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Free Museums In New York City

by Elena on February 18, 2010

MoMA Museums in New York CityNew York City is a mecca of culture, art, music, and society, where you can brush elbows with artists and creatives in one of the many museums, theaters, or galleries that the city has to offer.  Unfortunately for many however, New York City is also a mecca for those paying high rent, a high cost of living, and just getting over an economic depression.  It isn’t always so easy to experience culture without the cash, which is why smart New Yorkers and travelers alike take advantage of FREE NYC.  As a student living in NYC, I used to get into quite a bit of museums for free merely by showing my student ID, but you don’t have to be a student to enjoy the benefits of free culture.  In fact most museums in NYC have a night when one can visit and pay absolutely nothing to enter.  There are also quite a few lesser known museums that are free to enter at any time.  Take a look at the compiled list below to find out when you should visit each museum.

MoMA | Museum of Modern Art

Admission to the MoMA is free for all visitors on Target Free Friday Nights.  Every Friday evening from 4pm to 8pm.  The museum also offers what they call MoMA Nights.  Every first Thursday of every month, the MoMA stays open until 8:45pm.  Although you do have to pay admission, you can enjoy free gallery talks and music.  There is also a cash bar and a pre fixe dinner on this night.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Although the Metropolitan Museum of Art lists entrance fees, if you pay closer attention you will see that these fees are suggested.  If you want you can enter without paying anything, although I have gotten a few dirty looks from the employees until I show them my old student ID with an extended expiration date.  Don’t be guilted into paying if you don’t have the cash, but if you do you can donate if you wish.

Guggenheim New York

The Guggenheim offers a pay-what-you-wish program on Saturday evenings from 5:45-7:45 pm.  The program means exactly what it says, pay what you wish, which means free!  Check out the Guggenheim’s calendar of events.  Sometimes they offer programs and events that are free for students.

American Museum of Natural History

At the American Museum of Natural History there is a suggested donation of $15, but we all know what suggested means.  If you want to see the show at the planetarium you will need to pay the full price of admission.  The museum also hosts the party One Step Beyond once a month (every second Friday) inside the Rose Center for Earth and Space with the Planetarium looming overhead.  The entrance fee is $20 in advance but you can use the ticket as free admission to the Planetarium space show.

New Museum of Contemporary Art

The New Museum offers Target Free Admission for youth everyday of the week, so if you are 18 years or younger, you get to enter for free.  General admission is $12 and student admission is $8.

American Folk Art Museum

Every Friday after 5:30 until 7:30 pm admission to the American Folk Art Museum is free for visitors.  Not only is the museum free, but there is live music, as well as your choice of food and drink provided at the cafe (which you have to pay for).

Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney has a pay-what-you-wish admission on Friday nights from 6-9 pm.

Museum of the City of New York

The Museum of the City of New York has a suggested donation of $10.  If you live in the neighborhood all you have to do is say “I’m a neighbor” at the entrance, and they will let you in for free.

MoMA Museums in New York City

Here is a list of museums that are free every day:

Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
The Hispanic Society of America
National Museum of the American Indian
Carnegie Hall/Rose Museum
Dahesh Museum
The Drawing Center
Artists Space
Goethe House German Cultural Center
The Municipal Art Society



Weekly Photo: Modern Art at MOMA New York City

by Elena on February 18, 2010

MOMA in New York CityEnjoying modern art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.



Weekly Photo: Grand Central Station

by Elena on November 4, 2009

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station, New York City



Halloween in NYC

by Elena on November 2, 2009

Lucille Ball, Wonder Woman, Zombie, Lady Gaga, PilotFor those of you unconvinced of the magical powers of All Hallow’s Eve, allow me to ask you this.  What other holiday allows grown adults and children alike to dress up in the wildest costumes without the least bit of social stigma?  Yes some of you may think that this is a child’s holiday, but venture out in New York City on October 31st and you will soon think otherwise. This year in particular, it felt like everyone wanted to take advantage of the chance to dress up as their alter ego, not letting some pesky rain get in the way of all the fun.  The fact that there is this one time of the year where we are allowed to escape our traditional roles, and if we so choose, prance down Bleeker Street in a pink tutu covered in blood or our eyeballs falling out of their sockets is somewhat freeing, don’t you think?

This year the streets were filled with superheroes, detectives, Jokers, the undead, Gilligans, Mary Anns, harlots, detectives, Monroes, Jackie O’s, pop stars, rolls of toilet paper, and even giant green Gumbys?  Add the fact that Halloween fell on the Saturday coinciding with game 4 of  World Series, Yankees vs Phillies.  Needless to say New Yorkers were going nuts.  We won… by the way.  Sorry Philly fans.Doctor, Sleepy, and Wonder WomanAll corners of the Village, East, West, Greenwich and everything in between, had people walking around in costume, some even getting a little too into character.  We stumbled upon a Bruno so dedicated to his role he had to interview every person in his path.  The living dead were jumping on unsuspecting pedestrians and the occasional taxi cab.  The Halloween Parade that marches down 6th avenue, often times takes over two hours to fully leave the starting point.  It truly is an experience that people visiting this city won’t ever forget, definitely the most eccentric NYC parade you will ever see.  The great part is that everyone is allowed to participate.  You merely need to show up at the starting point in your best costume, and you are free to parade down 6th avenue dressed as a giant flea, zombie, fire breathing dragon, or whatever else your creative mind can come up with.

Halloween Parade in New York City


Image via: clgregor

Toilet Paper Man

Image via: Bob Jagendorf

PiratesImage via: celebdu

NYC Finest and Obama

Image via: Bob Jagendorf


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The Wall Street Journal has declared the top cities for the Young and Restless. They dutifully noted that less people are moving around, no doubt because of the uncertain economy, but they predict that when things pick up, so will those young and restless souls looking for a new city to call home. These cities have a few similarities, for one they are big urban cities, with plenty of financial opportunities. People aren’t flocking to smaller, less pragmatic towns because of financial constraints, although Portland made the list, so the allure of the bohemian isn’t completely lost.

Washington DC – 1st Place (tie)

Youth Magnet Cities Washington DCNew job prospects in government, and an extremely popular president, are very appealing to young urban professionals looking to make a name for themselves. “In the eyes of some people, Barack Obama is America’s coolest boss.” Although the chances of overhearing political jargon during happy hour in D.C. is as high as overhearing financial musings over lunch in New York City, you need not work in politics in order to enjoy living in this town. While politics may rule, there are plenty of other factors that attract the upwardly mobile masses. In neighborhoods such as Adam’s Morgan you will find bookstores, bars, farmer’s markets, restaurants, art galleries, and coffeehouses; a far cry from the expanse of Capitol Hill.

Seattle, WA – First Place (tie)

Youth Magnet Cities Seattle Public MarketFor someone like me, who has been dying to visit this west coast city, I concur with Seattle’s inclusion on the list, mostly because of my own preconceptions. Seattle seems to be where the innovative (think Starbucks and Amazon) mix with their rugged, nature loving friends. Not to mention the beautiful terrain that lies just outside of the city. Of course there are a few disadvantages, although I won’t over saturate you with my complaints of constant rain and never-ending humidity. Ok and I admit, I also really want to see those flying fish at the Pike Place Fish Market.
Image via: Phil Roman

New York City- Third Place

Youth Magnet Cities New York CityNew York City is an obvious choice for many. The city attracts people from all over the world who have to live in this iconic city. It certainly lives up to the hype. Frankly it boggles my mind how so many young people, working on measly salaries (perhaps an entry-level media job or a waitress gig to pay for school) can afford to live in such an expensive city. I don’t know how, but I do know why. Because they love it. It is that simple. You have to live in New York City to truly understand the charm and madness that collide in these yellow taxi filled streets. There are some who complain about the noise and the frenetic pace, the ones who have told me that, ‘eh NYC just isn’t for me.’ This East coast girl tends to tune them out.

Portland, OR – Fourth Place

Youth Magnet Cities PortlandPortland is quirky and for lack of better terminology seems to be the ‘trend’ as of late. With good reason of course. There is a deeply rooted artistic scene in Portland that has been attracting artists and free spirits for quite some time. The unemployment rate (11.2%) doesn’t seem to bother these folks. The appeal is that it may be the anti-big city. There isn’t the frantic pace and the preconceived judgments about how much money you make or who you work for. It seems that Portland promotes a more laid back approach to city life, something that Pacific Northwest cities do so well.
Image via: egazelle

Austin, TX – Fifth Place

Youth Magnet Cities Austin DowntownWhen people talk about Texas, Austin always gets a lot of praise. Austin has a slightly cooler climate than other cities in the state, as well as a youthful culture. If the neighborhood has good bars, trendy restaurants, galleries, and good coffee, give it some time and the young and hip will soon follow.
Image via: Kafka0622



New York City and Petanque

by Elena on July 6, 2009

One of the reasons New York City is so unique is because of the conspicuous happenstances you come across everyday. You can see a businessman in heels chasing down a bus, a naked cowboy with a guitar in Times Square, the 6 mile expanse of green smack dab in the middle of a high rising metropolis, or a juggler performing on the side of the FDR Drive and merely chalk it up the the fact that anything, and I mean anything, can happen in New York City.

This past spring I was walking around and taking pictures with a friend of mine. I never got a chance to post them and I wanted to because I think they are so quintessential NYC. Not necessarily momentous, but rather a mundane and casual afternoon.

Washington Square Park finally is opened to the public. All the other times I visited in the past 2 years I had the misfortune to see uninviting gates and fence surrounding the area where I used to roam instead of attending classes. This spring day the park returned to what I remember most about New York City, the way people come together to use the public space, in particular the parks that are always bustling with people playing games, catching some rays, walking their dogs, or going for a stroll.

In the park you will often find a group of men throwing around a metal ball. We decided to ask them the name of the game we had seen many times before but didn’t really understand. One of the guys told us it was a French game named petanque (similar to Italian bocce or English bowls).

The purpose of petanque, played by millions of French in the summer months, is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a wooden ball called the cochonnet. It is often played on a dirt surface which I would imagine provides an appropriate cushion for the metal balls being thrown.

You throw the ball with somewhat of an arc as you can see with the guy below. I thought the cigar in his mouth was an authentic touch, because in my mind I imagine lots of men coming together to play, smoke cigars, talk about sports, and enjoy the good weather and company. But that is my interpretation.

The origin of the games petanque, bocce, and bowls, is said to derive from Ancient Greece and Rome. For a full set of rules on how to play petanque check it out here.



MOMA – Target Free Fridays

by Elena on April 28, 2009

Times are rough for many, but that doesn’t mean you should give up your right to art. The MOMA offers Target Free Fridays, which means if you go from 4pm to 6pm you don’t need to pay a dime. You enter the museum and grab a ticket from the ticket counter and then they whisk you on your way.
The museum was crowded needless to say because of the free entrance, but the excess people made for some interesting shots.Andy Warhol Gold Marilyn Monroe. An icon commemorates another icon.Roy Lichtenstein Girl Drowning. The painting reads: I don’t care! I’d rather sink – – than call Brad for help. One of my favorite paintings.
Strewn on the floor was what looked like a pile of paper mache and thread. I do try to keep an open mind when it comes to art, particularly modern art, however the concept was lost for me on this one.
Pablo Picasso Three Musicians.Don’t remember the name of this painting but I love the colors.Appreciating art.


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Bright Lights Big City

by Elena on April 27, 2009

Sometimes it takes an outsider to really experience the intrigue of your hometown. My friend from Argentina could not believe that after 25 years of living just 30 minutes away from one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, I hadn’t gone to a few of the most popular tourist sites. I had never gone to the Statue of Liberty, never gone up to the observation deck in the Empire State Building, and never sailed to Ellis Island. I thought Times Square was a tourist trap, and frankly I dreaded pushing past tourists as they gazed up, stupefied at all the bright lights.

In my defense, I know many others from the area who hadn’t seen these attractions either, after all we figure that they will always be here. We don’t need to do the silly things tourists do in order to really know our city. Perhaps this may be true, however those silly tourist things also make up New York City, and they make New York rather incredible.
Since I’ve known it, Times Square has always been somewhat of an adult amusement park. I didn’t know the gritty Times Square with its peeps shows and sex shops. To me it has always been one big TV commercial, with lights and advertisements, a true emblem of American capitalism.
Now Times Square has evolved once again. Suddenly it is a place where people are encouraged to sit down and relax, rather than the old place where you hurriedly push everyone out of your way. There are seats you can sit on in the middle of it all. The bleachers also encourage further loitering on the small cement island smack dab in the middle of Time Square.
This is different than the Times Square I used to know, although it was nice to sit on the bleachers and take a look around. I mean it’s hard not to. There are just so many different things going on over there. Strangely enough, after a few more minutes of gazing out into the advertising horizon, I felt the need to spend my money on useless products and Broadway shows. Needless to say that was enough Times Square for one day.