Free arts and culture this week in New York City

Think you have to be a swell to soak up cultural life in the big city? Our weekly rundown of free arts events in NYC proves otherwise.

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1

"Grand Central Centennial Quilts"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Last spring, American Patchwork & Quilting magazine teamed up with local store the City Quilter to host a national contest for blankets inspired by the 100-year-old terminal. The grand prize, first- and second- place winners, and 27 finalists in this display draw from the building’s design

  1. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex Grand Central Terminal, E 42nd St, between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves
  2. Wed Apr 16 - Sun Jul 6
More info
2

"Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Walls"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Leslie-Lohman presents a sure-to-be-steamy exhibit of illustrations featured in gay male magazines, from early beefcake "fitness" periodicals in the 1940s to the more blatantly porny titles of the 1990s. Artist Robert W. Richards curates the show, which includes works by Tom of Finland, George

  1. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 26 Wooster St, between Canal and Grand Sts
  2. Wed Apr 16 - Sun May 25
More info
3

Books at Noon

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The NYPL's latest series invites bibliophiles and casual librarygoers alike to hear from local names and distinguished out-of-towners about their new titles.

  1. New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Fifth Ave, at 42nd St, 10036
  2. Wed Apr 16 - Wed May 7
More info
4

Matthew Pillsbury, "Nate & Me"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Artist Matthew Pillsbury documents his coming-out process at age 30 in 11 black-and-white photos drawn from his "Screen Lives" series.

  1. Sasha Wolf Gallery 70 Orchard St, between Broome and Grand Sts, 10002
  2. Wed Apr 16 - Sun Apr 20
More info
5

Linda Simpson, "Pages"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Shutterbug and nightlife veteran Linda Simpson presents a gallery show inspired by her book of the same name, featuring portraits of her friend and fellow downtown scene-maker Page.

  1. ClampArt 521–531 W 25th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10001
  2. Wed Apr 16 - Sat May 17
More info
6

Mary Roach: Gulp

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In previous books, journalist and creative nonfiction writer Roach has wandered through the morgue, and pondered ghosts, coupling and space. Her latest, Gulp, enthusiastically considers the oddities of the human digestive system.

  1. Strand Book Store 828 Broadway, at 12th St
  2. Wed Apr 16
More info
7

George Saunders: Congratulations, By the Way

  • Free

Last year's lauded collection, Tenth of December, continued Saunders's rigorous play while locating even more vulnerability than past collections. The short-story writer also gave a commencement speech on the virtues of kindness that went viral, and this book is the by-product.

  1. The powerHouse Arena 37 Main St, at Water St
  2. Tue Apr 22
More info
8

Gary Shteyngart: Little Failure

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  • Free

Though his father once warned him not to write "like a self-hating Jew," satiric novelist Shteyngart's new memoir can't help but dig into a childhood marked by illness, an awkward adolescence and a lonely adulthood with relish—or, say, a dish of Russian gherkins.

  1. New York University, Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House 58 W 10th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Thu Apr 17
More info
9

Crime Fiction Academy: Joyce Carol Oates

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Aspiring writers, take note: The ever-prolific Oates lectures about the craft of the whodunit tonight. Her latest, Carthage, tells of a teenager's disappearance in upstate New York and what happens in her small community when an Iraq War vet is pegged as the prime suspect.

  1. Center for Fiction 17 E 47th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Thu Apr 17
More info
10

Pete's Reading Series

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Every other Thursday, Mira Jacob and Alison Hart host this intimate reading series in the narrow railcar at the back of Pete's Candy Store.

  1. Pete's Candy Store 709 Lorimer St, between Frost and Richardson Sts, 11211
  2. Thu Apr 17 - Thu May 29
More info
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