Free This Week


by Alyssa Grossman, 12/18/2013

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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.

December 18–24

Wednesday, December 18
A (15-Min!) Christmas Carol
Where: Brookfield Place
When: 12:30pm and 1:15pm
If the holiday rush has you strapped for time, Brookfield Place's musical event should be a welcome way to fit in a Christmas performance. A (15-Min!) Christmas Carol, presented by New York Classical Theatre, covers Charles Dickens' classic in just a quarter of an hour. Two actors play the parts of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Fezziwig, Jacob Marley, Tiny Tim and the rest. Drop by during a work break or in between gift shopping to catch the speedy show. 

Thursday, December 19
The New Standards
Where: David Rubinstein Atrium at Lincoln Center 
When: 7:30pm and 9pm
The New Standards, a jazz trio composed of Chan Poling, Steve Roehm and John Munson, regularly delight audiences with their whimsical twists on the traditional jazz format. The Minneapolis natives' interpretations run from acoustic late-1960s country through punk right up to pop hits of the last decade. Over their eight-year career, the three have released CDs, appeared in videos and contributed to theater and dance programs. Tonight they put on two shows at the David Rubenstein Atrium, part of Target's Free Thursdays program.  

Friday, December 20
Friday Afternoons at the New York Hall of Science
Where: New York Hall of Science
When: 2–5pm
This hands-on Queens institution offers complimentary admission on winter Friday afternoons (spring and fall, too), the perfect time to take advantage of its family-friendly attractions. Kids and adults will be treated to the confectionary artistry of chef Jon Lovitch in Gingerbread Lane, a candy-coated exhibition that took a year to create. The 300-square-foot result comprises replicas of trains, subways, signs, nutcrackers and more than 150 houses. Other highlights at the museum include the Sports Challenge exhibition, complete with simulations of surfing, drag racing and other sports, and Search for Life Beyond Earth, a scientific look conditions on our planet and those outside our own.  

Saturday, December 21
The Gaits: A High Line Soundwalk
Where: The High Line 
When: 5–6:30pm
To take part in this Make Music Winter parade, grab your smartphone and download The Gaits, an innovative app designed to work in conjunction with a walk along the High Line. Participants stroll through different areas of the park, with the app providing musical accompaniment—timed to each pedestrian's footsteps—composed by Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson and Cameron Britt. Walkers should meet at the High Line's Gansevoort Street entrance to head north together. Wearable speakers will be available to the first 65 attendees, but visitors are encouraged to bring their own just in case.  

Sunday, December 22
Hands On: Paper Bobble Heads
Where: Studio Museum in Harlem
When: 2–4pm
Artist Dave McKenzie's "self-portrait" bobble-head creations from his 2003 project While Supplies Last make another appearance in the Studio Museum of Harlem's exhibition Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, on view through March 9, 2014. The second leg of a two-part survey, the show includes videos, photography and other works collected from over five decades of performance-related art. For this Sunday afternoon program, families will channel the creations of McKenzie, using paper to craft and decorate their own custom bobble heads.   

Monday, December 23
Gingerbread Extravaganza
Where: Le Parker Meridien
When: ongoing
Stunning gingerbread creations take center stage when City Harvest and Le Parker Meridien team up for a festive, charitable holiday display inside the Manhattan hotel's lobby. Pastry chefs, restaurants and bakeries around New York were asked to provide their most innovative sugary designs for the event. The 2013 theme is "Quintessential New York," and participants have gone all out with their structures. Perusing the projects is free, but voting for a contender for best in show takes a $1 donation to City Harvest. Among the participants are Butterfly Bakeshop, David Burke Kitchen, Le Monde and Cupcake Café.  

Tuesday, December 24
Christmas Eve Caroling
Where: Washington Square Park, Washington Arch
When: 5–6pm
On the night before Christmas, bundle up and head to Washington Square Park to take part in a tradition some 90 years strong. Members of the Rob Susman Brass Quartet will lead an hour-long caroling session under the park's famous arch, which frames a 45-foot twinkling tree. Those who gather around can become participants, joining in for a set list of classic holiday tracks—songbooks are given out for those who need a little help remembering the lyrics.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Brookfield Place
    230 Vesey St.
    Manhattan – Battery Park City
    NY 10281
  2. 2
    David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
    Broadway at 62nd St.
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023
  3. 3
    New York Hall of Science
    47-01 111th St.
    Queens – Corona
    NY 11368
  1. 4
    The High Line
    Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10011
  2. 5
    The Studio Museum in Harlem
    144 W. 125th St.
    Manhattan – Harlem
    NY 10027
  3. 6
    Washington Square Park
    W 4th St to Waverly Pl
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
    NY 10003

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