Free This Week


by staff, 05/07/2014

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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.

May 7–13

Wednesday, May 7
The Bronx Trolley: Readings and Conversations with Raquel Cepeda 
Where: The Bronx Museum of the Arts
When: 5:30–7:30pm
On the eve of Bronx Week 2014, journalist and documentary filmmaker Raquel Cepeda reads from Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. The book addresses issues of race and traces the author's investigation into her ancestry. Born in Harlem, Cepeda spent part of her childhood in the Dominican Republic. When she returned to New York in the 1980s, she immersed herself in uptown NYC's hip-hop culture, going on to become a cultural critic and commentator. Later, after her father nearly passed away from heart disease, Cepeda decided to use DNA testing to uncover the roots of her cultural identity. She details the fascinating results in this memoir.

Thursday, May 8
Alexander Calder: Gouaches
Where: Gagosian Gallery
When: 10am–6pm
Colorful works by the prominent 20th-century artist are on display at Gagosian Gallery's Upper East Side location through June 14. Though best known for his sculptures—especially his mobiles—Calder painted, too, and his sense of whimsy is evident in this series of watercolors. Continue your Calder tour by visiting the nearby Whitney Museum of American Art, where works including Calder's Circus are in the permanent collection (admission at the latter venue is charged).

Friday, May 9
Akhil Sharma, Family Life
Where: BookCourt
When: 7pm
The celebrated Indian-American author reads from his latest novel, Family Life, which follows the immigrant experience of the Mishra clan from India to Queens, and the tragedy that befalls their older son, Birju. (The New Yorker recently ran a heartbreaking short story adapted from the novel; as a preview, you can read "A Mistake" online now.) As Birju recovers and his parents grieve, the younger son, Ajay, is forced to construct a life for himself. With well-wrought prose and a darkly comic sensibility, Sharma's novel presents an arresting narrative.

Saturday, May 10
Where: Various locations
When: Various times
The second annual citywide celebration of design runs from May 9 to 20, featuring hundreds of exhibitions, events and talks from industry luminaries. Today, you can view the stylish products of the Fashion Institute of Technology's Graduating Student Exhibition, an interactive installation by Spanish architecture firm LVA, and Letters to the Mayor, an exhibition of 50 missives by internationally acclaimed architects to the leaders of 20 cities around the globe.

Sunday, May 11
Larry Levan Street Party
Where: King Street, between Varick and Hudson Streets
When: noon–6pm
The Red Bull Music Academy Festival pays tribute to late DJ Larry Levan, whose decade-long residency at now-defunct NYC nightclub Paradise Garage helped invent nightlife as we know it today. The club, which was located at 84 King St., hosted superstars including Diana Ross, Grace Jones and Madonna. This afternoon's celebration is part of an initiative to rename this stretch of street "Larry Levan Way," and features DJ sets from local Levan acolytes like François K and Joey Llanos. Drop by after Mother's Day brunch—or bring your mom along.

Monday, May 12
Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour
Where: Various locations
When: 1–6pm
Catch a rare glimpse of artists' studio spaces during this walking tour (which runs May 9–11 as well). The Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour is an artist-run nonprofit initiative that aims to foster connections among artists in the neighborhood and introduce them to the galleries and community at large. A list of participating artists, with links to their studio locations, can be found at

Tuesday, May 13
Free Garment District Walking Tour
Where: Northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and 39th Street
When: 10am
Explore New York City's Garment District during this tour, which is led by veteran guide Mike Kaback and lasts 90 minutes to two hours. You might visit a private showroom, a sample sale, the shop Mood Designer Fabrics and other fashion-centric destinations, all while learning about the neighborhood's historic background and importance. The tour is free, but reservations are required. Make yours by emailing

related venues/(3)

  1. 1
    The Bronx Museum of the Arts
    1040 Grand Concourse
    Bronx – South Bronx
    NY 10456
  2. 2
    163 Court St.
    Brooklyn – Cobble Hill
    NY 11201
  3. 3
    Gagosian Gallery
    980 Madison Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10075

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