Free This Week


by Christina Parrella, 10/22/2014

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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.

Wednesday, October 22
Marcus Samuelsson in Conversation with Gail Simmons
Where: Barnes & Noble, 86th and Lexington Ave
When: 7pm
Four years ago chef Marcus Samuelsson opened the Harlem hotspot Red Rooster, which serves local-meets-global comfort food that celebrates Harlem's roots. The restaurant has consistently generated acclaim and big crowds, but somehow Samuelsson—Ethiopian-born, Swedish-bred Top Chef Masters winner—has found the time to write a new book. Meet the renowned chef at this event, where he will be discussing Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home, a collection of cuisine-hopping recipes from his domestic kitchen. Top Chef judge Gail Simmons will moderate the event. 

Thursday, October 23
Lantern Tour at Fort Wadsworth 
Where: Fort Wadsworth (meet at Building 120)
When: 7–9pm
Just ahead of Halloween, this event combines history and a touch of spookiness at one of the City's oldest military forts. Join park rangers at Staten Island's Fort Wadsworth to explore the dark tunnels and passageways of one of its batteries, Fort Tompkins. Originally built in the shape of a pentagon—and now more a quadrangle—Fort Tompkins has multiple tower fortresses, allowing for extensive territory to explore. The two-hour tour, which begins at 7pm, requires a reservation (make one by calling 718-354-4655). Tour organizers recommend that visitors bring a flashlight, unless you prefer a more frightening experience—ghosts purportedly lurk around the former military stronghold. 

Friday, October 24
Seasonal Crafts
Where: Poe Park Visitor Center 
When: 2–3:30pm
Bring the family to Poe Park for a midafternoon arts and crafts session. Kids can make seasonal and holiday-themed items to take home before the holidays start. Also on site is the 200-year-old Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, home to the American writer and poet in his final years and where he penned "Annabel Lee," among other works. 

Saturday, October 25 
CMJ: Trouble in Mind Showcase 
Where: Rough Trade  
When: 2pm
When the indie-oriented CMJ Music Marathon hits New York City, scores of bands from all around the world take over the City's rock clubs. This afternoon show, put on by the eclectic pop and avant-garde label Trouble in Mind, features songwriter Doug Tuttle, garage rockers Negative Scanner and psychedelic-rock acts The Paperhead and Ultimate Painting. Doors open at 1pm. 

Sunday, October 26
Howlin' Halloween with FiDi Families 
Where: South Street Seaport
When: 11am–1pm
Get into the Halloween spirit with this waterfront event, which includes a trick-or-treat parade, photo booth, pumpkin-decorating station and healthy snacks to balance out a sugar rush. The family-friendly festivities kick off with a children's music program featuring the interactive fun of Music for Aardvarks, and then segue into a costume parade through the historic seaport—so make sure to put on your best get-up. Feel free to dress up your pet as well, since they're also eligible to win best costume prizes.

Monday, October 27
Canstruction: Pre-Competition Special Sculpture & Food Drive
Where: One Liberty Plaza, 245 Park Avenue and Grace Building lobbies 
When: 10am–6pm
Canstruction is an annual contest in which competitors craft all manner of creations—giant electric mixers, rocket ships, cartoon characters, skulls, castles and other fantastical pieces—entirely from cans. The artworks ingeniously showcase how color and form are achieved through placement of the pixel-like containers. Before a new slate of carefully balanced sculptures make their 2014 debut (which happens November 6, at Brookfield Place), guests are invited to admire past favorites reconstructed and displayed in the lobbies of 245 Park Avenue, the Grace Building (both in Midtown) and downtown's One Liberty Plaza. While the event is free, attendees are encouraged to contribute a can or two to feed the hungry. At the end of the exhibition, all of the food will be donated to City Harvest

Tuesday, October 28
Open Hours: Hallett Nature Sanctuary
Where: Central Park, Hallett Nature Sanctuary 
When: 1–3pm
Hallett Nature Sanctuary is a 4-acre haven of wild woodland in Central Park that is usually closed to the public. During this tour visitors will be able to walk through the area on their own. A onetime bird sanctuary, the landscape was mostly unused and unmaintained until 2001, when the Central Park Conservancy began a restoration, bringing back native flora and removing invasive species. Like on the other woodlands walks in the park, the trail is uneven, so wearing comfortable shoes is recommended. Note that the wildlife and plant habitats here are protected, meaning no bikes, strollers, dogs or large groups. The self-guided tour does not require a reservation, but space is limited; best to arrive early. 

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Barnes & Noble 86th & Lexington Ave
    150 E. 86th St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  2. 2
    Fort Wadsworth
    210 New York Ave.
    Staten Island
    NY 10305
  3. 3
    Edgar Allan Poe Cottage
    2640 Grand Concourse
    Bronx – Fordham
    NY 10458
  1. 4
    Rough Trade
    64 N. 9th St.
    Brooklyn – Williamsburg
    NY 11249
  2. 5
    South Street Seaport
    Pier 17, Fulton and Front Streets
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10038
  3. 6
    Central Park
    Central Park West
    Manhattan – Central Park
    NY 10024

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