Your weekend plans begin here, with more than a dozen FREE and cheap things to do this first three-day holiday weekend of 2018. The NYCOTC weekend guide is $25 or less so you can take bites out of the Big Apple without eating up your budget, plus a few occasional splurges worth the money. And everything is family-friendly.
NYC isn’t expensive when you know where to go and what to do, and we do.
Unless a price is noted, our weekend list is FREE, but we usually remind you anyway, to be sure you know.
Friday and Saturday
6th Annual Black Comic Book Festival – Celebrates the rich tradition of Black comix featuring FREE panel discussions, film screenings, a cosplay show, and exhibit tables with premiere independent Black comic creators from across the United States. At the Schomburg branch of the NYPL, in Harlem.
Out of Israel Festival – The 92Y’s Out of Israel festival, now in its eighth season, celebrates Israel’s 70th anniversary with music, dance and film screenings, including a work by acclaimed Israeli choreographers Itzik Galili and Roi Assaf, performed by Israeli-American dancer Troy Ogilvie; a short solo by dance artist Roni Chadash; a new composition by the Danaka Collective and films by Joseph Bach and Shamel Pitts. Noon to 8pm both days. 92y.org. $10 in advance / $20 at the door.
Last chance – closing this weekend
Volez Voguez Voyagez is the FREE exhibit of 150 years of Louis Vuitton luggage, accessories, fashions and more, including a room of Red Carpet gowns combined with videos of the celebrities who wore them, and historic fashions familiar to those of us who are fans of Downton Abbey. There’s a wealth of fitted train and steamer cases, with drawers for everything including gloves and even a typewriter. Download the FREE app for augmented reality snippets of many exhibits, including one of the first automotive expeditions to the Far East, organized by Alexander Citroen, with luggage by his friend Louis Vuitton.
- Expect to spend 60-90 minutes there – as I did. The exhibit is in the Financial District. Reservations are given preference over walk-ins.
Operation Finale: The Capture and Trial of Adolph Eichmann reminds us how evil is born, grows and metastasizes. Eichmann was a Nazi responsible for the murder of millions of innocent people who might have lived out his days in Argentina as “Ricardo Klement”, until luck, a Holocaust survivor and Israel’s foreign intelligence service intervened. It’s one of the great spy stories of the 20th century.
The exhibit reveals the secret history behind the capture, extradition, and trial of one of the world’s most notorious war criminals, and examines the enormity of the crimes committed during the Nazi regime, and calls on us to consider the meaning of justice and accountability. The actual bulletproof glass booth in which he sat during his trial is part of the display, and the historic film clips of the trial are chilling, especially the clip in which Eichmann refuses to apologize for his crimes, saying the oath he took to Hitler supercedes everything, even organizing the murder of millions of innocent people. Eichmann is evil. Purely and simply evil.
You can take a self-guided tour of the exhibit, which includes the actual airline tickets uses by members of Israel’s Mossad to travel to Buenos Aires to apprehend Eichmann, but I absolutely recommend one of the FREE docent tours, which adds so much more behind-the-scenes texture to this important historic event.
- Expect to spend 60-90 minutes here, as I did, plus additional time to visit additional exhibits in the museum, in Lower Manhattan.
- Photo of Adolph Eichmann courtesy Times of Israel
World’s Largest Gingerbread Village – This annual extravaganza at the New York Hall of Science in Queens includes more than 1,000 structures and takes a year to build, and the village has won Guinness World Record titles several times. On the final day, the village is dismantled and the pieces are given away to charity. See it before it’s gone for the year, or go on the last day, when you can grab pieces for yourself. Bring your own bag to cart home the sweetness.
FREE Admission to National Park Service sites – Jan. 15 is one of the fee-free days during the year, when the National Park Service throws open the gates to national parks, monuments and historic sites for you to visit for free. NPS sites in New York City include the Statue of Liberty, Hamilton Grange and what everybody refers to as Grant’s Tomb.
Selma – Join the National Park Service to commemorate the life and contributions of renowned minister and civil rights activist Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. with a FREE screening of the film Selma, which tells the story of the 1965 campaign for equal voting rights that culminated in a march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama, led by Dr. King. The movement was one of the mostprofound victories of the civil rights movement as it led to the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Lyndon B. Johnson. At Federal Hall National Monument, 26 Wall St.
- 11:30am: Introductions and brief discussion of civil rights movement by Park Ranger Emily Nadal
- 12:00pm-2:00pm: Screening of Selma (runtime: 127 minutes)
Through Jan. 23
New York Jewish Film Festival – You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate documentaries, dramas and comedies about such universal themes as relationships between parents and children, the ethics of civil disobedience, the distress of war and immigration. More than three dozen films from a dozen countries are being shown at this annual film festival Lincoln Centrer.
The Butterfly Conservatory – Warm yourself in the beauty and color of thousands of butterflies, flittering around you in this annual winter treat at the American Museum of Natural History. FREE with admission, as is the famous AMNH Origami Christmas Tree.
Holiday Express: Toys and Trains – Watch vintage trains zip around the lobby of the New York Historical Society, threading their way around equally vintage toys and games. The popular annual display is open through Feb. 25th.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Seriously, you can now have a full breakfast at the iconic Fifth Avenue store, at the new Blue Box Cafe, decorated in the same shade as the famous Tiffany blue gift boxes, on the newly-renovated fourth floor. At $29, it’s just over our $20 benchmark, but every once in a while you have to splurge, and the splurge is even bigger if you opt for lunch ($39) or afternoon tea ($49). And shame on you if you don’t know Tiffany’s is at the corner of 57th and Fifth.
Know before you go
FREE apps on subway track work and schedulng delays – know what trains are bypassing what stations so you aren’t late for one of these free and cheap weekend events.
NYC official street closures website – know what streets are closed when for street fairs, parades, political protests and more.
2018 NYC parking calendar – know when you have to move your car, or not.
Subscribe to our email newsletter and get NYC on the Cheap in your inbox at 8am each morning. That’s FREE, too, and you’ll start the day with what you need to know to be a NYC cheapskate.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates for outdoor events. If not –
Every Friday in NYC
Freebie Friday – FREE admission to NYC museums including MOMA. No passes or coupons needed. Just go.
Get FREE admission to more than a dozen NYC museums with the IDNYC card. Enrollment is also FREE.
Freebie Friday: Family Fridays at MoMath – Solve puzzles, family-style, and learn how math affects everything, from music to space flight. 6:30pm, FREE The National Museum of Mathematics is at 11 E. 26th St.
Freebie Friday – Grand Central Neighborhood Tour. FREE every Friday at 12:30, docents from the Grand Central Partnership guide you through the history of the fabled Grand Central Terminal and some equally-fabled nearby landmarks including the Chrysler Building. There are no tickets, no reservations. Just meet at Sculpture court at 120 Park Avenue (southwest corner of East 42nd Street). Tour is 90 minutes.
Every Saturday in NYC
FREE Saturday admission at top NYC museums every Saturday all year includes the Jewish Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.
Every Sunday in NYC
FREE Sunday admission at top NYC museums including Morgan Library and Museum.
FREE Flatiron Walking Tour – Join professional guides on a 90-minute journey through this vibrant neighborhood, viewing some of the City’s most notable landmarks, including the New York Life Insurance Building, the MetLife Clock Tower, the Appellate Courthouse and the famous Flatiron Building. Every Sunday at 11am, rain or shine. No advance registration is required. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Also, check the list of best free things to do in NYC any day of the week, including weekends.
Enjoy your free and cheap NYC weekend.
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