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

Rachel Kushner: The Flamethrowers

  • Critics choice

The stunning sophomore effort from National Book Award finalist Kushner (Telex from Cuba) is the story of a young woman in the mid-'70s who gets embroiled with men, the New York City art scene and revolution overseas.

  1. New York University, Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House 58 W 10th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Thu Apr 24
More info

Get It Out There

  • Critics choice
  • Free

BAM and IFC team up, working with comedy producer Caroline Creaghead to put together a free stand-up showcase of bold locals in BAM's atrium café.

  1. BAMcafé 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St
  2. Thu Apr 24
More info
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Today's best food and drink events

NoMad Upstairs

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Two weeks ago, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm—the young guns behind Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad—launched this classy jazz series evoking old-school New York. Sink into leather couches and listen to live bands, such as Grammy nominee Stacie Orrico, through Feb13. Butter-dipped radishes and chicken-liver mousse, along with other fine-dining snacks, are available on the bar menu, along with serious cocktails and wine.

  1. The NoMad Hotel 1170 Broadway, at 28th St, 10001
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Fri Apr 25
More info

Today's free and cheap concerts

"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 elements—clocks, chandeliers and the iconic celestial ceiling—as well as each artist's connection to the historic New York landmark.

  1. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex Grand Central Terminal, E 42nd St, between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Sun Jul 6
More info

Kendra Morris + Nikhil P. Yerawadekar & Low Mentality

  • Price band: 1/4

Kendra Morris—a Wax Poetics signee with a mightily soulful, syrupy voice—headlines at Baby's with support from Low Mentality, a buoyant groove outfit led by Antibalas member Nikhil P. Yerawadekar.

  1. Baby's All Right 146 Broadway, at Bedford Ave, 11211
  2. Thu Apr 24
More info
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Today's best arts and culture

Hayden Planetarium Space Show: Dark Universe

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The newest addition to AMNH's Hayden Planetarium launches you on an astronomical adventure—from Jupiter's atmosphere to the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, where Edwin Hubble first discovered other galaxies. Learn how dark matter (a.k.a. invisible matter) and dark energy (the force that accelerates the universe's expansion) shape outer space, and follow scientists on their journey to unearth cosmological mysteries. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson narrates.

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St, 10024
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Sun Jun 1
More info

"Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles!"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

On the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four arriving stateside, the Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Grammy Museum showcase memorabilia, recordings, videos and photos of the mop-topped musicians—and the Beatlemania that followed them.

  1. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, at 65th St
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Sat May 10
More info

"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 elements—clocks, chandeliers and the iconic celestial ceiling—as well as each artist's connection to the historic New York landmark.

  1. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex Grand Central Terminal, E 42nd St, between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Sun Jul 6
More info
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Tonight's best comedy show

The Stand

  • Critics choice

Sons of Essex’s Seth Levine turns out comfort-food spins—like cheeseburger pot stickers and duck-topped pizzas—at this comedy club–restaurant hybrid. After dinner, head downstairs to the club, where you can sip cocktails designed by Minetta Tavern vets, while acts like Judah Friedlander and Artie Lange supply the belly laughs. Test your stand-up knowledge and try to name all the comedians on the wallpaper in the bathrooms.

  1. 239 Third Ave, between 19th and 20th Sts, 10003
  2. Average main course: $12. AmEx, MC, V
Make reservation
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Tonight's best nightlife

La Soirée

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

La Soirée. Union Square Theatre (see Off Broadway). With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs. One intermission. La Soirée: In brief The team behind the 2006 Spiegeltent spectacular Absinthe returns to New York with another sexy razzle-dazzle of cabaret, vaudeville and neoburlesque. Performers include stars of the acclaimed troupe La Clique. La Soirée: Theater review by Adam Feldman [Note: The lineup of acts has changed since this review was written. The English Gents, Stephen "Bath Boy" Williams and Mooky Cornish are now joined by performers including Cabaret Decadanse, Marawa and Scotty the Blue Bunny.] Spice is the life of variety in the delectable La Soirée, a saucy revue that punches up neocircus, comedy, burlesque and cabaret with generous dashes of hot pepper. Much of the show was presented in New York City in 2006 at the Spiegeltent, under the name Absinthe; thanks to the core strength of its gifted performers, it is very enjoyable in this second helping. Hunky-dory acrobats provide most of the flesh. Denis Lock and Hamish McCann, billed as the English Gents, bring stiff upper lips and ripped upper bodies to a witty hand-balancing act, in which they affect imperturbable British gentleman’s-club airs while performing impressive feats of strength and flexibility. (McCann returns later for a slow, graceful Chinese-pole dance.) And the sculpted Stephen Williams, dressed only in a tight pair of blue jeans, makes the most of a bathtub and hanging straps in a splashy seat-wett

  1. 100 E 17th St, between Union Sq East and Irving Pl
  2. $49–$130
  3. Thu Apr 24 - Sun May 11
Buy tickets

Spanking the Lower East Side

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The ’50s-pinup–inspired venue Nurse Bettie (named for Bettie Page, one of the 20th century's premier hotsy-totsies) is a natural setting for burlesque performers. This weekly get-together is produced by "Asian sexsation" Calamity Chang, and usually includes six or seven acts, as well as preshow go-go dancers. Prepare to get up close and personal in the small, intimate bar space.

  1. Nurse Bettie 106 Norfolk St, between Delancey and Rivington Sts, 10002
  2. Thu Apr 24
More info

Downtown Top Ranking

  • Critics choice

Drown out the week with roots, rocksteady, dub and good classic reggae played by the aficionados of Deadly Dragon Sound.

  1. The Delancey 168 Delancey St, at Clinton St
  2. Thu Apr 24
More info
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Users say

2 comments
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

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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Union Square Cafe

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 21 E 16th St, between Fifth Ave and Union Sq West, 10003
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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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Kajitsu

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 414 E 9th St, between First Ave and Ave A
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