Free This Week


by staff, 09/23/2014

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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 Save the Date section for more free events.

September 24–30

Wednesday, September 24
"Somebody Come and Play:" 45 Years of Sesame Street Helping Kids Grow Smarter, Stronger, and Kinder 
Where: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
When: noon–6pm
Celebrate the children's television giant with Oscar, Grover and other furry friends at this exhibition, which runs through January. Items on display include animation cells, behind-the-scenes footage, a model of the early-1990s version of the set and highlight reels, including the many celebrities who've made guest appearances on the show. (We doff our caps to you, Katy Perry.) Note for parents: the show features a hands-on area where kids can create their own art work, read Sesame Street books and play with games and apps. 

Thursday, September 25
10:04: Ben Lerner in Conversation with Lorin Stein 
Where: McNally Jackson
When: 7pm
Poet-novelist Ben Lerner discusses his new novel, 10:04, with a friend, Paris Review editor Lorin Stein. The former's widely lauded debut, Leaving the Atocha Station, is about an American poet, living in Madrid on a fellowship, attempting to write a long narrative poem about the Spanish Civil War; Lerner's new novel is told by an unnamed narrator, a literary success story living in New York City, confronted by challenges both atmospheric (superstorms) and biological (becoming a dad). If previous appearances are any indication, the conversation between the two should be both stimulating and incredibly articulate—Lerner and Stein both have a tendency to speak in paragraphs so complete, you'll picture the indented margins.

Friday, September 26
Where: BAMcafé
When: 10pm
Enjoy electronic dreamscapes courtesy of this accomplished duo, currently at work on their third full-length recording. The band, which features the vocal talents of Anna Wise (who contributed to Kendrick Lamar's second album), offers an airy, atmospheric experience—the sort of sophisticated stuff that makes cocktails go down extra smooth. (Note: drinks aren't free.) Prep by listening to Sonnymoon on YouTube now. 

Saturday, September 27
DUMBO Arts Festival 
Where: various locations (check for details) 
When: noon–9pm
With its industrial spaces easily converted to studios, DUMBO has undergone a radical transformation into a thriving community for art and design. The DUMBO Arts Festival honors that creativity with an all-out three-day festival (September 26–28) that draws a couple hundred thousand visitors to around 100 open studios, 50 galleries and stages and no shortage of art and performance spilling out from work spaces and storefronts into the streets—with outdoor installations, murals, large-scale projections and plenty of poets, dancers and buskers plying their trades.

Sunday, September 28
Atlantic Antic 
Where: Atlantic Avenue, between Hicks Street and Fourth Avenue
When: noon–6pm
The annual street fair along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn celebrates its 40th anniversary this year; families will find entertaining diversions like pony rides, face painting, live music, shopping and culinary creations from around the globe. The mile-long festival has become a much-anticipated neighborhood tradition, attracting thousands of revelers every year. 

Monday, September 29
Songbook: Broadway's Future 
Where: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
When: 6pm
Get a preview of musical things to come at this concert, which features the talents of Broadway performers Douglas Lyons and Ethan Pakchar. The songwriting duo met while members of the touring version of Book of Mormon (which, if you haven't seen it, is really, truly, very funny) and have since gone on to perform in a variety of Broadway hits, release a record together called #Love (Live) and play shows to sold-out audiences at clubs around town. Tonight they're offering you the opportunity to see them gratis.

Tuesday, September 30
Bryant Park Activities 
Where: Bryant Park
When: various times
Located directly adjacent to the main branch of the New York Public Library, Bryant Park offers a natural oasis in the midst of Midtown's skyscrapers. The green space also features a variety of free activities: you can play board games like Scrabble, practice on a putting green, challenge an opponent to chess or backgammon and even have the kids get juggling lessons (adults welcome too!).

related venues/(4)

  1. 1
    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
    111 Amsterdam Ave
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
  2. 2
    McNally Jackson
    52 Prince St.
    Manhattan – NoLIta
    NY 10012
  3. 3
    30 Lafayette Ave
    Brooklyn – Fort Greene
  1. 4
    Bryant Park
    Sixth Ave. between 40th and 42nd Sts.
    Manhattan – Midtown West

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