Free This Week


by Alyssa Grossman, 01/07/2014

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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 for more free events.

January 8–14

Wednesday, January 8
Visit the Staten Island Zoo
Where: Staten Island Zoo
When: 2–4:45pm
Take a scenic wintertime ferry ride to this animal institution, home to leopards, meerkats, owls, aquatic life and an impressive array of rattlesnakes. Stroll the grounds and see a couple hundred species from around the world. There's no need to worry about the cold, either—most of the zoo's exhibits are inside, sheltered from the elements. Wednesday afternoon's free admission is the perfect excuse to visit the zoo—and then check out everything else Staten Island has to offer, including Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Museum and plenty of dining destinations.

Thursday, January 9
Rockefeller Center: Architecture, Sculpture, and the Rockettes 
Where: New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
When: 1:15–2:30pm
Rockefeller Center is known for its striking interiors and enduring cultural contributions to New York City. Constructed during the heart of the Great Depression, the complex saw its first building open in 1932 (the centerpiece GE Building née RCA Building, or 30 Rock, was completed the following year), despite enormous political and economic odds; the place remains a staple of NYC's landscape today. (Read about what to see and do there in our feature.) As part of the Lectures from the Allen Room series, writer in residence Seth Gopin shares his passion for urban development and discusses the history of the center. The event takes place in the library's South Court Auditorium; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Friday, January 10 
Next One's On Me! A Reading Celebrating the Paperback Launch of Drinking with Men
Where: Housing Works Bookstore Café 
When: 7pm
Rosie Schaap likes to drink. The author—a columnist for The New York Times Magazine—grew up around bars, first mingling with travelers in the bar car of trains and later working as a bartender in Brooklyn. Her memoir, Drinking with Men, chronicles the relationships formed between memorable patrons who have pulled up a stool for some conversation and a quaff or two. Schaap's companions have included a range of characters, among them ironworkers and expatriates, all with vibrant stories to tell. The event will feature accounts—poetic and otherwise—from other alcohol-friendly authors, including Wyn Cooper, Blaise Allysen Kearsley, Katherine Lanpher and David Wondrich.  

Saturday, January 11
Family Art Project: Kandinsky Colors and Toscanini Sounds
Where: Wave Hill
When: 10am–1pm
Admission to Wave Hill is free until noon on Saturdays, affording families the easy chance to pair a tour of the picturesque garden with a morning of art. Today's workshop pays tribute to Wassily Kandinsky, the Russian painter who often drew artistic inspiration from song. To test Kandinsky's creative process, Arturo Toscanini, a conductor who spent time as a Wave Hill resident, provides the musical inspiration for children's artworks. Then kids can use a rainbow of tempera paints to create a vibrant take-home project. Before and after the art activity, families are welcome to explore the garden grounds.  

Sunday, January 12
Swedish Performing Arts for Children and Young Audiences 
Where: Scandinavia House
When: 11am
Scandinavia House is known for making Nordic culture accessible to visitors of all ages. At this event, Sweden's performance scene comes to Manhattan in the form of Aston's Stones, a theatrical work appropriate for kids ages 3 and up. The play follows a dedicated dog that has a habit of finding stones and bringing them home, much to the concern of his parents. 

Monday, January 13
Motown on Mondays
Where: Brooklyn Bowl
When: Doors 6pm, show 8pm
Kick off the week at Brooklyn Bowl, when San Francisco–based touring DJ team Motown on Mondays brings its soulful brand of dance music to Williamsburg's signature bowling alley cum performance venue. Enjoy Motown, funk and disco, plus one-of-a-kind remixes and customized versions of the classics. The night features New York–born DJ Wisdom, who made his way around the San Francisco party scene after getting his start on the radio interviewing the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, Common and Jay Z. He entertains audiences with an eclectic mix of hip-hop, Latin and Caribbean sounds. The event costs $5 at the door, but those who RSVP online are admitted for free.  

Tuesday, January 14
Greenlight Cookbook Club: Balaboosta
Where: Greenlight Bookstore  
When: 7:30pm
Bring your appetite for this one. The Greenlight Cookbook Club celebrates author, chef and mom Einat Admony and her first compilation of recipes, Balaboosta. The title of Admony's book, which translates from Yiddish as "perfect housewife," is also the name of her celebrated NoLIta restaurant. Balaboosta contains around 140 recipes that blend the author-chef's Israeli roots with the Mediterranean flavors she adapted from working in the City's restaurant scene. Local dining aficionado Grant Bremer leads a tasting and discussion about the book. RSVP to  

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    Staten Island Zoo
    614 Broadway
    Staten Island
    NY 10310
  2. 2
    New York Public Library
    Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10018
  3. 3
    Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
    126 Crosby St.
    Manhattan – SoHo
    NY 10012
  1. 4
    Wave Hill
    675 W. 252nd St.
    Bronx – Riverdale
    NY 10471
  2. 5
    Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America
    58 Park Ave.
    Manhattan – Murray Hill
    NY 10016
  3. 6
    Brooklyn Bowl
    61 Wythe Ave.
    Brooklyn – Williamsburg
    NY 11249
  1. 7
    Greenlight Bookstore
    686 Fulton St
    Brooklyn – Fort Greene
    NY 11217

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