Free This Week


by Sara Steinfeld, 07/23/2014

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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 deals section for more free events.

July 23–29

Wednesday, July 23
Water Festival
Where: Beach 108th Street, Rockaway Beach
When: 11am–1pm
Rockaway Beach is one of New York City's most popular summertime escapes, easily reached by the A train, the weekday-only SeaStreak ferry and, on weekends, the New York Beach Ferry or NYC Beach Bus. Enjoy the sand and surf with your family at the annual Water Festival, a kid-oriented shindig with free cotton candy and popcorn and an inflatable bounce house in which kids can work off that sugar rush.

Thursday, July 24
Chelsea Art Walk
Where: 16th to 29th Streets, between Ninth and Eleventh Avenues
When: 5–8pm
Thursday evening is traditionally the big night to gather with fellow art lovers to exhibition-hop in Chelsea, but the Chelsea Art Walk takes it to another level. Now in its fifth year, the walk celebrates the art-friendly neighborhood's contemporary exhibitions and art spaces with extended gallery hours, artist lectures and receptions with gratis glasses of wine and bubbly. Nearly 100 galleries, including big names like David Zwirner, are participating, and there is a handful of open studios as well.

Friday, July 25
New York Shorts
Where: Brookfield Place
When: 7:30–10pm
Part of the Rooftop Films Summer Series, New York Shorts promotes short films created by NYC's best indie filmmakers. This screening features Luke Meyers' documentary Unlocking the Truth, which follows the band of the same name—a pair of heavy-metal-loving middle schoolers—as they shred on the streets of New York City. (Since the documentary was filmed, Unlocking the Truth has added a third member, a bassist, and has signed a record deal with Sony.). A performance by the band and a Q&A session with the filmmaker sandwich the screening. Doors open at 6:30pm.

Saturday, July 26
NYC Poetry Festival
Where: Governors Island
When: 11am–6pm
This two-day festival, presented by the Poetry Society of New York, will feature some 250 writers sharing their work on three different stages. While the fest centers on poets performing their rhymes and free verse, there's also a beer garden, an open mic competition and an area where products from local artists and booksellers will be available for purchase. One stage is devoted to a Children's Poetry Festival, offering writing contests and games.

Sunday, July 27
Harlem Week Kickoff Day: "A Great Day in Harlem"
Where: General Grant National Memorial
When: 1–8:30pm
Harlem Week commences with a daylong festival featuring a fashion show, dance pieces and jazz, gospel and R&B performances. You'll find arts and crafts fun, international food vendors and exhibitions in a historic setting that offers an expansive view of the Hudson River.

Monday, July 28
John Leguziamo's Ghetto Klown
Where: Rumsey Playfield, Central Park
When: 8–10pm
Actor, comedian and writer John Leguziamo will take the stage to perform his latest hyperenergetic one-man show, Ghetto Klown. Another autobiographical piece by the self-described "neurotic paranoid meztizo mulato [sic] underachieving overachiever," it features accounts of different folks from Leguziamo's life and recalls his memories of growing up in Queens. He also brings to life characters he's played throughout his lengthy acting career and impersonates some famous thespian friends, like Al Pacino. We recommend arriving early to this SummerStage show.

Tuesday, July 29
Jennifer Hudson
Where: Rockefeller Center
When: 6–9am
Dreamgirls star and former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson will perform an early morning show for Today Show audiences. To increase your chances at an up-close spot, set your alarm for the crack of dawn, grab a large coffee and get there early—these concerts tend to fill up fast.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    Rockaway Beach
    Beach 2nd St (to Beach 149th St)
    Queens – The Rockaways
    NY 11693
  2. 2
    arts>Brookfield Place
    100 West St.
    Manhattan – Battery Park City
    NY 10080
  3. 3
    Governors Island
    New York Harbor
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004
  1. 4
    General Grant National Memorial
    Riverside Dr and 122nd St
    Manhattan – Morningside Heights
    NY 10027
  2. 5
    Central Park's Rumsey Playfield
    Enter Central Park at Fifth Avenue & 69th Street
  3. 6
    Rockefeller Center
    45 Rockefeller Plaza
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10111

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