Free Stuff in NYC: Yes, There Is Such a Thing
Sure, New York city is an expensive place to live. But we’ll let you in on a little secret: We New Yorkers are actually just a bunch of cheapos. that trait is never more apparent than in the summer, when the price of fun stuff — Movies! Music! More! — drops as quickly as temperatures rise.
In honor of our Last minute sale, featuring the trendy Thompson LES, the aristocratic Plaza Athénée and the laidback Hotel Roger Williams, we’ve put together a bazillion* free things happening in this city in the coming weeks. See? Sometimes it does pay to wait until the last minute.
*Number approximate (there are literally too many free things to count. This is a humble selection).
New Yorkers go reel (har har) crazy in the summer — there’s a free outdoor movie screening for practically every night of the week. Spend Mondays in Midtown’s Bryant park and watch a classic film on the big screen — upcoming selections include Cool Hand Luke, Airplane!, Dirty Harry and the film noir High Sierra. Mondays are also movie nights on Coney Island, a classic summertime destination in its own right; the schedule includes films from screen luminaries such as Woody Allen (Annie Hall) and Justin Bieber (Never Say Never). Also across the river, Brooklyn Bridge Park hosts film nights on Thursdays, with a varied assortment of options ranging from the kid-friendly An American Tail to the creepy Rosemary’s Baby, and Red Hook park has its own set of options on Tuesday nights, like WALL-E and The Fast and The Furious (plus: Food trucks!) up north in Queens, check out the Socrates Sculpture Park’s summer film festival with international (classy, serious) films like Biutiful and at The Edge of Russia.
The Washington Square Park free concert season wraps with a performance by jazz master Charles Mingus and his Orchestra on August 2. Enjoy a little wine with your music at the City Winery’s Hudson Square Festival series, with August performances by Nicole Atkins and The Wood Brothers (the wine isn’t free, but the tunes — and the mellow vibe — are). If you find yourself in Central Park, stick around the centrally located Naumburg band shell for free classical concerts on August 9 and 22. Sample some of the hottest shows on Broadway with the lunchtime cast performances in Bryant Park, featuring music from hits like Mamma Mia!, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Lion King and more. And of course there are the dueling morning concert series put on by the Today show and Good Morning America, with acts ranging from Lenny Kravitz to Nicki Minaj.
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The always-free Staten Island Ferry makes for a particularly nice ride in the summer, offering the chance to see the Statue of Liberty from the water without the tourist crowds. Time a ride during sunset, and you’ve got yourself a romantic beginning to the evening.
Central Park’s famous, free Shakespeare in the Park is over by August, but the irreverent Shakespeare in the Parking Lot goes through August 13 — this year’s selection is Hamlet.
The El Museo de Barrio has free walking tours that depart every Saturday, with stops at spots like the Graffiti Wall of Fame and at murals throughout Spanish Harlem. (RSVP required but admission is free).
Limon Dance Company offers free weekly dance classes on the Bryant Park lawn through September 10 — no experience necessary.