Once upon a time, end-of-high-school me dreamed about going to college in New York City. “I’ll go to so many cool concerts!” I thought. “I’ll go to art galleries, get myself some culture!” I ran into the wall of reality when I arrived. Anything worth doing was expensive, and the battle between getting my arts kick and trying to avoid eating at Third North for every single meal was usually won in favor of a meal this didn’t consist of frozen lettuce.
But staying entertained in New York doesn’t have to be to expensive. The city is home to countless free — or relatively affordable — events just a short walk or subway ride away. So instead of sitting around this weekend, wishing those tickets for that concert at Barclays were suddenly $100 cheaper, head out and check out one of these events that won’t drain your budget.
Photoville at the Brooklyn Bridge (Free)
Is your Instagram feed in need of an update? Are you a photography buff looking for some inspiration? Well, this weekend a temporary photography exposition in Dumbo has you covered. In a scenic location under the Brooklyn Bridge, Photoville features work from more than 600 artists in 90 different installations set up in freight containers around Brooklyn Bridge Park. Exhibitions are open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Buttertones at Rough Trade NYC ($17.40 including fees)
LA rockers The Buttertones have a sound that will put you in a time warp. With a vibe that blends old-school-surf-rock-guitar riffs, with haunting post-punk vocals and bouncy saxophone melodies, the band caters to a more eclectic taste. They will be playing at Rough Trade NYC this Saturday night, a Williamsburg venue that doubles as a record shop, with, of course, a healthy dose of hipster kitsch; because it’s Williamsburg. The show starts at 9 p.m. and lo-fi-punk band Wild Wing will be opening.
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Screening at Museum of the Moving Image ($15, $11 with student I.D.)
The 2001 movie version of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” unfortunately does not star Neil Patrick Harris, but it does have a lot of fun musical numbers. The film, which tells the story of a transgender rock star who leaves East Germany to tour the United States, will be playing this Friday at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. The movie starts at 7 p.m. in the Museum’s Redstone Theater.
“Quit Your Day Job” Comedy Showcase at The Grisly Pear (Free)
When it comes to free stand-up comedy, few places boast a more prolific offering than the West Village. If you’re looking for a laugh this Sunday, head down to The Grisly Pear on MacDougal Street for “Quit Your Day Job,” a comedy showcase featuring comedians from Comedy Central, MTV and HBO’s Def Jam to name a few. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the Irish pub-themed comedy club offers an excellent cozy atmosphere to beat your end-of-the-weekend blues.
Monday Cinema Nights at Hotel Hugo (Free, 21+)
Let’s face it, sometimes Monday rolls around and you aren’t quite ready to face the week’s responsibilities. And what better way to blow off homework than a rooftop movie? Hotel Hugo, tucked into the West Village, on Greenwich Street, offers free movies on Monday nights at their Azul Rooftop bar. “Coco” will be shown next Monday at sunset, but get there early for a good seat. And for those of you who can’t wait to get spooky, “The Shining” will be playing the Monday after, Oct. 1 and “Halloween” will be playing Oct. 8. The only drawback — it’s 21 and over. So that ruins it for me too.
Email Ali Zimmerman at [email protected]