Free This Week


by staff, 07/15/2014

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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.

July 16–22

Wednesday, July 16
Marja Mills, The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee
Where: Barnes & Noble, 86th Street and Lexington Avenue
When: 7pm
Journalist Marja Mills not only interviewed To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee; she moved in next door to Lee's family and became close friends with them. In doing so, she learned how the famous novel affected the Lees' lives, and why the scribe chose not to write another novel. She documents the experience in her new book, The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, which she'll discuss at this event. 

Thursday, July 17
Mobb Deep  
Where: Queensbridge Park
When: 7–9pm
Influential hardcore rap duo Mobb Deep grew up in Queensbridge, and they'll return to the neighborhood to perform a free show. Many critics consider their 1995 album, The Infamous Mobb Deep, which contains songs like "Survival of the Fittest" and "Shook Ones Part II," a classic of the genre.

Friday, July 18
Where: Fort Tilden and Rockaway Beach Surf Club
When: noon­–midnight (Fort Tilden closes at 6pm, the surf club stays open late)
In celebration of Fort Tilden's reopening after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, this summer-long public arts exhibition brings all kinds of works to the Rockaways. Highlighting it are installations and photography by godmother of punk, Renaissance woman and Rockaway resident Patti Smith. Also included: sculptures scattered around Fort Tilden by Argentinean artist Adrián Villar Rojas, a MoMA PS1–backed group exhibition at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club and, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, Janet Cardiff's re-creation of a 16th-century choral work, set in Fort Tilden's military chapel.

Saturday, July 19
Art Island Outpost
Where: Governors Island
When: 11am–3pm
Take the kids out to Governors Island for lessons in how to create and appreciate art, led by teaching artists from the Children's Museum of the Arts. The subject matter will be broad: participants may play, make movies or turn discarded items into art that they can take home. Can't make it this week? The workshops are scheduled for every Saturday and Sunday through September 28.

Sunday, July 20
Queens Family Day
Where: Queensbridge Park
When: 4–7pm
Queens Family Day is a chance for kids to enjoy the music of jazz luminaries like Louis Armstrong and develop an appreciation for the genre. Families can watch live performances from the 15-piece Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and award-winning musician Michael Mossman, as well as dance exploits from celebrated tap dancer and choreographer Rashida Bumbray. Also on tap, so to speak: dance and music lessons where kids can start learning to create the kinds of tunes they're hearing in the park, plus face-painting stations (we're not sure where face painting falls into the great jazz tradition, but kids love it).

Monday, July 21
New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger
Where: Rumsey Playfield, Central Park
When: 6–10pm
Musician and activist Pete Seeger will be honored by a plethora of indie, rock and folk musicians including Anti-Flag, Amanda Palmer and Steve Earle. The show's organizers, who will also recognize singer and activist Harry Belafonte, hope to use music as a means of inspiring young people to become involved in politics and their communities. 

Tuesday, July 22
Edward Scissorhands
Where: Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, West Village
When: 8:15–10pm
Screened as part of an NYC Parks summer film series, Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands stars Johnny Depp as the titular trimmer-pawed character who—alone after his creator's death—is discovered by an Avon saleswoman and falls in love with her teenage daughter (played by Winona Ryder). Doors open one hour prior to start time, and only the first 50 guests will get in—so be sure to arrive early (and bring your own blanket).

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Barnes & Noble 86th & Lexington Ave
    150 E. 86th St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  2. 2
    Queensbridge Park
    Vernon Blvd
    Queens – multiple locations
    NY 11101
  3. 3
    Fort Tilden Beach
    Beach 169th Street
  1. 4
    Governors Island
    New York Harbor
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004
  2. 5
    Central Park's Rumsey Playfield
    Enter Central Park at Fifth Avenue & 69th Street
  3. 6
    Tony Dapolito Recreation Center
    1 Clarkson St
    Manhattan – West Village

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