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Cheap$kate: The best FREE events in NYC this week


Minions! Credit: Minions from "Despicable Me 2."

‘Despicable Me’ Minion Monday
Pa-poy! Preparing for their debut at the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Blu-ray and DVD release of “Despicable Me 2” on Dec. 10, the little, yellow scene-stealing Minions will have the run of the city today as they take in the sights of the Big Apple. The Minion Mobile will be making stops around the city to distribute FREE giveaways along with one grand prize of a Minion Island Vacation to Hawaii to a lucky winner. Planned stops include Magnolia Bakery, Central Park, FAO Schwarz, Rockefeller Plaza/NBC Store, Pier 78, Times Square, the Theater District and Macy’s. (Monday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., FREE, Minion Mobile, various locations,

87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving in the Big Apple without the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. So head into the heart of the city to check out the balloons, floats, marching bands, performance groups and celebrities make their way down Sixth Avenue. The time-honored tradition enters its 87th year and kicks off the holiday season for Gothamites in grand style. Check out Macy’s impressive parade mini-site for more details and information on good viewing spots along the route. (Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon, FREE, 77th St. at Central Park West, turns down Sixth Ave. to Macy’s Herald Square,

Origami Holiday Tree lighting at the American Museum of Natural History
Head down to the American Museum of Natural History Monday morning to celebrate an annual museum tradition. This year’s 13-foot Origami Holiday Tree follows a theme of “Wicked, Wild and Wonderful,” with ornaments inspired by the museum’s new “The Power of Poison” exhibit, including fire ants, tarantulas, poison frogs and jellyfish, along with characters from literature, created by local, national and international origami artists. (Monday, 10:15-11 a.m., FREE, Grand Gallery, American Museum of Natural History, 77th St. Entrance between Central Park West and Columbus Ave.,

Tasting Tuesdays at The Bryant Park Holiday Shops
Get your fill of holiday flavors at The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park’s Tasting Tuesday. Check in with the staff on the library side of the rink and take a map for your self-guided tour of bites and beverages throughout the many vendors. Sample some pickles from pickle Me Pete, mini waffles from Wafles and Dinges and some hot Big Apple Cider, among many other treats from participating shops. Then head back to the staff at the registration table to snag a gift certificate while supplies last. (Tuesday, 4:30-6 p.m., FREE, The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park,

First Night, First Light
In an unusual convergence of calendars, the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving occur on the same date this year. So come down to the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan on Wednesday evening to kick off the Festival of Lights with hot chocolate, a latke bar, music, Hanukkah candle lighting and more. Then head around the corner to Columbus Ave. and W. 77th St. for a sneak peek of this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the inflation of the balloons. (Wednesday, 4-6 p.m., FREE, JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., 646-505-4493,

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