Free Events, Free Things to Do in New York City! Read More
This page gives you information about best, most interesting, off the beaten path, free and inexpensive acivities in New York City (NYC) starting with Saturday, January 31, 2015 (Sat, 1/31/2015) and on.
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The quality and quantity of
free things to do
that happen in New York City every day of the year is truly amazing.
So don't miss the opportunities that only New York provides: stop wondering what to do; start taking advantage of free things to do, free events to go to in NYC today!
Top Free Activities and Entertainment in New York City, NYC
All events, things to do are free unless otherwise noted.
Check out our hand picked list of the best free things to do in NYC today, this weekend and in the coming weeks.
Roosevelt House - the former double townhouse of Franklin, Eleanor and Sara Delano Roosevelt, and now owned by Hunter College - offers visitors a chance to get closer to a family as unique as the city they inhabited, and to explore the private spaces where some of the most iconic public policy of the 20th century was shaped. Hear about FDR's rise to the presidency after his struggle with polio, Eleanor's activism for civil rights and human rights, and Sara's support for interracial and interfaith initiatives.
Tour times: 10am, 12pm, and 2pm.New York City, NY; NYC
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Sat, Jan 31 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
$10 suggested donation;
Bundle up and come on out for the 1st annual Winter Carnival. Embrace the frosty weather for a celebration of the winter season. This jam-packed weekend will get you out into the elements, try some wintery spins on park favorites, as well as exciting events making their Winter Village debut.New York City, NY; NYC
The musical activities of Emily Dickinson — playing piano, collecting sheet music, and attending concerts — reveal much about the cultural offerings available to a woman of her time, place, and class. Dickinson’s encounters with the music- making of her family servants and the New England hymn tradition had a deep influence on her personality and writing. Using Dickinson’s letters, poems, and the Library’s collections, Music Division Chief George Boziwick and The Red Skies Music Ensemble illustrate how Dickinson was able to use these experiences to fashion a unique musical, poetic voice.New York City, NY; NYC
In 1977, Romare Bearden (1911-1988) created a cycle of 20 collages and watercolors (miniature variations of his collages) based on Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Rich in symbolism and allegorical content, Bearden’s “Odysseus Series” created an artistic bridge between classical mythology and African-American culture. The works conveyed a sense of timelessness and the universality of the human condition, but their brilliance was displayed for only two months in New York City before being scattered to private collections and public art museums.New York City, NY; NYC
“Lachi distinguishes herself from a straightforward soul singer by adding exotic flair to her nuanced tone, channeling spiritual roots as she sings about beauty, determination, and human nature.” — The Deli Magazine
Graced with a distinctive voice, singer-songwriter Lachi performs empowering pop anthems with contagiously catchy hooks and irresistible dance beats. Having overcome blindness to become an Independent Music Awards nominee who has shared the stage with the likes of Patti LaBelle and Questlove, Lachi’s infectiously upbeat songs spread a universal message of positivity.New York City, NY; NYC
Antonin Dvorak Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88
Bela Bartok Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Sz. 120
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Overture to "The Magic Flute", K. 620
Music director Mike Tietz leads the Broadway Bach Ensemble. William Frampton, viola.New York City, NY; NYC
The actress is known for her portrayal of First Lady Abbey Bartlet in the NBC television series The West Wing; for playing Betty Rizzo in the film Grease; and for her role as Ouisa Kittredge in the play Six Degrees of Separation and its later film version. With Patrick Pacheco.New York City, NY; NYC
In Menachem Rosensaft's profound new book, almost 90 children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors reflect on how the memories transmitted to them have affected and informed their lives.New York City, NY; NYC
NY Philharmonic Artist-in-Residence Lisa Batiashvili speaks about her collaboration with the New York Philharmonic, the repertoire she’s bringing to New York, and her musical upbringing.New York City, NY; NYC
Is working with food an art? Are chefs and growers artists? Can artists be chefs and growers? Can anyone making food call it art?
Take a closer look at these questions with a conversation between cookbook author Shelley Boris, curator Amy Lipton, artist Elaine Tin Nyo and writer Linda Weintraub. They discuss ways that artists think about the food they eat, the art of cooking and the art of living on the earth. The discussion also includes information and advice for cooking, raising, producing, procuring and understanding food.New York City, NY; NYC
Set in 1960's London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingénue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters.New York City, NY; NYC
Curated by Prison Photography editor Pete Brook, Prison Obscura presents rarely seen vernacular, surveillance, evidentiary, and prisoner-made photographs shedding light on the prison industrial complex. Preceded by curator's tour at 5:45 pm.New York City, NY; NYC
An entertaining and inspirational memoir by one of the most prominent practitioners and evangelists of independent filmmaking, and the acclaimed writer, director, and actor (Saving Private Ryan, Friends with Kids, Entourage) whose first film — The Brothers McMullen — has become an indie classic.New York City, NY; NYC
Since its October debut, Serial has taken the podcasting world by storm. A spinoff of the public radio show This American Life, Serial is now the world's most popular podcast, with more than 5 million downloads and 1.5 million listeners per episode, according to iTunes. While this fame is partially due to the show's intriguing tale of a real-life murder case from 1999, it also speaks volumes about the public's growing interest in podcasts.
David Carr of The New York Times will moderate a discussion with Sarah Koenig, host and producer of Serial; Alex Blumberg, creator of the podcast StartUp, former producer of This American Life and founder of NPR's Planet Money; Benjamen Walker, host of the podcast Theory of Everything and one of the founding members of Radiotopia; and Alix Spiegel, a founding producer of This American Life and co-host of the new NPR series Invisibilia.New York City, NY; NYC
Starring Abigail Spencer, Connie Britton, Jason Bateman.
When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.
103 min.New York City, NY; NYC
Stars: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace.
A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can't stand idly by - he has to help her.
132 MinutesNew York City, NY; NYC
La Boîte à joujoux (The Toy-box), based on a scenario by the author and illustrator, André Hellé, is the third and final ballet written by Claude Debussy. It was intended as a ballet for child dancers or marionettes, and has, due to Debussy’s own ambivalence as to the style of performance, received a variety of productions. This performance features shadow play to tell the story of a love triangle between a doll, a soldier, and the villain, Polichinelle, on a night when the toys come alive.
- Caroline Borderies and Christian Barthod, shadow puppeteers
- Mirna Lekic, pianoNew York City, NY; NYC
On September 30th and October 1st 1943, two German officers visited the building of the Jewish Community of Rome. They headed to the third floor where the libraries of the rabbinical academy and that of the Jewish community were held. Both collections were invaluable, the latter being one of the most comprehensive pre-modern Jewish libraries in the world. The communal library was created at the beginning of the 20th century gathering the book collections of various pre-unification Jewish institutions. It contained about 5,000 volumes including incunabula and cinquecentine. The only existing catalogue had been compiled in 1934 by Isaia Sonne.
The officers examined the books. On October 11th they returned to announce that the libraries would be seized. Two days later the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, the German agency in charge of seizing Jewish books and art, sacked the building and took both libraries. The two libraries allegedly were transferred to Germany aboard three trains: two in October and a third one in December.
In 1946, the Allies located the Rabbinical library near Frankfurt and facilitated its return to Rome in 1950. No trace was ever found of the Jewish communal library of Rome.
Although various investigations were conducted, the last as part of the Anselmi Commission on the confiscation of Jewish assets in 1999-2001, its fate remains obscure. Over the years, hypotheses multiplied and at least one volume emerged in a US library. Information and testimonies concerning its departure remain vague, research incomplete and many questions are still open.
A panel of experts will analyze the history of the investigations and discuss future efforts to recover this precious library:
- Serena Di Nepi, University of Rome La Sapienza, Jewish Museum of Rome
- Agnes Peresztegi, Commission for Art Recovery
- Alex Karn, Colgate University
- Natalia Indrimi, Centro Primo Levi, New York
In ENGLISH.New York City, NY; NYC
The Italian Americans, narrated by acclaimed actor Stanley Tucci, explores the evolution of Italian Americans from the late 19th Century to today, from “outsiders” once viewed with suspicion and mistrust to some of the most prominent leaders of business, politics and the arts today.
Followed by a panel featuring:
- Bestselling Author Gay Talese
- Filmmaker John Maggio
- Journalist Maria Laurino, author of The Italian Americans: A HistoryNew York City, NY; NYC
The Vienna Trombone Quartet was founded in 1992 by musicians from various leading orchestras in Austria, who made it their mission to familiarize a broader public with the trombone as an instrument for chamber music. Following this ideal with continued success, the quartet is now made up exclusively of members of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.New York City, NY; NYC
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Amazing Ice Sculptors and Colorful Silent Disco.
Witness ice-carving artists from Okamoto Studio wield electric chain saws, ice picks, and chisels to transform more than 3,000 pounds of ice into a glistening replica of the Park’s most romantic statue ― Romeo and Juliet by Milton Hebald (1966). Enjoy a photo booth, Park trivia contest, sweet treats, and more. As night falls, revel among colorful lights as the mall becomes a 1980s-themed silent disco with live DJs.New York City, NY; NYC
Experience an unforgettable evening of contemporary and classic silent film screenings accompanied by live music. The avant-rock band SQÜRL (Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan) handpicked silent films by the legendary Man Ray, and then created original scores for these performances. Their curated soundscape will breathe new life into these vintage shorts.
Four films by Man Ray, selected by SQÜRL (Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan):
Retour a la Raison (1923)
Emak Bakia (1926)
Les Mysteres Du Chateau Du De (1929)
L'Etoile De Mer (1928)New York City, NY; NYC
Composer, musicologist and record producer Ned Sublette will talk about Cuba, its music, and the future of its artists in light of the recent normalization of diplomatic relations with the United States.New York City, NY; NYC
Denise Duhamel’s books of poetry include Blowout, Ka-Ching!, Two and Two, Mille et un Sentiments, Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems, and A Star-Spangled Banner, which won the Crab Orchard Award Series for Poetry. She was the guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2013.New York City, NY; NYC
A staggering 700,000 people are released from prison in the United States each year. When they reenter society they face widespread discrimination, including in employment, housing, higher education and voting. Who are these men and women? What are their struggles? What are their stories? And how are some beating the odds and succeeding? Come view a short documentary film and have a rich conversation about this topic with people who have lived it.New York City, NY; NYC
Founded in Los Angeles by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, Channel 101 is a monthly festival for five-minute web-series. At each screening the audience is bestowed the power of TV network executives, voting whether a series dies or lives to screen another month. Since the first New York City screening ten years ago, Channel 101 NY has helped launch careers for many of today's most daring and original comedic writers and performers, including Aziz Ansari, Ellie Kemper, Nick Kroll, and Broad City creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. The Library celebrates Channel 101 with an evening of highlight episodes, plus conversation with some of the festival's most successful creators and organizers.New York City, NY; NYC
Benjamin Britten Les Illuminations with soprano Mizuho Takeshita (2014 Mannes Concerto Competition winner)
Arvo Pärt Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten Aaron Jay Kernis Whisper, Echo, A Cry
Beethoven Symphony No. 7
Led by conductor David Hayes, the Mannes Orchestra’'s 2014/15 season will include a variety of exciting performances, collaborations, and special projects.
.New York City, NY; NYC
Experience an unforgettable evening of contemporary and classic silent film screenings accompanied by live music. This evening showcases the award-winning silent hit Blancanieves based on the “Snow White” fairy tale, written and directed by acclaimed Spanish director Pablo Berger in 2012. Alfonso Vilallonga's original soundtrack will be performed by the composer himself along with the acclaimed new-music ensemble Wordless Music Orchestra. Set in a romantic version of 1920’s Andalusia, the silent black-and-white fantasy swept the 2013 Gaudí awards (known as the Spanish Oscars) winning Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Catalan-Language Film, among others, and was one of the year's most popular films in Spain.New York City, NY; NYC
Who Is Silencing Whom? looks at how non-participation can be, and often is, construed as involuntary censorship, by oneself or others.
Among a wide range of instruments for political engagement, the refusal to engage is increasingly exercised by individuals and institutions as they seek alternative ways to account for political conflicts in the fields they're working in. Who are the censors when cultural producers decide not to engage? When does self-censorship become a legitimate concern for a community, and when does it represent compliance with powers beyond or outside of a community? When is silence unacceptable?
In this lively debate, curators, scholars and artists deconstruct the term of censorship to arrive at a more nuanced and politically effective approach to not speaking, or not speaking directly. In particular, this event addresses persistent arguments that a cultural boycott silences – or isolates – those it is meant to support, that it butts against freedom of speech. Among the speakers are Chelsea Haines, Ben Katchor, Eddy Portnoy, Rhoda Rosen and Bayeté Ross Smith. Svetlana Mincheva is the moderator.New York City, NY; NYC
This talk explores the dynamics of authority and evasion in the Soviet Union, where a wide range of citizens practiced the arts of non-compliance and illegal departure — settlers in Siberia, soldiers, and young specialists on assignment. It will focus on escapes from the Gulag and from the “unknown Gulag” of Special Settlements, invoking the use of escapee repertoires in the face of state regimes of confinement.
Lecturer Lewis Siegelbaum is the Jack and Margaret Sweet Professor of History at Michigan State University; among his most important publications are Cars for Comrades: The Life of the Soviet Automobile and Stakhanovism and the Politics of Productivity in the USSR, 1935-1941.New York City, NY; NYC
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, George Hamilton.
The daughter of an Irish anarchist is on the lam in Mexico circa 1910, hiding with a touring carnival troupe, where she meets a French singer at the head of an armed peasant revolt.
119 Minutes. In French with English subtitles.New York City, NY; NYC
Rare woods from South America, refined tree resin, wound sheep gut, and Siberian horsehair all combine to create the otherworldly sounds of string instruments. Join members of New Vintage Baroque for an interactive demonstration of authentic baroque era violins, cellos, and gambas. 'Wichcraft coffee and pastries available for purchase.New York City, NY; NYC
Stars: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland.
A slave-turned-gladiator finds himself in a race against time to save his true love, who has been betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts, he must fight to save his beloved as Pompeii crumbles around him.
105 mins.New York City, NY; NYC