Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday - Free NYC Events

I don't understand why anybody works on Fridays. I mean, you've already done 4 days straight. You deserve a break. Call in sick and head to one of these events:

Island Getaway - Biking on Governor's Island - This runs from April through mid-October, so don't think you can do a little Christmas biking or a Valentine's date. The free ferry to the island leaves from the slip right next to the Staten Island Ferry. The free bikes are offered from 10am to 3:30pm, but there's a line, so get there early or be prepared to wait. You can keep your bike free for an hour, which is more than enough time to see the entire island. Then return the bike and just hang out on the island, it's really cool.

Kind of a Big Deal - MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art is arguably the best and most influential modern art museum in the world. (I've been to the Tate Modern and the Pompidou. Both are cool, but not quite the MoMA.) Normally it's $20, but from 4 to 8pm on Fridays, it's free. There's always a line, but it moves quick. Even if you've studied art before, you'll recognize a ton of stuff in here. And there's something for everyone - art, sculpture, architecture, film, and even cartoons. So go and explore. And if getting into one of the top museums in the world for free isn't enough for you, they have free movie screenings too.

Free Concerts - Every Friday morning from May-ish to the end of August (at the crack of dawn - ugh) top acts perform live for New York morning shows. Summerstage is put on by Good Morning America on a sweet stage behind the bandshell in Central Park. The other concerts are put on by NBC's Today Show at Rockefeller Center. Concerts "start" at 7am (they do the sound checks then and a few practice songs first, the actual live performance usually isn't until after 8. I'll make a comprehensive list next summer when the 2011 season is announced to make these easier to search.

Real New York Art - Bronx Museum of the Arts - Take the B or the D to 167th. It may seem far away but it's easy to get to and worth the trip. This is modern and contemporary art, but not weird modern art, it's the good stuff. And it's got a real New Yorker feel. A lot of the exhibitions are inspired by the Bronx and NYC in general. There's a lot of interactive stuff and the staff is really friendly and helpful. It's free all day Friday, and open from 11am to 8pm.

Sometimes Queens is Cool - New York Hall of Science - Flushing hasn't been cool since 1964 and the 2 weeks of the US Open don't make up for the Mets. But this place is actually worth getting on the 7 train for. Tons of interactive exhibits, including a sports section. (How fast can you throw a baseball? Can you return a 120mph tennis serve? Who would win in a drag race between you and your friends?) This place has everything; it's highly educational and tons of fun for kids and adults. It's open year round, but it's free Fridays from 2 to 5pm (and Sundays from 10 to 11am) from September to June only (during the school year). 47-01 111th St, Queens. 718-699-0005

Free Movies!! - NYPL for the Performing Arts - This is even cheaper than Netflix. And I don't have a Wii, so I have to wait for snail-mail. :( We all know I have the attention span of a 6-year-old, so forget about that. Instead, check out Saturday's flicks at the Cullman Center (in Lincoln Center). Unlike the feature length movies they play on Tuesday, they usually play a bunch of shorts back-to-back on Saturdays. Altogether, they last about 90 minutes. It's a fun afternoon if you can make it. The first show starts at 2:30.

For Smart People Only - Morgan Library - The Morgan is a place for people who are much more intelligent than me. This place is for people who prefer the actual classics to their much easier counterpart (and the only reason I got through high school English): Cliffs Notes. But if you get excited by an original manuscript of Dickens' Christmas Carol, a Gutenberg Bible, or signed compositions by Mozart, then the Morgan is for you. Free for two hours on Friday night, from 7 to 9pm. 225 Madison Ave at 36th.

Art by Poor People - American Folk Art Museum - Ok, I don't know what classifies art as "folk art" but according to Wikipedia, it's art by poor people. But if you want to see for yourself, it's free on Friday nights from 5:30 to 7:30. And it's right next to MoMa, which is also free from 4 to 8, so if you're at MoMA and you want to get away from the crowds, come here for a minute. I've heard you can get through the whole thing pretty quickly - it's not very big. They also have free music starting at 5:30.

History Buffs Only - New York Historical Society - We all know that New York is the center of the universe and it's the most important city. Ever. So it's no surprise that there exists a museum that shows how New York played a role in every historical event, ever. Or just in America's history. Or whatever. I fell asleep during history class. But if you like history and you like New York, you should come here. And come Friday between 6 and 8pm, because it's free. It's next door to the Museum of Natural History, which is always pay-what-you-wish, so you can combine the two for a full day of education, if your brain could handle that. Mine couldn't; you'd find me passed out over a Shake Shack burger (which is now open right behind the museum).

All-American Art - The Whitney Museum - The Whitney is a great collection of 20th and 21st century American art. I think it's the most overpriced museum in the City. But it's worth seeing, it just hurts to spend that much. So don't. Fridays from 6 to 9pm is pay-what-you-wish. And since they gouge people every other day, don't feel bad about shelling over the change you found in your futon last night. 945 Madison Ave at 75th.

Do you know of something else that should be on this list? Leave it in the comments and I'll check it out and add it.

And if you think those are all pretty lame, check out these other NYC free events available every day!

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