Free This Week


by Christina Parrella, 04/30/2014

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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 30–May 6

Wednesday, April 30
Books at Noon with Richard Ravitch
Where: New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Astor Hall
When: noon–1pm
Former New York State lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch details his lifelong career in both the private and public sectors in So Much To Do: A Life of Business, Politics and Confronting Fiscal Crisis. The memoir is full of anecdotes about his activities in state and national public offices as well as with organizations such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Major League Baseball. During this event, Ravitch will discuss his book, his engagement in the New York political scene and the economic crises that face the nation.

Thursday, May 1
Urban Oasis: 30 Years Painting Bronx Parks by Daniel Hauben 
Where: Poe Park Visitor Center
When: 8am–4pm
Artist Daniel Hauben has been painting scenic urban landscapes of his home borough for over 30 years. The colorful oil and pastel works in this exhibition celebrate the lush parkland and foliage of such Bronx gems as the New York Botanical Garden, Wave Hill and St. James Park.

Friday, May 2
A Celebration of Poets Translate Poets: A Hudson Review Anthology
Where: La Maison Française at New York University
When: 2pm
The 10th annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature recognizes writers who have taken risks to challenge the status quo. This three-part event celebrates Poets Translate Poets: A Hudson Review Anthology, a collection of poetry from around the world translated for English readers. Poets and translators Mark Jarman, Johanna Keller and Charles Martin will discuss the works featured in the anthology, and actors Jeff Kline and Alexa de Puivert will perform scenes from Richard Wilbur's translation of the French play Le Cid.

Saturday, May 3
Target First Saturdays
Where: Brooklyn Museum
When: 5–11pm
The touring exhibition Ai Weiwei: According to What?, the first survey shown in North America of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's work, showcases some never-before-seen and recent projects, including S.A.C.R.E.D, a collection of six iron boxes that represents Weiwei's 81-day stay in a prison cell. This event provides an opportunity for visitors to learn more about Ai Weiwei, his work and his crusading past, thanks to music performances, interactive art projects and a slew of discussions, all meant to promote activism through art (though a ticket is required to see the Weiwei exhibition, it's reduced from $15 to $10 on Target First Saturdays). Performers include underground female rap artist Jean Grae as well as the hip-hop duo Magnetic North in collaboration with Taiyo Na.

Sunday, May 4
Food Truck Rally
Where: Grand Army Plaza
When: 11am–5pm
If you're as obsessed with food trucks as the rest of New York City, then you'll want to head to Prospect Park's Grand Army Plaza for some serious sampling. Featured fare includes cheesesteaks, tacos and gourmet ice cream. Later, work off your lunch with a stroll through the 585-acre Prospect Park, home to ball fields, a carousel, zoo and a natural forest habitat. You can also take the kids to free Pop-Up Audobon activities at the park's Binnen Bridge throughout the afternoon.
Monday, May 5
League of Professional Theatre Women: Oral History Project
Where: Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center
When: 6pm
Veteran actress Bebe Neuwirth, who's played all three female leads in Chicago, will discuss her storied theater, television and film career with journalist Patrick Pacheco. This conversation is part of an ongoing series titled "Oral History," which highlights the achievements and influence of women in theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and lines can form up to an hour before the event.

Tuesday, May 6
Accordions Around the World
Where: Bryant Park
When: 5–7:15pm
These squeeze-box specialists will prove once and for all that "Weird Al" Yankovic is not the only successful exemplar around. Happening throughout the park, this musical series offers accordionists from around the globe the opportunity to delight crowds with everything from Latin American sounds to classic polka rhythms. The event, which recurs each Tuesday from today’s debut through the end of July, places emphasis on folk and international genres like zydeco, tango and music from the Balkans. Besides the roving individual performers, a band takes center stage at the Fountain Terrace for a 6pm scheduled performance.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    New York Public Library
    Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10018
  2. 2
    La Maison Française at New York University
    16 Washington Mews
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
  3. 3
    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11238
  1. 4
    Grand Army Plaza
    Fifth Avenue and W 59th Street
    Manhattan – multiple locations
  2. 5
    Bruno Walter Auditorium
    111 Amsterdam Ave
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
  3. 6
    Bryant Park
    Sixth Ave. between 40th and 42nd Sts.
    Manhattan – Midtown West

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