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Funky, fun....FREE, in NYC
CityPASS holders already know the incredible bargains awaiting them in New York City at major Manhattan attractions like The Empire State Building, MOMA and the Statue of Liberty as well as other Big Apple draws. But did you know there are other inexpensive adventures available to you in this “city that never sleeps?” And pssst, many of the best ones are free. Here’s a quick peek at various NYC venues that are not only easy on the purse but also highly entertaining… and did we say FREE!
Grand Central Station
For over a century now, this is where the fashionable New Yorker has arrived in style. But if you arrive there at 12:30 p.m. on a Friday, you can have a chance to participate in a free walking tour of this magnificent 1913 Beaux Arts train station. Not only is there history here, but there are also plenty of cool shops to peruse throughout the terminal. Now through February 10, 2013 the New York Transit Museum presents its 11th Annual Holiday Train Show at this New York landmark. Think Grand Central Station in miniature; it’s a sight to behold (and free!). 120 Park Ave. at 42nd St.
New York Public Library
This 101-year-old beauty features two wonderful marble lion guardians, “Fortitude” and “Patience,” who reside just outside the library gargantuan doors (and were featured in such films as “The Wiz,” “Ghostbusters” and “Sex and the City”). These stunning sculptures help to protect the nearly 53 million items housed in the second largest library in the United States. Besides books, the New York Public Library also offers arty and science-stuffed exhibits. There are free tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday as well as 2 p.m. on Sunday. Fifth Ave. at 42nd St.
The New York Earth Room
The New York Earth Room, as presented by the arty and philanthropic Dia Foundation, is a work of art that is best “meant to be viewed, not entered.” That’s okay. It would be impossible to enter anyway as Walter De Maria’s 1977 art installation is a single room filled with 280,000 pounds of dirt. Yes, dirt. It’s a great antidote to all those folks who say that New York City is nothing but a concrete jungle and is just one of several free public art spaces the Dia Foundation offers throughout the city. The Earth Room is the ultimate “mud room.” 141 Wooster St.
Galleries are great spaces to get your art groove, and possibly even grab a complimentary glass of wine. Smart and chic, the Chelsea neighborhood is where you can spend a day enjoying artful endeavors, and at night, especially on Thursdays, a glamorous art opening or two. Mostly in the 20s Streets between 10th and 11th Avenues; westchelseaarts.com has a comprehensive list of local galleries.
Children’s Museum of the Arts
Why should grown-ups have all the arty fun? This child-focused, highly interactive museum exposes kids to all sorts of artful endeavors including painting, sculpture and other types of media. Entrance is by donation only on Thursdays from 4 to 6 pm. And, for members, CMA’s Art Slam is a free party, exclusively for 6th-9th graders every 3rd Friday of the month. From 6:30-9 pm CMA offers specialized workshops, music, guest artists, pizza and other cool stuff. 103 Charlton St.
Rudy’s Bar & Grill
Sometimes finding free food means going on an adventure. Such is the case at Rudy’s. The quintessential Hell’s Kitchen dive has an equal share of hipsters and hobos who love nothing better than to grab a beer and bite into one of their always-free hot dogs. 627 Ninth Ave.
Aurora Ristorante, Soho
“Amuse bouche” are tiny, tasty bites and there are plenty of those to be had all over the city. But Soho’s Aurora Ristorante Italian-based appetizers are actually free daily from 5 to 7 pm as long as you order a drink. 510 Broome St.
Keen’s is an old-school Manhattan meat-centric eating establishment that’s known as much for its single malt collection as it is for its USDA prime steaks. But did you know that in their pub you could enjoy a pint or a glass of pinot and dine on complimentary hard-boiled eggs all day? 72 West 36 St.
Cool market in a former factory in the middle of Chelsea. Great eats and fun little shops, it’s a great place to sample cheeses and other delicious offerings as long as you don’t hit it during its peak dining hours, especially during lunch. 75 9th Ave.
Obscura Antiques & Oddities
The hit Science Channel show “Oddities” comes to life inside this shop that delves into the weird world of strange and extraordinary science artifacts—everything from fingernail art to dinosaur poop—through the eyes of the proprietors. Who knows? You might get lucky and end up on an upcoming episode. At the very least you’ll be freaked out by this collection of “oddities” that truly lives up to its name. 207 Ave. A
TTUnderground is an off-shoot of the anime-obsessed Toy Tokyo—The Ultimate Toy Store Experience. Here is where pop culture is seen via the world of hip, and pricey, limited-edition designer toys. Works are displayed in several different mediums including clothing, vinyl toys, canvas, and even film. It’s smart. It’s art. And it’s fun. 91 2nd Ave.
Fashion Institute of Technology Museum
Menswear tends to get the short shrift when it comes to fashion-centered museum exhibits. Not so at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) which is currently presenting “Ivy Style,” an exhibition that celebrates one of the most enduring clothing styles of the 20th century. Focusing almost exclusively on menswear dating from the early 20th century through today, more than 60 ensembles, both historic and contemporary, showcase the classic “preppy” look that was kicked off by Ivy League university students and adopted by everyone else across the world. Seventh Ave & 27th St.