Free This Week


by staff, 10/28/2014

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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 Save the Date section for more free events.

Wednesday, October 29
Ai Weiwei: Part I and Ai Weiwei: Part II
Where: Chambers Fine Art and Francis M. Naumann Fine Art
When: 10am–6pm (Chambers); 11am–6pm (Naumann)
Ai Weiwei has had quite a year in the US. Even while China restricts him from leaving the country, he's had extensive exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum and at Alcatraz (yes, the old island jail in San Francisco Bay), which opened in late September. The Chinese government's 2011 arrest and confinement of the artist has only emboldened his criticism of the authorities' corruption and suppression of freedom. As in the past, these themes are evident in his art, and this current show, a joint exhibition between Chambers Fine Art and Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, contains both new and old work. Chambers shows two new series of sculptures, while Naumann exhibits a collection of work ranging from 1986 to 2014. Both give perspective on Weiwei as an artist, showing his concerns now and how his activist-oriented art has evolved over time. 

Thursday, October 30
Diane von Furstenberg with Tina Brown 
Where: Barnes & Noble Union Square
When: 7pm
In the book The Woman I Wanted to Be, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg reflects on a life of fashion, business, family and romance. DVF created the much-adored wrap dress in 1972 and has long been a celebrated figure in both fashion and society. Andy Warhol painted her portrait, she was once married to a prince (now to Barry Diller) and her self-titled brand is thriving. In recent years her outfits have been worn by celebs including Michelle Obama, Ashley Olsen and Madonna; she won the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. The memoir extends from her childhood as the daughter of a concentration camp survivor to her initial entrée into fashion, her thoughts on aging and her successes and tribulations in business (after her brand faltered, she made a comeback in the 1990s). Throughout the narrative she reflects on her identity as a woman and the joys of motherhood. At this event, former Daily Beast and Newsweek editor Tina Brown will talk with von Furstenberg about the book and her reflections on fashion and personal history. 

Friday, October 31
Village Halloween Parade 
Where: Sixth Avenue, between Spring and 16th Streets
When: 7–10:30pm
Every year some 50,000 folks parade up Sixth Avenue—decked out in some of the City's scariest, most inventive and most hilarious costumes—while numerous live bands complement the ghoulish revelry. Come up with a creative costume of your own and join the parade (but note that a costume is a must to march!), or stick to your civvies and take in the spectacle from the sidelines. Marchers line up on Sixth Avenue down at Canal Street. The parade gets rolling at 7pm and heads north up the avenue, finishing at 16th Street. Visit for more tips on watching and participating

Saturday, November 1
The So So Glos 
Where: Brooklyn Night Bazaar
When: 7pm
Brooklyn punk band the So So Glos play a hometown show as part of a two-night Halloween weekend extravaganza. Expect energy, melodic tunes and plenty of love for their borough. (To get an idea of their sound, check out the title track from the foursome's most recent full-length recording, Blowout.) Slothrust, Dinowalrus, Weird Womb and DJ Lady Guy open up; a good time will be had by all.

Sunday, November 2
TCS New York City Marathon 
Where: citywide
When: 8:30am
This is the big one—an athletic event that often proves to be as much a life-changing experience as a physical challenge. Like all marathons, the NYC race covers 26.2 miles from start to finish—but no other city offers competitors the sights, sounds and sheer excitement of the New York City Marathon, which starts in Staten Island and wends its way through all five boroughs on its way to the finish line in Central Park (adjacent to the recently reopened Tavern on the Green). Close to 50,000 people will run; millions will watch.

Monday, November 3
Mobile Mondays 
Where: The Bowery Electric
When: 9pm
It's nothing but an old-fashioned good time at this free shindig, during which DJs spin 45s of the funk, soul, punk, new wave, pop, salsa, rock, calypso, reggae, R&B and disco varieties (plus, we're sure, a few genres they forgot to mention). DJs include Operator EMZ, Natasha Diggs, Misbehavior, Jess Blaza and Snkr Joe—the Mobile Monday All Stars.

Tuesday, November 4
Sentimental Rings: From Birth to Death and In-Between 
Where: Doyle & Doyle
When: noon–7pm
It's no surprise that Doyle & Doyle, downtown's go-to destination for antique jewelry, has an exhibition featuring a beautiful collection of vintage gems. This assortment includes antique rings as well as never-before-displayed pieces that touch on topics of love, loss and longing. 

related venues/(5)

  1. 1
    Francis M. Naumann Fine Art
    Fine Arts Building, 22 E 80th St
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
  2. 2
    Barnes & Noble Union Square
    33 E. 17th St.
    Manhattan – Union Square
    NY 10003
  3. 3
    Brooklyn Night Bazaar
    165 Banker St.
    Brooklyn – Greenpoint
    NY 11222
  1. 4
    The Bowery Electric
    327 Bowery
    Manhattan – East Village
  2. 5
    Doyle & Doyle
    412 West 13th St.
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District

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