Free This Week


by staff, 11/27/2013

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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.

November 27–December 3

Wednesday, November 27
Lighting of the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah 
Where: Grand Army Plaza 
When: 5:30pm
Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with the lighting of the world's largest menorah at Grand Army Plaza (Fifth Avenue and West 59th Street, across the street from The Plaza Hotel). The 32-foot-high, gold-colored, 4,000-pound steel holiday icon is a sight to behold. Every holiday evening a candle will be lit, usually at 5:30pm (in observation of the Sabbath, Friday's lighting is at 3:30pm and Saturday's at 8:30pm). For the first time since 1888, Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving, a convergence that some have dubbed "Thanksgivukkah"— meaning you have that many more reasons to celebrate. 

Thursday, November 28
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 
Where: Begins at Central Park West and West 77th Street
When: 9am
A Thanksgiving institution for more than 85 years, this parade is one of the most famous holiday events in the world. By setting down anchor somewhere along the parade route, viewers can experience firsthand the amazing spectacle, which features enormous balloon creatures, celebrities and Broadway performers; Santa, too, makes what’s said to be his first appearance of the holiday season. The procession heads down Central Park West from West 77th Street to West 59th Street; it then heads east along Central Park South to Sixth Avenue, veers south to West 34th Street and ends in front of the Macy's flagship store in Herald Square.  

Friday, November 29
Extended Friday Hours at the Frick
Where: The Frick Collection
When: 6–9pm
Explore some of the Frick Collection’s lauded new exhibitions at this free after-hours event. Current shows include David d'Angers: Making the Modern Monument, exploring the work of the acclaimed French sculptor, and the not-to-be missed Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis, which displays 15 seminal paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, all on loan from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in the Netherlands. Vermeer's 17th-century classic, Girl with a Pearl Earring, is included, making the show an essential pilgrimage—particularly since Rembrandt's Susanna and the Elders and Frans Hals' portrait Aletta Hanemans are also on view.  

Saturday, November 30 
Annual Juried Holiday Art & Craft Fair
Where: Alice Austen House
When: 11am–5pm
If you want to partake in the holiday-fair experience but don't feel like braving the cold, head to Alice Austen House for the Annual Juried Holiday Art & Craft Fair. The market offers a diverse mix of products in the warmth of a historic cottage, a setting that harks back to the Victorian era. An array of goods, from handcrafted jewelry and soap to art and one-of-a-kind clothing, will be available for sale. The makers will be present, giving you the opportunity to talk shop and learn about the wares on display. The event also features refreshments and raffles. 

Sunday, December 1
Grinch Day
Where: Barnes & Noble – Citigroup Center
When: 1pm
Celebrate Christmas' favorite curmudgeon at the Citigroup Center's Barnes & Noble for a kickoff of "25 Days of Grinchmas," inspired by the revered Dr. Seuss tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The festivities include a reading of the book, followed by Grinch-themed events, activities and snacks. Grinch Day is celebrated nationwide to encourage children to do good deeds and "grow their hearts three sizes"—just like the Grinch did.  

Monday, December 2
Holiday Train Show 
Where: The New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store, Grand Central Terminal
When: 8am–8pm
The New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal is back with its 12th Annual Holiday Train Show. The installation features Lionel trains traveling through a two-level, 34-foot-long miniature New York City and countryside scene, with the route going all the way to the North Pole, where a certain Mr. Claus is readying his holiday plans. Illustrations by artist Maira Kalman—showing characters from her book Next Stop Grand Central—will accompany the exhibition, in addition to vintage trains from the museum's collection, among them New York Central models. Kids will be doubly entertained by a visit here if they take advantage of the Grand Central scavenger hunt—pick up clues at the Transit Museum Gallery. 

Tuesday, December 3
Where: The Museum at FIT
When: 8am–8pm
Trends may come and go, but in the fashion industry nothing ever really goes out of style for too long. Trend-ology focuses on a 250-year old trend cycle—starting in the 18th century—and follows the emergence (and reemergence) of fads up to the present day. This exhibition features 100 influential and sometimes flash-in-the-pan pieces including a tartan dress made in the early 1800s, a chunky gold Chanel necklace inspired by late 1980s and early 1990s hip-hop, and a Takashi Murakami–designed Louis Vuitton satchel that became a massive success and inspired numerous knockoffs. The show also explores how crazes develop in mediums such as art, music and film, and how fast-fashion stores like H&M and Zara have become a crucible for trends—catalyzing both their debut and demise. The exhibition runs until April 30.

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    Grand Army Plaza
    Fifth Avenue and W 59th Street
    Manhattan – multiple locations
  2. 2
    Macy's Herald Square
    151 W. 34th St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10001
  3. 3
    The Frick Collection
    1 E. 70th St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10021
  1. 4
    Alice Austen House Museum
    2 Hylan Blvd.
    Staten Island
    NY 10305
  2. 5
    Atrium at Citigroup Center
    153 E 53rd St
    Manhattan – Midtown East
    NY 10001
  3. 6
    New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store
    Main Concourse, Grand Central Terminal
    Manhattan – Midtown East
    NY 10017
  1. 7
    Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
    Seventh Ave. at 27th St.
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10001

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