By Leonora Desar
The end of summer resonates with a particular sense of loss for New Yorkers after a summer enjoying a wide array of free events to choose from in an otherwise costly city. That said, fall in New York – with its lack of summertime and holiday crowds, mild temperatures and lush foliage along the Hudson and in Central and Riverside Parks – is one of the most magical times of year to explore the city. And, in spite of the apparent dwindling of events, it is still possible to enjoy it for free, without even leaving the Upper West Side.
With the official start of fall on Friday, here is a sampling of my top five ongoing free events this fall.
Theater — Target Free Thursdays and Meet the Artist Saturdays at The David Rubenstein Atrium
From witty reinterpretations of Gilbert and Sullivan to musical theater to performances by up and coming bands and songwriters, Target Free Thursdays at Lincoln Center offers a wide cross- section of musical genres this fall. Performances take place at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center every Thursday night at 8:30 PM. The David Rubenstein Atrium also hosts Meet the Artist Saturdays on the first Saturday of each month at 11:00 am. Meet the Artist Saturdays features informal one-hour interactive presentations designed for family appeal. Seating for both events is on a first come, first serve basis. Check here for a calendar of both Thursday and Saturday events.
Fitness — Walk NYC
On a fall morning the air somehow seems clearer, especially from the vantage point of 83rd street and Riverside Drive, where one can enjoy majestic views of Riverside Park. Walk NYC offers a free one hour walk for all ages on the Upper West Side as well as at various locations throughout the city. The walk is led by a fitness instructor every Wednesday at 9:00 am and every Friday at 8:00 am through December 30th. Meet at 83rd Street and Riverside Drive.
Wine-Tasting — 67 Wine & Spirits
It’s pouring rain, the first really cold day since Labor Day, when I step inside the welcoming, homey entrance of 67 Wine & Spirits. No sooner have I traveled a few paces when an English accented voice inquires, “Can I get you a glass of wine?” 67 Wine & Spirits offers free tastings almost every day of the week throughout the year, including their Monday We Heart New York State Wine Tastings (4 -7 PM), Tuesday tastings featuring staff selections (4 -7 PM) and free special book signing events. Check the 67 Wine Event Calendar weekly for updated listings.
Exploration — Free Central Park Walking Tours
The Central Park Conservancy offers free, volunteer-led walking tours this fall. Be guided through the labyrinthine, serene pathways of a 38 acre woodland respite in the one hour Amble Through the Ramble tour, which meets every Tuesday this September at noon. In both September and October, tour the 70-year-old Conservatory garden Saturday mornings at 11 am. For further details, check here.
Literature — Barnes and Noble Upper West Side Author Readings
This fall, the Barnes and Nobles Upper West Side store will feature author readings as often as four times weekly, from Jeffrey Sachs to Anita Hill to Lyn Di Lorio, whose magical debut novel interlaces Afro-Caribbean witchcraft rituals into the narrative of a woman’s elusive disappearance. Readings start at 7 PM. Check here for the complete calendar of events.
Photo by _PaulS_ via flickr.