Things to do in New York today

The day's best things to do in New York—including free and cheap activities, concerts, screenings, shows, parties and more. It's your social emergency savior.

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Free things to do today

The Renegade Reading Series

  • Critics choice
  • Free

To celebrate its third birthday, the reading series has invited an amazing collection of writers to revisit the past and read their own high-school breakup poetry. Don't miss the angsty heartache of Elissa Schappell, Scott Cheshire, Leah Umansky, Hubert Vigilla and John Bob Proctor.

  1. Cool Pony 733 Franklin Ave, between Park and Sterling Pls, 11238
  2. Wed Aug 20
More info

Taste Talks with April Bloomfield

  • Free

Renowned chef and Spotted Pig founder Bloomfield is joined by media leader Daniel Stedman for a lunchtime discussion about new food and drink trends and her cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig.

  1. Bryant Park Reading Room W 42nd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Wed Aug 20
More info
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Today's best food and drink events

Taste Talks with April Bloomfield

  • Free

Renowned chef and Spotted Pig founder Bloomfield is joined by media leader Daniel Stedman for a lunchtime discussion about new food and drink trends and her cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig.

  1. Bryant Park Reading Room W 42nd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Wed Aug 20
More info

Today's free and cheap concerts

Hessismore

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Hessismore, the brainy pop vehicle of Danish oddball Mikkel Hess, plays five consecutive nights' worth of album-release shows in support of Myheadisaballroom/Whoneedsapalaceanyway, a new LP featuring weaving guitar lines, dubstep-like synth bass, strange but touching lyrics (“I love to sleep with you / But what I love even more is to be awake with you”) and punchy saxophone.

  1. Nublu 62 Ave C, between 4th and 5th Sts
  2. Wed Aug 20 - Fri Aug 22
More info

Frontier Ruckus

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Michigan's Frontier Ruckus performs its poetic, modern folk-rock. Fans of down-to-earth Americana should make it a point to catch these guys; we're impressed by the way they incorporate vintage elements without getting bogged down in nostalgia. On Aug 19, Wild Adriatic opens; on Aug 20, Matt Sucich and Howth kick things off.

  1. Rough Trade NYC 64 North 9th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves, 11249
  2. Wed Aug 20
More info

Jonathan Kreisberg Trio

  • Price band: 1/4

Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg, an ace straight-ahead player who also wades into swirly psychedelic territory in his sideman appearances with soul-jazz great Dr. Lonnie Smith, continues his long-running Bar Next Door residency.

  1. The Bar Next Door (downstairs at La Lanterna di Vittorio) 129 MacDougal St, between 3rd and 4th Sts
  2. Wed Aug 20 - Wed Sep 24
More info
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Today's best arts and culture

Downtown Dance Festival

  • Critics choice

Battery Dance Company offers its 33rd annual festival. The five-day series of events showcases an eclectic range of styles, and includes the Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance, curated by the Indo-American Arts Council (Aug 20). Each evening ends with an open dance party at 7:45pm.

  1. Robert F. Wagner Park Battery Pl, between West St and 1st Pl
  2. Wed Aug 20 - Thu Aug 21
More info

Donkey Punch

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Donkey Punch. SoHo Playhouse (see Off Broadway). By Micheline Auger. Directed by Audrey Alford. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission. Donkey Punch: In brief A woman tries monogamy while her best friend dates a pornographer in Micheline Auger's look at sex and love in the modern age. Audrey Alford directs. Donkey Punch: Theater review by Raven Snook Named for a raunchy (and supposedly fictitious) anal-sex maneuver, Micheline Auger's dramedy lands a few solid blows on relationships in the postfeminist era, both romantic and platonic. Two twentyish BFFs, promiscuous Kareena (Cleo Gray, achingly raw) and prudish Sam (Lauren Dortch-Crozier), think they're looking for that special someone, when really they're just trying to find themselves. Going outside her comfort

  1. 15 Vandam St, between Sixth Ave and Varick St
  2. $45
  3. Wed Aug 20 - Sun Aug 31
More info

No Static at All

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

One man, one chair, one record player, one hour and a crate half-full of weathered vinyl: These are the simple yet potent ingredients of Alex Knox's stunning solo show. Through seemingly unconnected detours into his musical obsessions, most notably his fervent love for ’70s rock group Steely Dan, Knox effortlessly weaves a warm and heart-wrenching tale about losing his best boyhood friend. What begins as a love letter to a band expands into a ballad that explores the depths of the human condition. And Knox’s precise, unflinching delivery—coupled with the lyricism and rhythm of Becca Wolff’s direction—keeps the audience rapt from the first needle scratch.—Terri White Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

  1. 115 MacDougal St, at Minetta Ln, second floor
  2. $18
  3. Wed Aug 20 - Sun Aug 24
More info
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Tonight's best comedy show

Friends of Single People: BKCF Edition

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Instead of letting solo fliers mingle, this dating show forces friends of potential suitors to represent their buddies in a Q&A-style interview. Once matches are made, the actual singles will be introduced for the first time. A past couple has since moved in together, so you single friends, don't knock it just yet. Who knows? You might find yourself singing "Hold on...we're going home" to your own former single someone. The Brooklyn Comedy Festival (Aug 18-24) will be hosting this one for an especially hilarious edition.

  1. Littlefield 622 DeGraw St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Wed Aug 20
More info
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Tonight's best nightlife

Nurse Bettie Burlesque

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Shelly "The Singing Siren" Watson hosts this night of burly-Q action at the intimate Nurse Bettie, which features both nightlife newbies and stars of the Gotham scene.

  1. Nurse Bettie 106 Norfolk St, between Delancey and Rivington Sts, 10002
  2. Wed Aug 20
More info

Roots

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

House heroes Louie Vega (of Masters at Work) and Kevin Hedge (of Blaze) have kept New York dance music alive and kicking for more than ten years with their long-running midweek dance party.

  1. Cielo 18 Little W 12th St, between Ninth Ave and Washington St
  2. Wed Aug 20
More info

Glitter Gutter

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This evening of old-school downtown entertainment (burlesque, comedy, sideshow performances and more) is fast and loose—and sometimes messy. Each week brings a unique show.

  1. Slipper Room 167 Orchard St, at Stanton St
  2. Wed Aug 20
More info
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Users say

3 comments
Kerry A
Kerry A

I have a complaint: I'm an avid reader of the "Undateable" section in Time Out, where Time Out sets up two strangers on a date. Well, last week's article featured a boy who wrote extremely cruel things about his date. I understand you want people to be honest, but I can hardly support someone ripping their date to shreds publicly.

Melodie D
Melodie D

Calle 13 is doing a signing today at 6pm at El Barrio Music Center in Harlem!

Arlene
Arlene

So many different kinds of events. Not your usual touristy stuff , and free. Love this site.

Make a restaurant reservation

Cookshop

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 156 Tenth Ave, at 20th St
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Isa

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 348 Wythe Ave, at South 2nd St
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Café Boulud

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 20 E 76th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves, 10021
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Tamarind Tribeca

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 99 Hudson St, at Franklin St
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