Free This Week


by Alyson Penn, 01/21/2015

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There's always something exciting to do or 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.

January 21–27

Wednesday, January 21
Vist the Staten Island Zoo 
Where: Staten Island Zoo
When: 2pm
Opened in 1936, the Staten Island Zoo is one of the southernmost borough's highlights—a kid-friendly conservation facility acclaimed for its Serpentarium, which houses an extensive collection of rattlesnakes. (The institution was the first of its kind in the world to feature all 32 varieties that are found in the US.) The zoo also cares for many warm-blooded creatures, with more than 800 species on display, including ostriches, otters and a pair of amur leopards. Receive free admission to the grounds every Wednesday after 2pm.

Thursday, January 22
Subway Art Tour  
Where: Cosi Cafe, 51st Street and Broadway
When: 2–4pm
Free Tours by Foot takes visitors underground into the fascinating—and frequently unexpected—world of subway art. Led by Bronx-born tour guide Darryl Reilly, this two-hour walking and train-riding excursion travels to more than a dozen Manhattan and Brooklyn subway stations. Tour goers will get to see a selection of municipally commissioned art works, including Tom Otterness' whimsical bronze figures in the Eighth Avenue and 14th Street Station, and Liliana Porter's Alice in Wonderland mosaic at Broadway and 50th Street.

Friday, January 23
Las Meninas Renacen de Noche (Las Meninas Reborn in the Night)
Where: Luhring Augustine
When:  10am–6pm
Inspired by Diego Velázquez's 17th-century painting Las Meninas, this mind-bending photo exhibition from Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura features Morimura himself representing each character in the original artwork. In some images, the artist even places the characters in Madrid's Museo Nacional del Prado gallery—home to the original—where they gaze at their figures in Velázquez's work. (The metacritical nature of the exhibition is suggested by Las Meninas itself; the painting has long been renowned for posing questions about reality and illusion.) This isn't Morimura's first attempt at mining this vein, either: the artist is well known for appropriating works by famous artists and placing himself within them, including Olympia, Mona Lisa and Girl with a Pearl Earring. It's close to your last chance to see it; the show closes the following day.

Saturday, January 24
Winter Jam
Where: Central Park Bandshell
When: 11am–3pm
Enjoy a wintry day in Central Park as the NYC Parks Department teams up with Gore Mountain Ski Resort, among other partners, to cover the area around the Naumburg Bandshell with a fresh blanket of snow. (Mother Nature, of course, might come in for the assist.) The public is invited to snowshoe, take skiing and snowboarding lessons, or just lie back and create snow angels. The best part? All equipment is provided at no cost (although you can bring your own). For those who would rather shop and eat than sled, there will be a winter market.

Sunday, January 25
Birding: Winter Waterfowl
Where: Willowbrook Park 
When: 11am
Expert Staten Island park rangers will help you spot the birds that call Willowbrook Park home for the winter. Embark on a guided walk to observe a variety of ducks, such as the bufflehead and hooded merganser, along with other waterfowl, in their natural habitat: a five-acre lake in the park's northwest corner. Willowbrook is part of the Greenbelt, a network of protected wetlands, forests and other wildlife spaces in the borough. 

Monday, January 26 
Movement Research
Where: Judson Memorial Church
When: 8pm
On select Monday nights throughout the winter, Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village hosts dance performances by Movement Research. A rotating group of artists chooses the performers to be showcased, each of whom focuses on works in progress rather than polished pieces. (Expect a delightful amount of experimentation.) Tonight's lineup features Jane Gotch, I Am a Boys Choir, Macklin Kowai and Elina Lutce, the 2014 artist in residence.

Tuesday, January 27
Gayle Forman, I Was Here
Where: Barnes & Noble Tribeca
When: 11:30am–12:30pm
Young adult author Gayle Forman celebrates the launch of her latest novel, I Was Here, a heartbreaking story about a girl named Cody dealing with (and investigating) the suicide of her best friend. Maria Russo, children's book editor at the New York Times Book Review, will interview Forman. To date the Brooklyn-based author is best known for If I Stay, her 2009 work that was recently adapted into a movie; at this event, she will be accompanied by other popular YA authors E. Lockhart (We Were Liars) and Libba Bray (The Diviners). 

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Staten Island Zoo
    614 Broadway
    Staten Island
    NY 10310
  2. 2
    NYC Subway Art Tour
    meeting point: inside Cosi Cafe, 51st St. and Broadway
    Manhattan – Times Square
    NY 10019
  3. 3
    Central Park Bandshell
    Mid-park, 66th to 72nd Sts
    Manhattan – Central Park
  1. 4
    Willowbrook Park
    1 Eton Pl.
    Staten Island
    NY 10314
  2. 5
    Judson Memorial Church
    55 Washington Square South
    Manhattan – multiple locations
    NY 10012
  3. 6
    Barnes & Noble Tribeca
    97 Warren St
    Manhattan – TriBeCa

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