Free This Week


by Alyssa Grossman, 02/12/2014

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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 deals section for more free events.

February 12–18

Wednesday, February 12
Book Launch: HRC, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes
Where: powerHouse Arena
When: 7–9pm
Thanks to the work of two White House correspondents who conducted 200-plus interviews with confidants and coworkers of Hillary Clinton's, HRC provides a glimpse into the highs and lows of the former secretary of state's monumental political career. Within the pages of their biography, Jonathan Allen (Politico) and Amie Parnes (The Hill) detail Clinton's struggles and successes, from her loss in the 2008 Democratic primaries to her role in the Obama administration—and her quest to become president. An RSVP is preferred: email or fill out a booking form at

Thursday, February 13
Okamoto Studio: I Heart Ice Sculpture
Where: Brookfield Place 
When: Exhibition 5–8pm; ice carving 5–7pm
To celebrate Valentine's Day, Lower Manhattan's Brookfield Place is offering up an event that's a bit less conventional than a box of chocolates and a fancy dinner—though the New York City–based ice carvers of Okamoto Studio could easily hew both of these out of the frozen stuff. Drop by the Waterfront Plaza between 5pm and 7pm to see the artists transform ordinary ice blocks into Valentine's Day decorations. Over the past decade, Okamoto has earned quite the reputation around town for sculptures of everything from animals to famous NYC buildings. Head inside the Winter Garden at 7:30pm for "The Love Show," a concert of romantic tunes performed by local singers. 

Friday, February 14
Match-Maker by Young Projects
Where: Times Square
When: All day
It's a Times Square tradition: an annual Valentine-themed architecture and design competition in which the winning work is showcased for a month at Duffy Square. For the 2014 event, Young Projects, a design studio based in Brooklyn, joined forces with fabricator Kammetal to create a display inspired by society's fascination with the zodiac. The sculpture, titled Match-Maker, is made of twisting, turning aluminum tubes that offer 12 standing places for participants, based on their individual signs. After taking their positions, guests will be able to gaze through periscopes in the heart-shaped installation and see their top four astrological love matches.  

Saturday, February 15
Great Backyard Bird Count
Where: Queens Botanical Garden
When: 11am–1pm
Dress in layers and get ready to count some wildlife. Now in its 17th year, the four-day Great Backyard Bird Count encourages nature enthusiasts the world over to visit participating locales, tally different species and submit their results to an international database. During this two-hour Saturday window, a guide from the botanical garden will conduct a walk around the grounds, all the better to spot and identify birds—though you're free to tabulate on your own as well. The count helps scientists to better understand avian populations. (Results provide insight into factors like weather, disease and migration patterns.) Email to register.  

Sunday, February 16
New York and the American Revolution
Where: Van Cortlandt Park
When: 1pm
On this 90-minute guided tour, discover the role Van Cortlandt Park played in the American Revolution. The Bronx green space is home to many historically important sites—among them the burial plot on Vault Hill where City records were kept safe from being burned by the British army, and the Van Cortlandt House Museum, where General George Washington stayed more than once; both are on the walk's itinerary.

Monday, February 17
Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!
Where: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 
When: noon–8pm
It's been five decades since the Beatles made their American debut—February 9, 1964, to be exact. John, Paul, George and Ringo performed that day as guests of The Ed Sullivan Show; the rest, of course, is history. In this new exhibition, courtesy of curators at the Grammy Museum, library visitors can travel back to the 1960s, a decade when the Fab Four were at the center of the world's attention. The comprehensive displays include instruments, artifacts and images, along with a station for visitors to chronicle the impact the Beatles had on their own lives. This pop-culture survey goes beyond the music, looking at influences the group had on advertising, fashion and art.  

Tuesday, February 18
Comedy Notebook with Liam McEneaney
Where: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe 
When: 7pm
Get ready for a night of laughs at Housing Works when producer, writer and comedian Liam McEneaney presents an impressive roster of local talent. McEneaney has appeared on Comedy Central and VH1's Best Week Ever, so he knows a thing or two about entertaining audiences. At tonight's event, participants will be challenged to experiment with new approaches to their crafts. Performers include Lizz Winstead, who cocreated The Daily Show and helped found Air America Radio, and singer-songwriter Mike Doughty.  

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    powerHouse Arena
    37 Main St.
    Multiple Locations
    NY 11201
  2. 2
    Brookfield Place
    230 Vesey St.
    Manhattan – Battery Park City
    NY 10281
  3. 3
    Queens Botanical Garden
    43-50 Main St.
    Queens – Flushing
    NY 11355
  1. 4
    Van Cortlandt Park
    Broadway and Jerome Ave.
    Bronx – Woodlawn/Little Ireland
    NY 10467
  2. 5
    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
    111 Amsterdam Ave
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
  3. 6
    Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
    126 Crosby St.
    Manhattan – SoHo
    NY 10012

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