Like all New Yorkers, and most humans everywhere, we love free.
Free stuff is great. So great that it's often hard to come by, or there's a catch involved.
One of the best free things that New York City offers every summer are Shakespeare in the Park tickets, an annual event courtesy of the Public Theater at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
The Delacorte puts on some of the most beloved Shakespeare plays with incredibly talented and experienced actors. This season, they'll be featuring all all-female comedy The Taming of the Shrew from May 24th to June 26th and stars Tony Award winner Janet McTeer, as well as the tragedy Troilus and Cressida, which runs from July 19th to August 14th.
The tickets are totally free, but the event typically draws huge crowds, so it definitely takes some dedication to secure them.
The Theater distributes tickets each day at noon in Central Park, so the most common way New Yorkers go about securing tickets involves camping out in the long lines that form in anticipation. The park opens at 6 a.m., but ticket-seekers will set up camp outside the park well before this. It's really not totally necessary to get there that early, but it's recommended to get there by at least 9 or 10 o'clock in order to get tickets.
Keep in mind that tickets are strictly limited to two per person, and the number of available tickets varies each day.
If this sounds like total hell to you, there are some options. In all 5 boroughs, vouchers are available on certain days from 12-2pm and can then be exchanged for tickets at the Delacorte Theatre from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
There's also an online lottery, for those of you who are feeling particularly lucky. All you have to do is create an account on the theater's website and enter your name between midnight and 12 p.m. on the day of the show. You'll be able to check after 12 p.m. to see if you were selected.
If all of these options sounds way too exhausting for you and you'd just rather cough up the dough for tickets, you can purchase a Summer Supporter ticket. A limited number of these are available, but 1 tax-deductible donation of $175 will secure you one seat for either performance.
The Delacorte certainly doesn't make it easy for patrons to nab a free ticket, but trust us, for the spectacular quality of these shows (not to mention being able to enjoy them in a gorgeous outdoor space), it's totally worth it.
That being said, good. luck. You're going to need it.
Check out 7 Free Things Going on This April in NYC.