Free This Week


by Alyssa Grossman, 05/28/2014

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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 special offers section for more free events.

May 28–June 3

Wednesday, May 28
Wednesday Night Tour: Bringing the Park to Life 
Where: Brooklyn Bridge Park 
When: 6:30pm
Nearly every inch of New York City is packed with history, and Brooklyn Bridge Park's 85 acres and surrounding buildings along the East River are no exception. The green space's creative interpretation of the urban environment is the highlight of this Wednesday evening walk led by Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Ample entertainment and wide-open spaces for taking in those picturesque views weren't always the case here. The site originally served the cargo needs of the Port Authority, but that came to a halt in the 1980s. Though the park, with its pop-up pool, Jane's Carousel and play spaces (just to name a few of its offerings), is already a borough staple, construction on the 1.3-mile stretch only started in 2009. On this tour, discover how the park came to be and where it's going in the future. An RSVP is required, and participants should be prepared for some walking.  

Thursday, May 29 
We're All Mad Here: The Marx Brothers in Context 
Where: New York Public Library, Mid-Manhattan Branch
When: 6:30pm
Its been 100 years since brothers Chico, Harpo, Groucho and Gummo (born Leonard, Adolph, Julius and Milton; a fifth brother, Zeppo, née Herbert, joined them after Gummo left to fight in WWI) got those famous Marx Brothers names during a poker game. As Marxfest, a monthlong celebration in the family's hometown, comes to a close, the New York Public Library hosts a night of comedy and context. Vaudeville performer Trav S.D. will lead a discussion that travels back to when the Marx Brothers were merely aspiring artists who looked up to the likes of Weber & Fields and Smith & Dale. The talk will have a visual component; expect to see clips of routines by acts who were contemporaries of, or influenced by, the brothers. To see a full Marx Brothers feature, show up earlier in the day (2pm) for a screening of Horse Feathers at the Epiphany Branch of the NYPL. For more on Marxfest, check out the festival's full calendar.  

Friday, May 30
Launchpad of the American Theater: The O'Neill Since 1964  
Where: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
When: noon–6pm
The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, in Waterford, Connecticut, has an exhibition-worthy history. Find scripts, video footage, photos and drawings from the company and venue on display in Launchpad of the American Theater, at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The O'Neill got its start back in 1964 and has since showcased the work of emerging artists in mediums from puppetry to plays to musicals. In honor of this theater stalwart's 50 years of entertainment and education, the library spotlights its past, present and future. Memorabilia includes original manuscripts, video footage of artists and the center's two Tony awards, earned in 1979 and 2010. 

Saturday, May 31
Staten Island RC Modelers Fourth Annual Charity Fly-In 
Where: La Tourette Park
When: 10am–5pm
Enjoy a spring day on Staten Island with this family-friendly tradition that gives back to the community. Once a year, the Staten Island RC (radio control) Modelers, a group of enthusiasts of all ages, hosts this charity event. Pilots on the ground will show off their high-flying talents, navigating models that span from the WWI era to the present day. While this all-day event is focused on flight, the organization, founded in 1973, also works on cars, boats and "almost anything you can put a receiver into and make move." Expect plenty of tricks and goodwill: the group's charity of choice for its event is Staten Island Children's Campaign, which raises money for 15 borough nonprofits that give back to area kids. Note: while the event is free, donations will be accepted. 

Sunday, June 1
The Ultimate Science Street Fair 
Where: Washington Square Park
When: 10am–6pm
The World Science Festival is back in town, bringing with it five days of panels, lectures, screenings and more. On June 1, the final day of the fest, organizers are taking things outdoors in Washington Square Park (more free outdoor events will take place in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and some ticketed programs will occur indoors) for a celebration packed with games, performances and hands-on experiments geared toward all ages and levels of science know-how. The packed guest list includes 50 organizations prepped to entertain and educate curious passersby with displays inspired by space, weather and robots. The street fair takes the word ultimate pretty seriously: a NASA mobile exhibit, a hurricane simulator and several robot-training challenges are just a few of the interactive offerings available. 

Monday, June 2
Rachel Feinstein: Folly
Where: Madison Square Park
When: 6am–midnight (regular park hours)
Madison Square Park has had some memorable art exhibitions over the years, and this summer's is heavy on the whimsy. Artist Rachel Feinstein makes her US debut with Folly, three displays made from thin metal panels, inspired by architectural follies popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Like those creations, hers look almost livable at first glance, but their purpose is more decorative than practical. Still, the striking constructions should fire up the imaginations of onlookers. Feinstein's work includes a house atop a cliff, a fanciful hut and, in one of the park's trees, a "flying" ship—all adorned with intricate detail.  

Tuesday, June 3
Sunset Salsa
Where: Hudson River Park, 14th Street Park
When: 6:30pm
If there's something you want to learn in New York City, odds are, if you search for it, you'll find it for free. Enter Hudson River Park's Sunset Salsa series, a recurring Tuesday night gathering for those looking to learn the ropes or simply get their feet moving under the stars. Far more scenic than a dance party and at absolutely no cost, this open-air session caters to beginner and professional salsa dancers alike, so newbies shouldn't shy away. If you are new to the dance form, it's probably best to arrive for the lesson, which takes place from 6:30–7:15pm. Following that, the real party gets started, with premier DJs providing the rhythm-packed soundtrack.  

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Brooklyn Bridge Park
    334 Furman St.
    Brooklyn – DUMBO
    NY 11201
  2. 2
    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
    111 Amsterdam Ave
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
  3. 3
    La Tourette Park Golf Course
    1001 Richmond Hill Road
    Staten Island – Richmond Town
    NY 10306
  1. 4
    Madison Square Park
    23rd to 26th Sts. (bet. Fifth and Madison Aves.)
    Manhattan – Flatiron District
    NY 10010
  2. 5
    Washington Square Park
    W 4th St to Waverly Pl
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
    NY 10003
  3. 6
    Hudson River Park
    West Side Highway, bet. Battery Place and W. 59th St.
    Manhattan – multiple locations
    NY 10014

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