.
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023

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