Free This Week


by staff, 01/14/2014

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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 and special offers section for more free events.

January 15–21

Wednesday, January 15
Happy Birthday Edgar!
Where: Bronx Archives Building, Bronx County Historical Society  
When: 6:30–7:30pm
Edgar Allan Poe spent the last years of his life (specifically, 1846 to 1849) in a clapboard house, since renamed Poe Cottage, up in the Bronx; while there, he penned such classics as the poem "The Bells" and the short story "The Cask of Amontillado." Celebrate these works and their author at a birthday bash—Poe's 205th—held at the Bronx Archives Building, two doors down from the Bronx Historical Society offices. The event features a presentation covering Poe's legacy in the Bronx and the cottage's restoration, as well as a reading of one of the pieces he wrote during his time there.

Thursday, January 16
Fashion Jewelry
Where: Museum of Arts and Design
When: 6–9pm
Avid couture jewelry collector Barbara Berger may have one of the most coveted accessories collections around. Her bounty includes custom-made necklaces, brooches and bracelets from the likes of Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Dior—all meant to be worn with expensive designer duds. The pieces—among them, the "Fourth of July" bib necklace by Lawrence Vrba and Marcel Boucher's "Praying Mantis" brooch, with colored enamel and rhinestones—form a gorgeous display at the museum and are further highlighted in the book Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger. Visitors can see the collection, on show through April 20, for free on Thursday evenings.

Friday, January 17
Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves
Where: The Museum of Modern Art
When: 4–8pm
Making references to the tragic 2004 drowning of 23 Chinese cockle pickers off the northwest coast of England—in which a team of workers were trapped by a quickly rising tide and were unable to reach safety—this 55-minute film installation is a lyrical, thoughtful meditation on Chinese culture, history and myths. Julien shot footage that features actress Maggie Cheung in the role of a sea goddess and re-created sections of the 1934 movie The Goddess, a classic silent film set in Shanghai. These narratives and others, along with additional images, are projected onto nine double-sided screens in the museum's atrium. The show interweaves the worlds of modern and old Shanghai with music and sounds that blend Eastern and Western tonalities. The exhibition runs until February 17.

Saturday, January 18
Ice Festival
Where: Central Park, Bethesda Terrace
When: noon–3pm
The winter months in NYC are the perfect time to enjoy the crisp air, sparser crowds and seasonal activities in Central Park. At the annual Ice Festival at Bethesda Terrace, you can watch skilled ice carvers from Okamoto Studio in Long Island City, Queens, chisel blocks of ice into remarkable replicas of the terrace's features, such as the Angel of the Waters sculpture in Bethesda Fountain. Between periods spent marveling at the artists' skills, enjoy listening to guides discuss the history and design of Bethesda Terrace.

Sunday, January 19
Panorama of the City of New York Tour
Where: Queens Museum
When: 4:30pm
A central structure for the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs—and the former home of the General Assembly of the United Nations—the pay-what-you-wish Queens Museum (suggested donation $8) is rich with history. The newly expanded museum—a massive renovation was finished in November—features exciting temporary exhibitions, a collection of Tiffany glass and the Panorama of the City of New York, an impressively detailed 9,335-square-foot scale model of NYC that features every building constructed before 1992 as well as a few newer structures, such as Citi Field—home of the New York Mets—and Brooklyn Bridge Park. The guided tour of the diorama will give visitors insider details about its construction and assembly.

Monday, January 20
Animation Celebration! 2014
Where: National Museum of the American Indian 
When: 10:30am–2pm
The National Museum of the American Indian's annual animation showcase features screenings of shorts created by filmmakers from Canada and influenced by the visual style of Anishnaabe artist Norval Morrisseau, whose work is shown in the museum's exhibition Before and After the Horizon. Films such as Why the Rabbit Turns White and How Wesakechak Got His Name relate tales of the Native American mythological figure Wesakechak and the challenges faced by animals, humans and nature. Another short, Shared Visions: The Art of Storytelling, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the prophetic tale Stories from the Seventh Fire. Films are shown throughout the day in the museum's second-floor screening room. 

Tuesday, January 21
Fact of the Matter
Where: Socrates Sculpture Park at 1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery
When: 6–8pm
Socrates Sculpture Park, in collaboration with the 1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery, hosts the opening reception of Fact of the Matter, the first off-site exhibition presented by the sculpture park in over 20 years. Featuring nine sculptors, among them Ursula von Rydingsvard and Chakaia Booker, the show explores the relationship between the artists and their medium of choice—each specializes in working with a particular material, such as rubber, wood, steel, plastic or ceramic. The exhibition reveals how the artists have built on the visual vocabulary of these elements, pushing their aesthetic possibilities while grappling with their constraints.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    The Bronx County Historical Society
    3309 Bainbridge Ave.
    NY 10467
  2. 2
    Museum of Arts and Design
    2 Columbus Circle
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 3
    The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA
    11 W. 53rd St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  1. 4
    Bethesda Terrace/Fountain
    Mid-park at 72nd St.
    New York – Central Park
  2. 5
    Queens Museum
    New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
    Queens – Flushing
    NY 11368
  3. 6
    National Museum of the American Indian—NY
    1 Bowling Green
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004

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