Free This Week


by Christina Parrella , 04/23/2014

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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 23–29

Wednesday, April 23
Brooklyn in Film: The Squid and the Whale
Where: Brooklyn's Central Library, Dweck Center
When: 6:30pm
Writer and director Noah Baumbach's semiautobiographical film The Squid and the Whale is a poignant coming-of-age tale loosely based on the breakup of his parents' marriage. Set mainly in Brooklyn's Park Slope in the mid-1980s, the film follows the Berkman family's two adolescent boys, Walt and Frank, who each act out their conflicts about the separation in ways that are by turns disturbing and hilarious. Baumbach will speak at this event, which is hosted by film critic Glenn Kenny. 

Thursday, April 24
Artists, Poets, and Writers Lecture Series: "Jeff Koons on Sculpture"
Where: The Frick Collection
When: 6–7pm
Last year Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog (Orange), a 10-foot-tall stainless-steel balloon sculpture, sold for a whopping $58.4 million, making it the most expensive work by a living artist ever to be peddled at auction. The artist, known for his candy-colored sculptures of commonplace objects, will discuss the three-dimensional media form, specifically focusing on the significance of small-scale bronzes from the museum's Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection exhibition. Seating is on a first-come first-served basis, so it's best to arrive early. 

Friday, April 25
Smile! A Photo Anthology by VII 
Where: Arts Brookfield Place
When: 8am–6pm
If ever there were an exhibition perfect for using Pharrell’s "Happy" as a soundtrack, it's this one, featuring buoyant candid shots from photography agency VII. While photojournalism typically takes a more po-faced approach in its depiction of everyday life, this grouping captures a range of beaming expressions of individuals from all walks of life—residents of war-torn countries, fans at a Justin Beiber concert and more than 80 other examples. Guests can add their own smile to the exhibit by uploading photos via Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #sharemysmile. Selected images will be added to the show on a rolling basis. 

Saturday, April 26
Family Art Project: Buds, Buds, Buds
Where: Wave Hill 
When: 10am–1pm (grounds admission free until noon)
Wave Hill welcomes the blooming flowers of spring with this Saturday morning family event. Spend some time wandering the Bronx garden's picturesque grounds, keeping an eye on the blossoming trees and flora. Afterward, children can head inside to build and decorate their own trees and flowers using a variety of materials. This event also celebrates Arbor Day.  

Sunday, April 27
Ulysses S. Grant's Birthday Anniversary 
Where: Grant's Tomb 
When: 11am–noon
Celebrate the 192nd birthday of our nation's 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant. The Civil War general is entombed alongside his wife, Julia, in a mausoleum located in Riverside Park (so now you know the trick answer to that age-old question: no one is literally "buried" there). Visitors will be treated to a presentation of the colors, a wreath-laying ceremony and a rifle salute by the United States Military Academy cadets. There will also be various commemorative speeches given, including one by a member of the Grant family. At the conclusion, guests can take a tour of the memorial and admire the mosaic murals depicting scenes from Grant's life (Grant and General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, and the battles of Vicksburg and Chattanooga).  

Monday, April 28
How the Other Half Lives 
Where: Lower East Side Tenement Museum 
When: 6:30pm
In 1890 newspaper reporter Jacob Riis shocked the world when he documented the unsanitary slum conditions of the Lower East Side in his book, How the Other Half Lives. This prose and photography exposé not only made Riis a famous muckraker, but also helped spur reform among New York City's political machine, even inciting change from police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt. This panel discussion touches upon poverty past and present, and ways in which the nation as a whole has responded to it. Journalists Sasha Abramsky and Ted Gup and historian Ethan Sribnick take part in the conversation. 

Tuesday, April 29 
Diane Keaton, Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty 
Where: Barnes & Noble, Union Square  
When: 7pm
Academy Award–winning actor Diane Keaton has spent the past 40 years of her life in appearance-obsessed Hollywood trying to champion an alternative notion of beauty. The Annie Hall actress, who’s more likely to wear a feminine suit than a dress, documents this period of her life and her views on beauty, aging and living in her latest book, Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty. Keaton will be at Barnes & Noble to read from and sign copies of this candid chronicle. 

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    Brooklyn Public Library
    Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Ave
    Brooklyn – Park Slope
    NY 11238
  2. 2
    The Frick Collection
    1 E. 70th St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10021
  3. 3
    arts>Brookfield Place
    230 Vesey St.
    Manhattan – Battery Park City
    NY 10281
  1. 4
    Wave Hill
    675 W. 252nd St.
    Bronx – Riverdale
    NY 10471
  2. 5
    Grant's Tomb
    Riverside Drive and West 122nd Street
    Manhattan – Morningside Heights
    NY 10027
  3. 6
    Lower East Side Tenement Museum
    103 Orchard St.
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
    NY 10002
  1. 7
    Barnes & Noble Union Square
    33 E. 17th St.
    Manhattan – Union Square
    NY 10003

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