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PR- 464-08
November 24, 2008


With Economy on the Decline, Today's Announcement is Part of a Series of Initiatives to Help More New Yorkers Stretch their Paychecks Further and Weather the Storm

Call 311 or Visit for More Information on these Events and Activities and Many Others

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today outlined dozens of examples of free and low-cost, family-friendly cultural activities occurring throughout the City, and encouraged New Yorkers to take advantage of them. New York City's museums, parks, theaters, public libraries, recreation centers, Business Improvement Districts, and other venues offer many attractions, including special holiday events, with a free or suggested admission cost. Inspired by New York City's Just Ask the Locals campaign that encourages visitors to ask New Yorkers about the City, Mayor Bloomberg asked several New Yorkers - Monica Chierici of the Bronx, Yasminda Rivera of East Harlem, Louvinia Pointer of Brooklyn and Sean Sweeney of Staten Island - to name their favorites low-cost cultural activities. With the economy on the decline, today's announcement is part of a series of initiatives announced by the Bloomberg Administration to help more New Yorkers stretch their paychecks further and weather the storm. The Mayor was also joined by First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh, and Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Steve Sanderson. The Wildlife Conservation Society operates the Bronx Zoo, where the announcement was held.

"New York City is the cultural capital of the world, and all New Yorkers, regardless of how old they are, what borough they live in or how much they make, have a great opportunity to benefit from it," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We have invested heavily in New York City's museums, theaters and parks over the years, and now, especially in this difficult economic time, all New Yorkers should take advantage of them. These institutions are yours to enjoy. Walk through the Henry Moore sculptures at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, take a date to the Brooklyn Museum to see ‘The Black List Project,' an exhibition that depicts the faces and voices of prominent African Americans like Colin Powell and Toni Morrison, explore some of Staten Island's historic sites, bring your kids to the Children's Science Lab at the Queens Public

Library, or take a tour of Gracie Mansion - and do it all for free. The entire nation is facing tough economic times, but with New York City's vibrant cultural life and world-class parks, there's no better place to be with your family, especially around the holidays."

"Most people don't realize that the City's support for cultural groups is matched more than tenfold by private contributors," said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Levin. "During tough economic times, this public-private partnership means that people don't have to sacrifice what makes living, working and playing in New York City so great. The City's cultural organizations remain committed to welcoming all New Yorkers, and there are so many ways to participate - visit a museum, see a show, volunteer, become a member or a subscriber."

"Through the Department of Parks and Recreation, the City Parks Foundation, the Historic House Trust and many non-profit Parks partners, New York City offers an array of low-cost activities for the whole family this season, from ice skating to scavenger hunts to chess lessons," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Benepe. "We hope that all New Yorkers will visit our more than 50 recreational facilities, 15 nature centers, 1,200 monuments and 22 historic house museums to enjoy time together without having to spend a lot of money."

"I encourage New Yorkers to go out during this holiday season and explore the diverse neighborhoods that make this City so unique," said Small Business Services Commissioner Robert Walsh. The Department of Small Business Services works with New York City's 60 Business Improvement Districts in all five boroughs, many of which are hosting free events throughout the holiday season. "Locally-based organizations, including many of our Business Improvement Districts, are sponsoring creative, family-oriented activities throughout the five boroughs. Whether it's a tree lighting ceremony, an outdoor musical performance, or ice skating, there are countless events for you and your family to enjoy."

New York City offers hundreds of events and exhibits that are free or low-cost to the public. Below is a sampling:


Live Jazz, Poetry Jam and "The Black List Project" at the Brooklyn Museum
Explore the documentary exhibition, "The Black List Project," which depicts the faces and voices of prominent African Americans, such as Colin Powell, Toni Morrison, Serena Williams and Chris Rock. On December 6th, stay for a night of live jazz, a poetry jam by the Welfare Poets and a dance party. 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn. FREE the first Saturday of every month from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM. December 6 events begin at 5:00 PM.

Go "Behind the Screen" at the Museum of the Moving Image
Discover how movies are made, make your own sound effects and create your own flipbook at the "Behind the Screen" exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image. 35 Avenue at 37 Street, Astoria, Queens. Tuesday through Friday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 NOON to 6:00 PM. FREE through the holiday season.

5,000 Years of History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Discover ancient Egypt, explore the Temple of Dendur, see how samurai warriors dressed, and take in one of the finest art collections in the world at one of the most renowned cultural institutions. 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, Manhattan. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30AM to 5:30PM. Suggested admission.

Catch a Birdseye View of New York on Your Own Two Feet at the Queens Museum of Art
Find your neighborhood and explore others within the Panorama of the City of New York, a 9,335-square-foot architectural model of the City that includes every single building constructed before 1992 in all five boroughs - a total of 895,000 individual, miniature structures. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens. Wednesday - Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 NOON to 5:00 PM. Suggested admission.

Identity by Design: Indigenous Dress at the National Museum of the American Indian
Observe intricate Native American women's dresses and accessories from the early 1800s to the present. One Bowling Green, Lower Manhattan. Open everyday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (8:00 PM on Thursdays). FREE.


Learn to Tango at the Brooklyn Public Library
Learn the fundamentals of the world's favorite partner dance or hone your moves at the Brooklyn Public Library. Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. December 6 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM for beginners and 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM for advanced dancers. FREE.

Be Broadway Bound with TKTS
Purchase discount same-day tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals and plays at the spectacular new TKTS booth in Times Square or one of the other locations. Broadway and 47th Street, Manhattan; Front and John Streets, Lower Manhattan; and 1 Metro Tech, Downtown Brooklyn. Open every day, times vary.

Date Night at BAMCafé
Enjoy an evening with family and friends on Fridays at BAMCafé. This Friday is Funk Buddha Hip Hop Holiday night, featuring Akim Funk Buddha. 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn. FREE on Friday evenings at 9:00 PM.

Music, Theatre and Birds of Prey at the New Children's Center at The New York Public Library
Enjoy musical retellings of "Peter and the Wolf" and "Pinkalicious," watch a performance of "A Christmas Carol," and encounter hawks, owls, falcons and other species up close, and much more at a two-day family festival of free events to celebrate the opening of the new Children's Center at The New York Public Library. 476 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. Varied events on November 28 and 29. Call 311 for information. FREE.

Magic and Mystery at the Queens Public Library
Enjoy a unique blend of mind-reading, dynamic feats of escape and breathtaking illusions by master magician, mentalist and escape artist Michael Lee at the Queens Public Library Elmhurst branch. 86-01 Broadway, Elmhurst. November 29 at 3:00 PM. FREE.

Peter Pan at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
This fresh retelling of the children's classic has been adapted for the stage with an original score, hand-crafted marionettes, and a new setting in New York City. Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park near the West 81st Street entrance. $8 for adults and $5 for children.


Ice Skating in New York City
Grab your skates and head to one of the City's six ice skating rinks listed below:

  • Abe Stark Rink, Brooklyn. Admission: $8, skate rental: $5.
  • Kate Wollman, Brooklyn. Admission for adults: $5, children/seniors: $3, skate rental: $5.50.
  • Lasker Rink, Manhattan. Admission for adults: $4.50, children/seniors: $2.25, skate rental: $4.75.
  • The Pond at Bryant Park, Manhattan. Admission: FREE, skate rental: $12.
  • Wollman Rink, Manhattan. Admission varies, call 311 for information.
  • War Memorial Rink, Staten Island. Admission: $8, skate rental: $5.

Henry Moore Sculptures at the New York Botanical Garden
Take the stroller or a friend to see the iconic, monumental sculptures of world-renowned artist Henry Moore installed across the Garden's 250-acre campus. Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road. Bronx. FREE on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 10:00 AM to 12:00 NOON

Jenny Holzer Illuminates the Guggenheim
Jenny Holzer's newest work - a light exhibition commissioned to mark the completion of the Guggenheim's three-year restoration project - casts writings and poems directly onto the facade of Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark building comprised of the artist's own writings and numerous poems. 1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street, Manhattan. Fridays through December from sunset to 11:00 PM, with a special showing on New Years Eve. FREE.

Broadway Billboards at Socrates Sculpture Park
Preview sets from Lincoln Center's 2009 November performances, designed by artist Robin Rhode, whose larger than life Promenades adorn the Park entrance. 32-01 Vernon Boulevard and Broadway, Queens. Open everyday from 10:00 AM to sunset. FREE.

Post-Turkey Super Hike through the Northern Trails of Van Cortlandt Park
Those looking to get rid off those extra calories from the holidays or just enjoy the autumn outdoors, should join the Parks Department Urban Park Rangers-led hike through the northern trails of Van Cortlandt Park. Broadway and Mosholu Avenue, Bronx. November 29 at 11:00 AM. FREE.

Star Trek in the Woods of Inwood Hill Park
Join the Urban Park Rangers for a nighttime exploration of the woods of Inwood Hill and the skies above. West 218th Street and Indian Road, Manhattan. November 29 at 9:00 PM. FREE.

Turkey Count Hike in Pelham Bay Park
If you've still got turkey on the brain, join the Urban Park Rangers on its annual turkey count for a "hunt" for this elusive bird on the Siwanoy Trail. The Bartow-Pell Mansion at 895 Shore Road, Bronx. November 30 at 10:00 AM. FREE.

Winter Scavenger Hunt through Fort Greene
Explore the nooks and crannies of Fort Greene while searching for hidden treasures. There will be two courses: one for families with kids, and a more challenging one for adults, with prizes awarded to the best hunters. Fort Greene Visitors Center in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn. December 21 at 11:00 AM. FREE.


Sparkling Stones and Unusual Insects at the Staten Island Museum
Families, discover the prehistoric treasures of natural science five days a week at the Staten Island Museum. 75 Stuyvesant Place, Staten Island. Open everyday, 12:00 NOON to 5:00 PM on weekdays and 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekends. Suggested admission.

Space out at the New York Hall of Science
Visit the rocket park and use microscopes to examine tiny organisms that were seen for the first time over 300 years ago at the New York Hall of Science's Microbial Zoo. 47-01 111th Street, Queens. Fridays from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM and Sundays from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. FREE.

Swing with the Lemurs at the Bronx Zoo
Bundle up the kids and head to the Bronx Zoo, where the penguins roam and the lemurs swing all day at the new Madagascar exhibition. 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx. "Pay-As-You-Wish" donation for admission every Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

Children's Science Lab at the Queens Public Library
Parents, bring your children ages 6-11 to hands-on activities and exciting lessons all about science, including growing crystals, studying metamorphosis with a butterfly release, and this Saturday, studying chemical processes through the making of butter for the Thanksgiving table. Queens Public Library Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. November 29 at 12:00 NOON. FREE.

Winter Survival Lessons at Prospect Park
Join the Urban Park Rangers as they reveal the astonishing winter adaptations that resident animals use to survive the frigid temperatures and give a lesson in how to identify animal tracks in snow and mud. Kate Wollman Rink in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. December 6 at 11:00 AM. FREE.


Take a Tour of Gracie Mansion
Visit the historic country home of Archibald Gracie built in 1799 that later became the home to New York City Mayors, starting with Fiorello La Guardia in 1942. Finish with cider in the Ballroom. FREE tours on December 5 from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM; call 311 to reserve a spot. Other tours are offered on Wednesdays at 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM at a cost of $7 for adults, $4 for seniors and always FREE for students.

Fort Totten Tunnel Tour
Discover the tunnels, hidden chambers and other forgotten and mysterious parts of Fort Totten with a lantern-armed guide from the Join the Parks Department Urban Park Rangers. Fort Totten Visitor Center at Ordnance and Lee Roads in Queens. November 29 at 1:00 PM. FREE.

Go Behind the Scenes at Grand Central Terminal
Join the Municipal Art Society of New York for a historical tour of the Beaux-Arts landmark Grand Central Terminal. Meet at the information booth on the main concourse at Grand Central Terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue, Manhattan. Wednesdays from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM. Suggested admission.

Candlelight Tour: Winter at the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum
View the farmhouse by the glow of "candlelight" and learn more about holiday and winter preparations in an early 19th-century Manhattan farmhouse. 4881 Broadway at 204th Street, Manhattan. December 7 and 27 at 4:00 PM. FREE.

Flushing's Historic Holiday House Tour
The Historic House Trust hosts a holiday tour of five museums and historic sites: the Queens Historical Society at the Kingsland Homestead, the Quaker Meeting House, Flushing Town Hall, Voelker-Orth Museum, and the Lewis H. Latimer House. The tour includes a guided trolley ride with a local historian, who will be narrating the ride, and each site will be festively decorated, have various holiday activities for the whole family, and serve holiday refreshments. Jump on at 143-35 37th Avenue, Queens. December 14 at 1:00 PM. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.

A Shoreline Holiday Trolley Tour
Join Parks & Recreation, the Historic House Trust, and the Preservation League of Staten Island for a trolley tour of Staten Island historic sites in all of their historic holiday finery. You'll be able to shop at the Kitchen Marketplace and visit Father Christmas at Conference House's "Colonial Christmas" celebration. Snug Harbor Building C, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island. December 14 at 10:00 AM. Free.

Learn to Cook, Play Chess or Record Music at a New York City Recreation Center
Explore the art of cooking at our culinary classes at Von King Recreation Center in Brooklyn, learn the ins and outs of chess with your whole family at the Greenbelt Recreation Center on Staten Island, mix your own music at the state-of-the-art recording studio at the Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn, or attend any of the myriad events and classes at one of New York City's many recreation centers. Yearlong memberships are free for children under 18, $10 for seniors and $75 for adults. Call 311 for more information.


Holiday Crafts and Stories at the Queens Public Library
Create placements and a turkey centerpiece, sing songs and hear stories celebrating the upcoming holidays of Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, and New Year's. For Children ages 6-11. Children's Room, Queens Public Library Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. December 16 at 4:00 PM. FREE.

Gifts of the Season: Tales for Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa at the Brooklyn Public Library
Storyteller Robin Bady tells stories from three different traditions that explore and celebrate the gift of giving from the heart. Central Library, Dweck Center, Grand Army Plaza. December 20 at 1:00 PM. FREE.

"Babes in Toyland" and "The Nutcracker" at Queens Theater in the Park
Enjoy this musical and ballet, both of which have become holiday traditions for many. Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Toyland on November 30 at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Nutcracker on December 29 and 30 at 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. $12 per person.

Holiday Music Concert with Bronx Arts Ensemble at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
The Bronx Arts Ensemble will perform a festive holiday program featuring costumed singers and a double reed band (oboe, oboe d'amore, English horn and bassoon). The performance tells the story of the Dutch Sinterklass—a colonial celebration in Old Nieuw Amsterdam, hosted by the Historic House Trust. December 13 & 14 at noon. FREE.

Family Affair Holiday Party at the Bronx Museum of the Arts
Celebrate the holiday season with activities for children ages 5 - 11 and their families that will include art-making, food, and guided tours of Street Art, Street Life - an exhibition documenting street art from the 1950s to the present. 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx. December 13 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. FREE, but participants should register in advance.


Many BIDs have events in addition to those listed below; call 311 for further details.

Holiday Season Kick-off in Downtown Flushing
Listen to carolers and enjoy free food and drink at the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub BID's Holiday Season Kick-off. 136-50 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing. November 24 at 5:00 PM. FREE.

Ninth Annual Winter's Eve at Lincoln Square
Performances by the Bacon Brothers, Father Goose, Hazmat Modine and Boogaloo Brasileiro, $1 to $4 food tastings from 25 restaurants, street performers, ice sculptors and more. Broadway between Columbus Circle and 68th Street, Manhattan. December 1 from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM. FREE.

Holiday Tote Giveaway at Union Square
Pick up a free holiday tote and join the revelers in Union Square. Union Square Park, Manhattan. Daily through December 24; Monday - Friday from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Saturday from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. FREE.

Bronx Council on the Arts' Bronx Culture Trolley
Participate in a variety of free family activities including art exhibitions, a book signing party and a poetry reading, and ride the trolley, which will feature holiday medleys. Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street, Bronx. December 3 at 5:00 PM. FREE.

Downtown Brooklyn Free Musical Performances
Enjoy hot beverages and a variety of musical performances offered through the Shop Downtown Brooklyn program of the MetroTech BID, Fulton mall Improvement Association, and Court Livingston Schermerhorn BID. December 3, 6, 10 and 17; call 311 for times and locations. FREE.

Sunset Park Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
Enjoy local entertainment by BCAA Youth Chorus, St. Agatha School Chorus, Grupo Cultural Dances of Sunset Park and others at the Sunset Park Business Improvement District's Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. 5th Avenue and 60th Street, Sunset Park. December 4 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. FREE.

Fourth Annual "Sparkling the Heart of Fordham"
Enjoy holiday lighting and musical performances by the Learning Tree and Fordham University Gospel Choirs at the Fordham Road BID's annual holiday event. East Fordham Road and East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx. December 5 at 7:00 PM. FREE.

Miracle on Madison
Enjoy an array of performances and free food and drink at the Madison Avenue BID's annual "Miracle on Madison," where the street is open to pedestrians only and a portion of retail sales are donated to The Children's Aid Society. Madison Avenue between 57th Street and 86th Street, Manhattan. December 7 from NOON to 5:00 PM.

Alliance for Downtown New York Zuccotti Park Tree Lighting and Concert
Celebrate the holiday season at Zuccotti Park with free refreshments and performances by The Parish Choir and Trinity Choristers and a festive holiday tree lighting. Zuccotti Park at Broadway and Liberty Street, Lower Manhattan. December 10 at 5:30 PM. FREE.

Brooklyn Heights Community Carol Sing and Tree Lighting
Join Brooklyn Heights' Grace & Spiritus Chorale for the Montague Street BID's community sing along Montague Street. Montague Street at Montague Terrace. December 10 from 5:30 PM to 6:45 PM. FREE.

Lights of Hope Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Jackie Robinson Park
Join the 11th annual tree lighting event which will feature carolers, toy distribution to youth participants, and free food and drink. Jackie Robinson Park, 89 Bradhurst Avenue at 146th Street. December 11 at 5:00 PM. FREE.

Community League of the Heights Tree Lighting Ceremony
Warm up with hot chocolate and donuts and join in the singing at the Community League of the Heights Tree Lighting Ceremony. Pagan Iyanka Park at Broadway at 157th Street, Inwood Heights. December 11 at 5:00 PM. FREE.


Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

Kate DeRosset / Danai Pointer (Cultural Affairs)   (212) 513-9323

Jama Adams / Meghan Lalor (Parks)   (212) 360-1111

Larry Scott Blackmon (SBS)   (212) 513-6318

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