Free This Week


by staff, 09/10/2014

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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 10–16

Wednesday, September 10
Une Danse des Bouffouns (A Jester's Dance)
Where: David Zwirner – 19th Street
When: 10am–6pm
Two of David Zwirner's Chelsea galleries (525 and 533 19th St.) present the premiere of artist Marcel Dzama's new film, a fictionalized account of the love affair between Marcel Duchamp and the sculptor Maria Martins, who served as a model for one of Duchamp's final works, Étant donnés. In Dzama's cinematic version of the story, Martins is played by two women—Belgian model-actress Hannelore Knuts and Sonic Youth cofounder and avatar of cool Kim Gordon—while the artist takes on the role of Duchamp himself. For a sneak peek of the action, take a look at the trailer. Fans of the Arcade Fire, be advised: Dzama collaborated with members of the Montreal band on the soundtrack, pressing a special 7-inch record that was included as a bonus in the July/August 2014 issue of The Believer

Thursday, September 11
Feast of San Gennaro 
Where: Mulberry Street between Canal and Houston Streets
When: 11:30am–11pm
Now in its 88th year, Little Italy's Feast of San Gennaro salutes the patron saint of Naples with celebrations during its 11-day run. One highlight of the traditional Italian-American street fair is the food located along Mulberry Street: cannoli, fried dough, torrone (a honey nougat candy usually flecked with almonds) and, of course, sausage-and-pepper sandwiches. (There are even pizza- and cannoli-eating contests.) Aside from the edibles—for which you'll want to bring some cash—guests can enjoy free activities, book signings and musical performances that take place on a stage located at Grand and Mott Streets. 

Friday, September 12
Bat Bonanza Night Hike 
Where: Willowbrook Park
When: 7–9pm
This relaxed evening stroll around the pond at Staten Island's Willowbrook Park promises kids and their parents the chance to witness some of NYC's most prominent nocturnal citizens: bats. (We know you were thinking club kids, but no.) The winged mammals ingest 20–50% of their body weight in insects every night, which means hikers are in for an awesome aerial display. Discover "fascinating facts," courtesy of a Greenbelt Nature Center tour guide, and note that advance registration is required. RSVP by calling 718-351-3450 or emailing

Saturday, September 13
Where: The Lot LIC Music & Film Series
When: 3pm
Brooklyn-based psych-rock band Widowspeak delivers dreamy melodies and husky vocals as part of this ongoing free series of happenings in Long Island City. (For a taste of Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas' beautiful, Western-tinged take on American indie, listen to "True Believer"  off the band's most recent release, The Swamps.) Other performers tonight include Alex Bleeker and the Freeks—the side project of Real Estate's bassist—and Alex from Tokyo, who will deejay a set between the bands.

Sunday, September 14
Wild Style
Where: Habana Outpost
When: 8pm
Director Charlie Ahearn's low-budget 1983 film is about the rocky love affair between graffiti writers (played by real-life artists Lee Quinones and Lady Pink) and features cameos from a host of people who would go on to become legends—Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Flash and the Rock Steady Crew among them. In three-plus decades since its release, the movie has developed a cult following; despite its fictional narrative, Wild Style is commonly held to be a (nearly) historical record of hip-hop as an art form, which originally included B-boying and graffiti writing—along with MC-ing. And yes, in case you're wondering, the soundtrack is amazing.

Monday, September 15
Happiness: 10 Years of n+1
Where: BookCourt
When: 7pm
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of indie magazine n+1 with the release party for their new anthology, Happiness, which features incisive criticism and literary fireworks from contributors like Benjamin Kunkel, Keith Gessen and Emily Witt. Expect readings from some of the authors, a Q&A session and the chance to hobnob with the literary elite. (Prep by perusing the magazine's archives, where you can read essays like "Justin Timberlake Has a Cold" and "The Stupidity of Computers"—if you're a subscriber.)

Tuesday, September 16
Dance & Fashion
Where: The Museum at FIT
When: noon–8pm
Just because Fashion Week is over doesn't mean the City's celebration of style ever stops. Case in point is this exhibition of sartorial splendor, which explores the role fashion has played in the world of dance. Items that show dance's influence on fashion, including Christian Dior's and Pierre Balmain's ballet-inspired gowns, are shown alongside Valentino's designs for the New York City Ballet. Ensembles from designers like Rodarte, Prabal Gurung and Halston are also on display.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    David Zwirner - 19th Street
    525 W. 19th St.
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  2. 2
    Little Italy
    Mulberry St
  3. 3
    Willowbrook Park
    1 Eton Pl.
    Staten Island
    NY 10314
  1. 4
    Habana Outpost
    757 Fulton St
    Brooklyn – Fort Greene
    NY 11217
  2. 5
    163 Court St
    Brooklyn – Cobble Hill
    NY 11201
  3. 6
    Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
    Seventh Ave. at 27th St.
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10001

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