Google’s Winter Wonderlab
Google is allowing you to experience life in a snow globe, setting up an igloo-shaped glass atrium in a new retail space at the Bryant Park Skating Rink.
“Winter Wonderland is a fun and interactive way for the public to experience all kinds of Google’s gadgets,” says Gina Scigliano, Google’s communications manager. “Just in time for the holidays.”
You can not only frolic and dance inside the white igloo complete with fake snow, but send a slow-mo video of the experience as a digital card to friends__all for free!
According to Scigliano, you can also shop, watch videos, listen to music and surf the web. Yep, just like not leaving home!
Bryant Park (5th Avenue/42nd Street), through December 22, 2013.
Don’t You Owe MoMA a Visit?
Every Friday between 4pm and 8pm, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) opens its doors for free. The midtown museum displays some of the most iconic pieces in art history, including Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
MoMA is currently offering its “To Save and Project” festival featuring recently restored movies, including “I Was a Captive of Nazi Germany” starring Isobel Lillian Steele, a young American who went to Germany to study music in the 1930s. The film documents her arrest and imprisonment on trumped up charges, made in an era when the major movie studios purposefully ignored the rise of Hitler to maintain their profitable market in Nazi Germany.
To Save and Project runs through November 12th.
On a lighter note, MoMA offers a fun exhibit it calls The Rain Room. The room contains a field of water falling from the ceiling that stops when it detects a human presence underneath it and projects the illusion of you being in the rain, inviting visitors to be part of the art itself.
MoMA, 11 West 53rd Street, Fridays through 2013.
The Brazilian Day Festival, September 2, 2013:
This lively celebration of Brazil’s Independence Day and the nation’s culture in NYC in now in its 28th year. Festivities include Brazilian music, dance, food and more. The all day event begins at 10 a.m., and features legendary instrumentalist Armandinho Macedo as well as other Brazilian musicians.
While the main stage is located on East 46th Street between 5th and Madison Avenue, the festival runs throughout the surrounding “Little Brazil” area.
Free Summer Concerts:
There are free concerts throughout NYC all summer. Among the highlights:
Central Park Summer Stage includes The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital on Tuesday, July 16th at 8 p.m., and The Martha Graham Dance Company, Wednesday, July 24th at 8 p.m.
Central Park, 5th Avenue off East 72nd Street.
Celebrate Brooklyn has a few concerts each week. Ones that are free include BeBe Winans on Thursday, 7-25, The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra on Saturday, August 3rd and They Might Be Giants on Saturday, August 10th. Most concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.
Prospect Park; Park Slope, Brooklyn–(Prospect Park West off 9th Street.)
Coney Island Mermaid Parade:
Combine Mardi Gras with the Village Halloween Parade and you’ll get some idea what awaits you here. What began in 1983 with a sparse, somewhat freakish crowd has grown to a half million onlookers of all ages and backgrounds cheering the marchers and those on colorful floats, with nude mermaids merrily waving.
Hail the 2013 Mermaid and Merman King and Queen of the Parade, which in recent years has included David Byrne, Moby and Queen Latifah. Then grab a bite at Nathan’s and frolic in the ocean!
Saturday, June 22–Coney Island’s Surf Avenue, West 21 Street to West 15th Street.
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens– Cherry Blossoms
BBG’s hundreds of cherry trees make a spectacular show! They bloom over a five week period, usually beginning in late March, but the unseasonal cold weather will probably delay the first blooms until early April.
The pink and white garden extravaganza ends with the Sakura Matsuri Festival, a two day fair that includes a fashion show, Japanese dance performers and tours, on the weekend of Saturday, April 27th.
The festival is free with garden admission. The modest suggested fee is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and free for those 12 and under.
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm; weekdays 8am to 6p.m.
March 16, 2013: St. Patrick’s Day Parade:
No, that’s not a typo– the St Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on March 16 this year on Fifth Avenue from 44th Street up to 86th Street. Come early to get a good spot along the parade route and join over two million others honoring American veterans with marching bands from every branch of the U.S. Military. BYOB.
Free Walking Tours–Grand Central Station:
The neighborhood surrounding Grand Central Terminal is more than a transportation hub. The Grand Central Partnership conducts 90-minute guided walking tours led by urban historians every Friday in 2013.
You will gaze at the architectural wonders surrounding the landmark terminal, including the Chrysler Building and discover the secrets of the terminal’s winding passageways.
Grand Central Terminal, every Friday at 12:30 p.m.
Free in December:
Yes, we all know about strolling around Rockefeller Center, seeing the mammoth tree, walking up to FAO Schwartz, and all the other holiday events that involve wading through thousands of slow-moving tourists. Lincoln Center is another popular destination for world-class performing arts at holiday time, often at world class prices. But do you know that right next door is Julliard, where many of these performers started out–and that offer shows for free?
Among the numerous performances offered in December are two standouts:
1) A Double Bill of One Act Operas by Britten and Vaughn Williams, at the Rosemary and Meredith Wilson Theater at Julliard. Britten’s Curlew River features members of the Julliard Orchestra and Chorus, while Williams’ Riders to the Sea has Adam Nielsen on piano and the Julliard Chorus. The performance is on Tuesday, December 11 at 8p.m.
2) New Dances Edition 2012 brings together four of today’s notable choreographers, including Camille Brown, who is artistic director of her own company and Susan Shields, a principal dancer from the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. The performance will be held on Friday, December 14 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater.
For more info on free tickets to these and other events, contact Julliard at 212-799-5000.
Free in November:
Ok, the New York Marathon (previously listed here) has been canceled at the last minute, due to the fallout from Hurricane Sandy and the fact that the runners would take the brunt of the hate caused by diverting generators to the Marathon instead of for the use of people in NYC who are still without power. Mayor Bloomberg thought this race would “boost the spirits” of those without power, homes or food. How wrong he was.
But cheer up, there is another November events that will provide a different kind of excitement:
The Saint Catherine’s Day Hat Parade: The Milliners Guild will hold its fifth annual parade in honor of St. Catherine, the patron saint of hatmakers. The march will commence at the Millenery Center Synagogue (don’t ask) on Sixth Avenue between 38th and 39th Street, where a rabbi will bless the Saint Catherine parade (only in NY). From their they (you?) will proudly march to Bryant Park wearing an exciting hat. Yankee, Met and Net caps don’t count. Thursday, November 15th.
Free in October:
Czech in the City: Entertainment, traditional Czech food and beer tasting at the 14th Annual Czech Street Festival: October 6, noon-5pm, East 72nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue.
Harvest Festival: A pumpkin patch, music, face painting, and free health screenings: October 20, 10:30 a.m–1p.m. Pier One at Old Fulton and Water Streets, Brooklyn.
Free Museum Day, Saturday, 9/25:
That’s right, you can visit any of 40 top NYC museums for free. It’s the annual Smithsonian Institution Museum Day. Simply print out an admission card from the Smithsonian web site to present for free admission to participating NYC institutions.
Late Summer/Early Fall Free Music
Gowanus All Stars:
Country, folk, rock and pop. Led by Spike Prigger, local “roots’rockers” play classics by Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and others.
The Rock Shop, 2349 Fourth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn. Mon, 8/27, 8pm
Tune In Tuesdays:
Emily McNamara host nights of show tunes in a campy weekly variety show. Bar-Tini Lounge, 642 Tenth Avenue (45th-46th Streets); every Tuesday until October 30, 10:30pm
Free Early August Music–(From Reader Bob G):
“Lots of great free music across NYC in August. Legendary soul singer Bettye Levette at Madison Square Park on Wednesday August 8; multi talented country, folk and blues singer and instrumentalist Lyle Lovett at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park on Saturday August 11.”
Free in July:
Grand Central Terminal Tour: Every Friday at the sculpture court at 120 Park Avenue and 42nd Street, regular Grand Central Terminal tours are given to locals and tourists alike, showing the hidden treasures of the legendary terminal and its surroundings. July 6, 13, 20 and 27th.
Union Square Walking Tour: Meet in front of the Lincoln Statue, Union Square Park and East 16st at 2pm on any Saturday, and follow guides who lead you to spots where nation-changing rallies, strikes and visits from historic figures took place well before this landmark was chiefly known for its Greenmarket.
July 7, 14, 21 and 28th.
Free in May-June:
Annual Ninth Avenue International Food Festival:
May 19-20, noon to 5pm. Tons of great food and drink, plus games, handcrafted jewelry, arts and crafts, and live stage entertainment of international music and dance at 9th and 55th Street. No entrance fee.
Museum Mile Festival:
Tuesday, June 12th. Nine of the city’s (and nation’s) finest museums open their doors for free from 6pm to 8pm for a mile long block party. The music and art filled celebration fills the streets, sidewalks and museums on Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street up to 105th Street.
Free in NYC in April::
Tartan Day Parade: This little-known, fun celebration/parade includes thousands of bagpipers marching up 6th Avenue, along with vigorous drummers.
Saturday, April 14th, from 45th Street to 55th Street. The parade will start at 2 p.m.
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: With over 200 trees in bloom, flowering cherries take center stage during this weekend celebrating Japanese culture with over 60 events and performances. These include taiko drumming, flowering arranging, tea ceremonies and traditional Japanese music and dance.
Saturday April 28 and Sunday April 29, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 600 Washington Avenue. B or Q train to Prospect Park Station, 2 or 3 train to Eastern Parkway Station.
Free Live TV:
Sure, it’s almost impossible to get tickets to The Jon Stewart Show or SNL. But if you want to be a member of a live studio audience, there are a number of shows taped in NYC that require short or no waits. For example:
-The David Letterman Show: Stand by tickets are available by calling 212-247-6497 starting at 11am on the day of the taping you wish to attend. Your name will be taken and placed on a stand by list. You then be asked to check in to the theater approximately one hour before taping.
You may also ask for tickets in person. Reps in the lobby will process your request Monday through Thursday, from 9:30am to 12 noon.
1697 Broadway, between 52nd and 53rd Streets.
-The People’s Court: Tapes Tuesday through Thursday at 10 am and 2pm. You can request tickets one month in advance by simply calling 888-780-8587 or e-mailing email@example.com. Bonus: Judge Marilyn Milian greets the courtroom audience and answers your legal questions! 401 Fifth Avenue (37th Street)
March 1st=Free Arts:
1) Phillip Lopate: Living in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Philharmonic partners with the Brooklyn Public Library to host writer Phillip Lopate with the Brooklyn Phil Chamber Players for a concert exploring the borough’s development over the past 200 years. Music will include a selection of great Brooklyn composers, from Gershwin to Copeland. 6:30pm to 8 p.m. Call 718-488-5700 for details.
2) TCM host Robert Osborne and filmmaker Spike Lee present a free screening of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The presentation is part of Turner Movie Classics Road to Hollywood tour in celebration of the TCM Classic Film Festival in April in Hollywood. At the Ziegfield Theater, 7:30 p.m. Log on to tcm.com/roadtohollywood to get your free tickets.
1) Brooklyn Museum: Free first Saturday of the month. Includings wine tastings, DJ parties and more. 200 Eastern Parkway at Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
2) Museum of Modern Art: Free admission on Fridays from 4pm to 8pm.
11 West 53rd Street.
3) FIT Museum: Rotating exhibits by students as well as an extensive collection of 50,000 garments dating from the 18th century. 7th Avenue and 27th Street, free daily.
Central Park Doesn’t Close Up for Winter
Yes it’s cold, but don’t be a wimp–bundle up and enjoy the free events offered by the Central Park Conservatory:
On Wednesday, Jan 4th, a “Views From the Past” tour takes you through the heart of Central Park, showing how its designers, Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, made their grand vision a reality. Meet outside the Dairy Shop, mid-park and 65th at lunchtime (12:30–1:30pm)
On Monday, January 16th, the Conservatory celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with a Senaca Village tour. Senaca Village was Manhattan’s first known community of African-American property owners on land that became Central Park. Meet inside the park at 85th Street and Central Park West. 12:30–1:30pm.
On Friday, January 20, The Art of the Park tour strolls from Tavern on the Green to Belvedere Castle, checking out the park’s pastoral landscapes and vistas. Meet at Tavern on the Green; the tour runs from 12:30pm to 2pm.
Home for the Holidays?
If you have guests in for the holiday season (or if you just want to go yourself) there are numerous free sights to enjoy from now through the end of the year:
–The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center: Yeah it’s a bit corny, but it’s classic New York and makes you feel like you’re a kid again (which may or may not be a good thing). While you’re there, watch the ice skaters below. Or watch the tourists watch the tree and the skaters. Or even better, skate yourself (at this rink, Central Park or Brooklyn’s Prospect Park).
–Holiday Windows: Take your out-of-town visitors to see the elaborate Christmas window displays at Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales, Barneys and Macys. You may or may not thank me for this, but they will.
–Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo: This one isn’t free, but it’s reasonable. Lighted paths with over 140 illuminated animal sculptures, live reindeer, music and storytelling make this a unique, winter wonderland-type experience. Opens every night from December 15th to January 6th. Tickets are $10 for adults and $50 for children (just kidding–$6 for the youngsters).
Beer in November and Through the Year!
This Tuesday (11-8) and every Tuesday thereafter, Bierkraft in Park Slope, Brooklyn offers free beer tastings at 7 p.m., as well as complementary hor d’oevres. This Tuesday you can sample beer from the Peak Organic Brewing Company of Portland, Maine. This includes Fall Summer Ale (an amber brew that combines pine, spice and citrus flavors) Winter Session Ale (a dark wheat beer) and IPA (a pale ale).
If you care to stay for dinner, that’s not free, but it’s worthwhile, including gourmet sandwiches that may include applewood smoked Berkshire ham or pastrami-spiced brisket. Which you can wash down with your free beer!
191 Fifth Avenue, betw. Union Street and Berkeley Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Free Events in mid-October:
Edgar Allen Poe Cottage: Post-Restoration Tours:
Sunday, October 16th: The American poet and writer spent his final years living in this Bronx farmhouse, where he penned Annabelle Lee and other works. The nearly 200-year old cottage has been closed for restorations and is now reopened for a free tour. 1pm, Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY, 718-881-8900
Central Park History Tour
Tuesday, October 18: Learn about Central Park’s early history with a tour run by the Central Park Conservancy, beginning at 12:30 pm outside the Central Park Dairy Gift Shop. (Central Park West, 79th Street Entrance).
Free Concerts in Early October:
Madison Square Park, October 1, 3pm–5pm: John Hammond and Suzie Vinnick; October 8, 3pm-5pm: Nora Jane Struthers and the Bootleggers; Jean Rohe Trio (the park is located between 5th Avenue and Madison, 23rd to 26th Streets)
Free in New York–September:
September 15-25: The Feast of San Gennaro:
This event brings more than one million people to the streets of Little Italy. Street festivities include food stands, entertainment, parades and a cannoli-eating contest. The event climaxes with a candlelight procession carrying the Statue of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples.
Tuesday, September 6: Central Park Walking Tour–”Amble Through the Bramble.” Belevedere Castle, mid-park and 79th Street.
Monday to Friday, September 6th through 9th: Free Piano in the Park, with Daryl Sherman. 12:30 pm, Bryant Park, Upper Terrace, 6th Avenue and 42nd Street.
Summer–Free Outdoor Theater:
How do you like your Shakespeare? Or should I ask, do you like waiting on line to see stars perform, or not waiting on line to see great Shakepeare in New York Grittier surroundings?:
1) Shakespeare in the Park: The big one, offering two spectacular shows in Central Park each summer. This year it’s “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “Measure for Measure” in repertory. 8p.m. Delacorte Theater. When? Check the following web site. But whenever you’re reading this–Get on line now. shakespeareinthepark.org
2) Shakespeare in the Parking Lot: Same playwright, slightly different venue. Come see “Love’s Labour’s Lost” Thursday through Saturday, July 8-24, and Julius Caesar July 29-August 14, same three nights. Municipal Parking Lot, Broome and Ludlow Streets, 212- 877-0099
Summer–Free Outdoor Movies:
Bryant Park Summer Festival: Catch a movie under the stars every Monday. Highlights include Cool Hand Luke, Airplane and Dirty Harry.
June 27-August 23, 5pm, Bryant Park, 5th Avenue and 42nd Street
Summer on the Hudson: Movies Under the Stars: This year’s theme is “Terror Through the Decades”, and will include Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Birds. July 13-August 17, dusk, Riverside Park South, Pier 1, Hudson River and 70th Street
Coney Island on the Beach: The Monday night series will feature Brooklyn and New York City based movies, including Saturday Night Fever and Annie Hall. July 11-August 29th, dusk, Luna Park 1000 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn
Free in NYC, 3rd week of June The Mermaid Parade: Raunchier and more fun than the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, Coney Island’s one of a kind Mermaid Parade includes wild floats, alluring mermaids and mermen (not Ethel), antique cars and other sights for sore eyes. The parade begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18th, Surf Avenue, Coney Island (last stop on the D, F, and other subway lines).
Times Square Yoga: Three instructors from local yoga studios will lead the crowd through various poses on Tuesday, June 21, trying for the ultimate: to find a calm center and inner peace in the most bustling intersection in the United States!
Free in NYC, Tuesday, June 14
The Museum Mile Festival:
The nation’s top-rated museums offer free admission and a car-free party along Fifth Avenue, with live music, street performers and tons of activities for kids. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art at one end of the mile to El Museo del Barrio at the other, here’s your chance to take in New York City culture gratis. Be forewarned: the crowds will be huge. This year’s festival begins at 5:45pm, rain or shine.
Free in NYC, Early June:
The City Parks Foundation kicks off its annual free concert series on Tuesday, June 7th with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who will play with his Silk Road Ensemble as well a contigent of NYC 6th graders. Ma has won 16 Grammys and played at President Obama’s Inaugural–Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, enter at 5th Avenue and 69th Street.
Free in NYC, Memorial Day Weekend:
The public beaches open this weekend (starting Sat, 5-28), from Coney Island up through Rockaway Beach, and it’s all free. Let’s hope they have enough lifeguards this year! Coney in the West 20s remains a secret treasure; clean and never crowded yet within walking distance of Nathan’s restaurant and all the Coney rides and attractions.
Memorial Day Parades will take place on Monday, 5-30 all over the city. The largest is the Little Neck-Douglaston parade in Queens, while the 144 year old Brooklyn Memorial Parade begins at 3rd Avenue and 87th Street. Come out and watch–the veterans deserve and will appreciate it.
Free in NYC, Third Week May:
Algonquin Seaport Theater New Play Readings: The new theater at the Seaport, which hosts stage plays, children’s theater and live music, will present staged readings of new one act plays on Tuesday, May 17th. Among the works presented will be my one act comedy Kiss Her Goodbye. Admission is free. 6:30 p.m. (89 South Street, inside the Seaport Mall, 2nd Floor; Fulton Street subway station)
Free in NYC, Second Week May:
Bryant Park Ping Pong: Test your ping pong skills at state of the art tables. Paddles and balls provided free of charge. (Ping-Pong Court at Bryant Park, 5th Avenue/40th Street, Tues 5-10–Thurs 5-12, 11am-7pm)
Bryant Park Tai Chi: Tai chi is instructed by members of the Tai Chi Chuan Center (Fountain Terrace in Bryant Park, Thursday 5-12, 7:30am-8:30am)
Birding Tours of Bryant Park: Discover the varieties of birds that call Bryant Park home (Fountain Terrace at Bryant Park, Thursday, 5-12, 5pm-6pm)
Free in NYC, Late April/Early May:
Annual Sakura Matsuri and Cherry Blossom Watch at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden:
This weekend, (April 30-May 1), the Rites Of Spring celebration of Japanese culture includes flowering cherry trees as well as 60 other events and performances, including traditional Japanese drumming, dance and bonsai pruning. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, 1000 Washington Street, Bklyn, NY
Annual Kite Making Workshop at Socrates Sculpture Park
This free, hands-on event welcomes children and adults to build and decorate a kite out of recycled materials, and then fly it in the park. All materials and supplies will be provided. Socrates Sculpture Park, 3201 Vernon Blvd, Queens, N.Y.
Free in NYC in April:
Earth Day: From April 21-23 Battery Park City will host Earth Day events, including bird watching, poetry readings and film screenings. At Times Square, a public celebration of Earth Day will feature entertainment and interactive exhibits.
Easter Parade: On April 24, the parade will begin at 10am at St Patrick’s Cathedral at 5th Avenue and 47th and continue up Fifth Avenue. It’s a fun event–and it’s free!
From subscriber Lou Russo (Thanks, Lou):
The still FREE Staten Island Ferry ride which puts you close enough to smell souvlaki on Lady Liberty’s breath, is still a really wonderful experience, even romantic, especially on a nice day or warm Summer night when you can sit outside on the deck.
But please don’t tell anyone, ok?
Friday, 3/18: Liliana Araujo, rising Brazilian music star
Saturday, 3/19: Sofia Rei, Argentinian singer tries American jazz
Friday 3/25: Barbez: Rock meets avant jazz
Saturday 3/26: The Respect Sextext: electro-acoustic improv band
All shows begin at 9 p.m. BAM, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
The First Signs of Spring:
With the temperatures expected to approach 50 degrees this week, this presents a great opportunity to emerge from your cacoon and explore lesser known but worthwhile NYC outdoor destinations:
–Wave Hill, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, was once a private home for Teddy Roosevelt. Mark Twain also lived here at the beginning of the 20th Century. A peaceful setting with majestic gardens, Wave Hill offers hiking trails and a breathtaking view of the Hudson River. 675 West 252nd Street, the Bronx. By car, or take the “1″ train to the 231st Street stop, then take the Bx7 or Bx10 bus.
–Historic Greenwood Cemetery is the final resting place of NYC notables from Boss Tweed to Leonard Bernstein. Every Wednesday a two-hour trolley tour offers a guide to the history and the bird life of Greenwood as well as great views of the Manhattan skyline. 777 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn. (R train to 25th Street stop.)
Free and Noteworthy, First Half February:
Monday, February 7th:
The City Pond Winter Film Festival at Bryant Park (that’s right, outdoors in winter!) shows seasonal films for free on a 900-square-foot, rink-side screen. Monday’s screening is Blades of Glory, starring Will Ferrell. Watch the movie while ice skating, or having hot chocolate on the Upper Terrace. 6:30pm at Bryant Park.
Wednesday, February 9th:
The Mannes Orchestra performs a program featuring Mahler (Adagio from Symphony No. 10, Das Lied von der Erde) for free. Guest conductors from the past have included Kurt Masur and Philippe Entremont. Free tickets at the Mannes Box Office (West 85th Street–Amsterdam and Columbus–8 p.m.)
Free and Noteworthy: Second Half January
From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 14, 21 and 28, The American Folk Art Museum offers free live music in its atrium. You can wander through the galleries while listening to the sounds of Brooklyn’s Spirit Family Reunion, which plays a blend of folk, bluegrass and country.
On Monday, January 17, The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) presents the 25th Annual Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Included will be music by The Persuasions and a free screening of Neshoba: The Price of Freedom at 1 p.m. Doors open at 10:30 a.m, with tix available on a first come, first serve basis.
Free and Noteworthy: Second Week January, 2011
Like Marc Anthony and JLo, salsa dancing and New York City belong together. On Sunday, January 9, the Williamburg Salsa Orchestra is putting on a free show at the Brooklyn Bowl. The 11-piece Latin band will not only perform salsa versions of indie hits from such groups as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but there will also be free salsa lessons available starting at noon. The band begins performing at 6p.m., when you must be over the age of 21 to enter: Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y.
The following day (Monday, January 10) offers free music from Julliard School musicians. Each year, they spend their final week of winter break in intensive rehearsal to make certain that Lincoln Center’s Chamberfest is first rate. The series starts Monday with three performances, including Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in G, and showcases 67 Julliard musicians. Yes, tix are free! 8 p.m., Lincoln Center’s Paul Hall (at the Julliard School), 60 Lincoln Center Plaza (Broadway and 65th), N.Y.C.
Where to Take Holiday Visitors (or use as an excuse to go yourself):
Want to give family and friends a taste of New York without busting your budget–or even spending a penny?
Here’s some free places to visit that we New Yorkers too often take for granted:
1) Staten Island Ferry: Not a luxury liner, but absolutely free and truly New York Gritty This legendary commuter ferry (tell them they feature it at the beginning of the movie Working Girl) offers amazing, close-up views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and lower Manhattan.
2) Chinatown: After your return ferry trip, walk over to Chinatown (ok, cab it if they’re lazy, but let them pay). Tourists love it and if you’re feeling particularly generous, spring for a great communal meal for four that will cost you a grand total of about 25 bucks (yeah I know, Free NY, but ya gotta eat, right?)
3) Riverside Park: Yes, they’ll all want to visit Central Park (and you should), but Riverside Park offers views of the Hudson, the boat basin and a last chance to view the fall foliage in all its glory.
4) The Chrysler Building: And yes, they’ll also want to visit The Empire State Building, but the Chrysler Building is more impressive. There’s no observation deck, but the art deco architecture, marble lobby and wonderful ceiling mural is worth the trip to Lex and 42nd.
5) The New York Public Library: Pair the Chrysler Building visit with a trip to this Beaux-Arts edifice a few blocks away (42nd and 5th), with a steady stream of great exhibits on a variety of topics.
Want to enjoy the vibrant colors of autumn, but not enough to get off your butt and journey to the wilds of Westchester or beyond?
Good news, NewYorkGritties–I’ve got your nature right here!
In the next few weeks, climb to the top of Belvedere Castle in Central Park for a panoramic view of gold, red and yellow leaves that is second to none. The Italian translation of Belvedere? Beautiful view. (mid-park at 79th Street).
Want to stay in the city and avoid the tourists?
Head over to Riverside Park. The ideal way to experience the beauty of the change of season is to hop on your bike and ride northward from 72nd Street and the Hudson. American elms and London plane trees are plentiful throughout the park. Bike past the Boat Basin in the upper West 70s right up to Grant’s Tomb on 122nd Street and beyond.
No bike? Just walk it. Trees, fresh air and the Hudson–not a bad way to unwind. And it’s free!
Weekend approaching, and looking for something outdoorsy, fun and with a real NewYorkGritty feel?
Here’s a great afternoon and evening, for starters.
From 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the Central Park Dance Skaters do their thing at the Skate Circle in Central Park. If you haven’t seen it, you have to see it! (if you have, you know what I’m talking about).
The skaters include a few Broadway dancers letting off steam and showing off their amazingly athletic dance moves, as the DJ keeps them whipping around the circle to an ever-changing beat.
To get there, enter Central Park at East or West 72nd Street, then follow the road across the park to Skaters Road, just west of the bandshell and east of Strawberry Fields.
Afterward, walk west as far as you can, out of the park and over to West 70th Street and Riverside Boulevard, grab a drink or bite at the Pier 1 Cafe on the water, then stroll out on the pier halfway to Jersey and catch the best sunset view in New York City!
Let me >know how it goes.