Free This Week


by Alyssa Grossman, 04/02/2014

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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.

April 2–8

Wednesday, April 2
BCA Bronx Culture Trolley Night: Readings and Conversations
Where: The Bronx Museum of the Arts
When: 5:30–7:30pm
On the first Wednesday of each month, the Bronx Culture Trolley treats riders to an evening of entertainment around the borough. One stop on tonight's itinerary is the Bronx Museum of the Arts, where you can meet the duo who published the artistic recipe book Ten Dinners in Havana, Craig Shillitto and Elizabeth M. Grady. To create the cookbook, teams of one American chef and one Cuban chef were paired up to collaborate on dishes; each chef had to provide a recipe. The volume is packed with photos of Havana markets, farms and streets, along with illustrations from Shillitto. The evening will also include a complimentary bar (though donations for drinks are recommended). The trolley departs from Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos Community Collage at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30pm and makes stops at several other cultural hot spots, each with their own programming. 

Thursday, April 3
Central Park: Heart of the Park Tour
Where: Central Park, East 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue
When: noon–1:30pm
The great thing about Central Park is that even locals who've spent years wandering the green space likely haven't explored all the scenic spots and history the famous expanse has to offer. Participants in this jaunt will meet on the Upper East Side—at East 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue, not quite mid-park level—and travel west. Led by an expert guide, attendees will become acquainted with Bethesda Fountain, an ode to the Croton water system that began bringing fresh water to New Yorkers in 1842, and the sundial-equipped Waldo Hutchins Bench. Participants will also make a stop at Conservatory Water to view the fleets of small, wind-powered boats. 

Friday, April 4
First Fridays
Where: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
When: 6–9pm
As part of the First Fridays series, Harlem's Schomburg Center gives library goers an opportunity to take in its exhibitions after hours and sip drinks while enjoying a DJ set. Currently on display is Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution, which explores the influx of black characters in animated Hollywood shorts during the early to mid-1900s and the shift toward more positive portrayals in the 1960s and '70s. Visitors can also check out Motown: The Truth Is a Hit, a historically detailed ode to Berry Gordy and Motown Records, and photographer Kenneth B. Goldberg's contemporary documentation of key locations of the civil rights movement in The Deep South–Then & Now. Visit the Schomburg Center's Eventbrite page to RSVP.

Saturday, April 5
Prospect Park Opening Day
Where: Various locations, Prospect Park
When: 10am–4pm
It's been an unusually snowy winter, but spring is here at last—and Prospect Park kicks things off in style. In the morning, local Little League players march from Park Slope to the Prospect Park Bandshell to throw 2014's first pitch. Near the Audubon Center, children will get a lesson in nature and composting and embark on a bird-watching session with a naturalist. Over at Lefferts Historic House, families can plant flax, water the garden, play old-time games and craft souvenir buttons. The Prospect Park Alliance will also host volunteer activities from 10am–1pm for those eager to help beautify the grounds for future visitors.

Sunday, April 6
Seventh Annual National Grid Earth Day Celebration [PDF]
Where: Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
When: 3pm
Technically, Earth Day isn't until April 22, but the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts is starting the eco-festivities early. Participate in this family-friendly Brooklyn tradition to learn about the planet through hands-on projects and a slew of entertainment offerings. The free afternoon of outdoor programming includes live performances like drumming and a puppet show, craft activities, art projects and a lineup of street performers, all in the name of conservation, recycling and helping the planet. The event will also feature storytelling and a yoga session for the younger set. 

Monday, April 7
Nonlinear Lineage: Now and Then
Where: Abrons Arts Center
When: 7pm
Abrons Arts Center celebrates the past and the present during this reading series featuring what organizers refer to as "performance texts (and texts about performance)." Taking the spotlight tonight are Lenora Champagne, who earned a doctorate in performance studies from New York University, and dancer-actor Aaron Mattocks. Each will share one current piece of work and one that was completed some time ago in an effort to understand how trends within the performance world have shifted. Following the readings, Champagne and Mattocks will participate in a Q&A session and informal conversation with audience members. 

Tuesday, April 8
Art Into Music
Where: BRIC House
When: 10am–8pm
Many people turn up the music to get inspired; only a few turn that inspiration into exhibition-worthy art. But for one of BRIC House's latest displays, 12 artists have done just that. The projects are diverse—collage, painting, video and sculpture are just some of the approaches used—as are the musical mediums that helped fuel the creativity, like records and boom boxes. Still, all of the contemporary art pieces have one thing in common: an in-depth exploration of the intersection of popular culture and art. The exhibition, curated by the center's director of contemporary art, Elizabeth Ferrer, will feature a listening station where visitors can hear the playlists that prompted each artists' work or set the soundtrack for their sessions.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    The Bronx Museum of the Arts
    1040 Grand Concourse
    Bronx – South Bronx
    NY 10456
  2. 2
    Central Park
    Between Fifth Ave. and Central Park West
    Manhattan – Central Park
    NY 10024
  3. 3
    Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
    515 Malcolm X Blvd.
    New York – Harlem
    NY 10037
  1. 4
    Prospect Park
    95 Prospect Park West
    Multiple Locations
    NY 11215
  2. 5
    Abrons Arts Center at the Henry Street Settlement
    466 Grand Street
    New York
    NY 10002
  3. 6
    BRIC House
    647 Fulton St.
    Brooklyn – Fort Greene
    NY 11217

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