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The best free things to do in NYC this week

The best free things to do in NYC this week include the Feast of San Gennaro and a photo show under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Sneak Peek at Freshkills Park in Staten Island
Photograph: Anna Quinn Sneak Peek at Freshkills Park in Staten Island
By Charlie Connell |
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It's a busy week with a plethora of activities for the taking. You're gonna need this list of the best free things to do in NYC if you are to have any hope of avoiding serious FOMO. First and foremost, you must go to the Feast of San Gennaro. Little Italy will be packed to the gills with tourists, vendors and delicious smells. Next, before the weather starts to turn cold you should spend some time in the great outdoors hiking around Freshkills Park. It's by far the prettiest former landfill in all the land. Lastly, head to Brooklyn and check out Photoville. Located under the Brooklyn Bridge, the massive photo exhibition is one of the highlights of the fall. And, since you're in the neighborhood, walk on over to the Time Out Market and flaunt your mental acumen at our weekly Trivia Night.

RECOMMENDED: Find out more free things to do in NYC

Free things to do in NYC this week

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Things to do

Feast of San Gennaro

icon-location-pin Little Italy Grand, Little Italy
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In its 93rd year, the celebration of the patron saint of Naples will fill the streets of Little Italy with carnival games, parades, live music and more food than one could possibly imagine. In addition to vendors in town specifically for the festival, most of the local eateries will be set up to serve the dishes that put Little Italy on the map. This is a feast, afterall, so why not have a few eating contests? In addition to the famous cannoli challenge, this year also has meatball and zeppole competitions. The 11-day long festival is one that every New Yorker must experience at least once. The festival is set up along Mulberry St between Canal and Houston Sts; Grand St and Hester St between Baxter and Mott Sts.

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African American Day Parade
Photo: Courtesy of the African American Day Parade
Things to do

African American Day Parade

icon-location-pin Various locations, Hell's Kitchen
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On the third Sunday of September the streets of Harlem fill up with people as the African American Day Parade marches up Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. (Seventh Ave.) in a celebration of Black American heritage. This year is extra special as it marks the 50th straight year for the event. Join Grand Marshals Brian Benjamin, Hakeem Jeffries, David Dinkins, Charles Rangel and more as the parade kicks off from 111th Street at 1pm.   

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Brooklyn Book Festival
Things to do, Literary events

Brooklyn Book Festival

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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This annual literary celebration brings together spectacular writers from across the globe for a full week of talks, shopping and even yoga to satisfy the borough’s brainiacs. Bookend events will be taking place all week, including an editors roundtable and a reading of Walt Whitman while traipsing around in the dark. The full schedule of these events can be found here. All those events lead up to the main draws: Saturday's Children's Day and Sunday's Festival day. This year boasts appearances by authors Jonathan Safran Foer, Ebony Flowers, Joyce Carol Oates, Tina Chang, Ilya Kaminsky, Nick Bruel and many more.   

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Photograph: Courtesy Kisha Bari
Things to do

Photoville

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Heights
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Photoville is back! And your Insta is about to get meta. NYC hosts a bounty of beautiful photography exhibitions, but only Photoville can claim to be as pretty as the photographs it showcases. Held in and around giant shipping containers in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the massive celebration of pictures features more than 600 artists, 80 exhibitions, talks, screenings, seminars and hands-on photography workshops for budding shutterbugs. There's also a food & beer garden from Smorgasburg. The best part: Photoville is totally free, and dog-friendly! Find a full list of hours and events on Photoville's website.

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Gansevoort Plaza
Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media
Things to do

Gansevoort Plaza Community Concert

icon-location-pin Gansevoort Plaza, West Village
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The Cornelia Street Café, a famed West Village institution, closed its doors in January, but its spirit will be very much alive during this Sunday afternoon concert hosted by former owner Robin Hirsch. There will be many familiar faces from the Café's past will be making surprise appearances on stage to perform music, poetry and more. And that's in addition to the already killer lineup including David Amram & Co., Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and the Shinbone Alley Stilt Band.

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Queens Night Market
Photograph: Courtesy Queens Night Market
Things to do

Queens Night Market

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science Design Lab, Queens
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Consider yourself a travel-loving foodie? Queens Night Market is your one-stop shop in NYC to discover bites from 80 countries. Try a diverse range of grub that runs the gamut from Middle Eastern stews and Barbadian fishballs to Romanian-Hungarian chimney cake and tacos al pastor. The open-air bazaar operates from 5pm to midnight every Saturday, but the market has more to offer aside from fulfilling your late-night food cravings. Plus, stick around for the performances of Bollywood dancers, Indian electronica tunes, DJs and more.

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Trivia Night at The Market
Photograph: Courtesy Time Out Market New York
Things to do, Trivia

Trivia Wednesday's at Time Out Market New York

icon-location-pin Time Out Market New York, DUMBO
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NYC Trivia League is New York City’s most popular trivia night, with over 75 locations! It’s always free to play, and free to register for our 10-week season league format, where teams can play not only against those at their home bar, but against other registered teams across the city! Every season culminates in The King’s Cup, our invite-only trivia championship, with thousands in prizes on the line. Teams of six and fewer compete for two hours for a shot at [great prizes]! You’ll answer 50 questions over the course of five rounds, all with different themes, complete with a picture round and a music round.

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Sneak Peek at Freshkills Park in Staten Island
Photograph: Anna Quinn
Things to do

Discovery Day at Freshkills Park

icon-location-pin Freshkills Park, Staten Island
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Once the world’s biggest landfill, Freshkills Park has undergone a radical transformation since the final trash barge sailed away in 2001. Now you can frolic through 700 acres of closed trails, ponds and meadows in the massive man-made park at this preview event. Bring your bike and take a scenic ride or join a guided tour and learn about the park’s new phases. Shuttles are available from the Staten Island Ferry.

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Hellenic Dancing at the Staten Island Greek Festival
Courtesy: Staten Island Greek Festival
Things to do

Staten Island Greek Festival

icon-location-pin Holy Trinity - St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Staten Island
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Do not, we repeat, do not go to the Staten Island Greek Festival on a full stomach. The annual celebration of Hellenic culture has some of the best food of any of the summer's festivals. Cast aside boring corn dogs and elephant ears, here you'll get to gorge upon dolmades, moussaka, gyros, baklava, loukoumades and more. Plus traditional music on stage every night, Hellenic dance performances, a gambling tent, carnival games, rides for the kids and did we mention the food? Opa! 

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Jenny Gorelick and Zach Teague
Photograph: Courtesy Bridget Badore
Things to do

HOT & FUN: Comedy and Karaoke

icon-location-pin Baby Grand, Greenpoint
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Crushworthy comedians Jenny Gorelick and Zach Teague host this mash-up party of stand-up and singing. Get down to high-energy sets from the city’s best acts, then hit the stage for an always-lit karaoke after-party. Your Pointer Sisters lyrics better be on point—this isn’t amateur hour!

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