What to do in New York in January

By Go City Expert

The holidays are long gone, and the only thing that keeps you going is your daily mocha latte and the thought that one day, rumor has it, a season called spring will appear. But fear not! January brings its own delights (and we do mean delights, not just “things to get you through an annoying month.”) From popups to pastries, stick with us for ways to make the month fun, not just merely tolerable.

Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan 20

Civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. was known for his non-violent approach to advancing civil rights; he was assassinated in 1968. Now in its 34th year, the largest event of its kind brings together artists, activists, and community leaders at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House to celebrate the life of the famed civil rights leader. A combination of talks, music, an art exhibit, and more, the event is free and open to the public.

Winter Lantern Festival

Until Jan 12
For starters, there’s the Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. If you still need easing away from the holiday lights and festivals, this is a good one to check out. More than 1,000 lanterns morph into incredible luminescent art and a variety of amazing shapes and figures, from plants to animals and mythical creatures. The exhibit includes eight acres of lights (!) plus interactive exhibits and live shows.

The Progressive New York Boat Show

January 22-26
Next up, the New York Boat Show at the Javits Center is an annual tradition, with a surprising amount to offer both boat lovers and those who are just along for the ride - figuratively speaking. The show's main draw, of course, is dozens of boats for sale, from kayaks to yachts, but visitors will also find miniature boat building for kids, food and drink, including a Nathan's hot dog cart and a Boar’s Head sandwich station, and even a career day, about jobs in the marine industry. It’s one of the many annual things to do in New York in January that marine and sailing enthusiasts should look out for.

Winter Jazzfest

Until January 17
Over the course of nine nights, visitors to Winter Jazzfest are treated to jazz performances at a series of venues across the city, including, this year, ones in Brooklyn. One wristband gives visitors entry to any venue—as long as it isn’t full. Visitors will have the opportunity to see more than 100 performers, including drummer/bandleader/artist-in-residence Mark Guiliana, and Brazilian musician Seu Jorge.

Lunar New Year Celebration

January 25
Celebrate the start of the Year of the Rat, the first in the Chinese zodiac cycle, at the Queens Botanical Garden. The Lunar New Year celebration includes crafts, activities designed for the whole family, and a lucky plant sale. FYI, the plants are lucky, not the sale. Performances are also on the docket, and past events have had such offerings as a taekwondo demonstration and a dance performance. The 39-acre site may not be as well-known as the gardens in the Bronx or Brooklyn, but this is a good opportunity to explore it, even during the winter.


Now on
Have you ever wondered what New York seems like to a tomato? No, neither have we. And yet, we now have Tomatoland, a 4,000 square foot pop-up designed to educate visitors about the environment and excess consumption. Visitors are treated to such exhibits as Refrigerator World, which highlights our use of exceas packaging; Noodle Swing, where attendees can sit in a swing suspended from a giant fork and try on costumes; and a Ketchup Pool, which offers travel in a bottle-cap car to meet some green-tomato cousins. The exhibit also includes places perfect for photo ops as well as some interactivity.

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Image courtesy of Tomato Land[/caption]

Frost Fest

January 24
If it’s January, it must be time for...bumper cars on ice! Yes, that’s a thing, and a good one. You can spin, twirl, and bump your way across the ice at the Bryant Park ice rink, and, starting January 24, you can also take a spin if you go there for the 10-day Frost Fest, a series of programs including live entertainment, an Igloo experience, and a silent disco.

NYC Broadway Week

January 21-February 9
If you love theater but not the prices, check out the winter version of Broadway Week; it actually lasts more than a week. This is the time to get two-for-one tickets to some of the most popular Broadway shows around, or ones you might not necessarily attend. You may even be able to snag tickets for shows like Book of Mormon and Chicago. Tickets go fast--so you shouold be, too.


Ever had the urge to visit a NYC rooftop bar in January? No? Well, now you will. A number of sky-high bars in New York are outfitted for winter weather, including Ophelia, which sits at the top of an art deco tower and will make you feel like you’re inside a snow globe. Grab some cocktail fare, like a truffle potato wedge or a French onion slider, and an actual cocktail. Then gaze at the amazing 360 city views and enjoy the feeling that you’re inside a jewelery box. Looking for other sky-high venues? Check one out here.

Looking for more ways to take advantage of the city this month? Check out The New York Pass.

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Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection

When the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright subverted typical art gallery layouts with a spiral ramp, he opened up a new perspective for enthusiasts of avaunt garde art everywhere. "I think the legacy of this building is in the message that architecture does not have to lie down and play dead in front of art," said Paul Goldberger, an architecture critic for The New Yorker. "That there are other ways to show art than in a neutral space. That an architect can do something, that's powerful in itself, and that enhances the experience..." © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Sixty years on, the Guggenheim is celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright’s contribution to the enjoyment of art with its first-ever artist-curated exhibition. Presented by Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince, and Carrie Mae Weems, the collection highlights works of art from the turn of the century to 1980. What is Artistic License? Artistic License presents nearly 300 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and installations. Some of these works have never been exhibited before and engage with contemporary hot topics. Think early modernist dreams of utopia and the charged political debates of the 1960s and ’70s as just some of these themes. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation The artist collective curating the exhibition have drawn upon their own practises and influences when selecting the artworks. In this way, every one of the six ramps in the rotunda is a starkly new reading of the collection. Curator profiles and what to expect Cai Guo-Qiang Influences and work: Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues. Featured artists: Featured artworks include Vasily Kandinsky’s Munich(ca. 1901–02), Piet Mondrian’s Blue Chrysanthemum (ca. early 1920s), Mark Rothko’s still life Untitled (Still-Life with Rope, Hammer and Trowel) (ca. 1937), and works on paper by artist Hilla Rebay, who was also the Guggenheim’s first director. Installed salon style. Location: High Gallery and Rotunda Level 1 Themes: Primordial passions that ignite the creation of art on paper by artists known for their abstract or conceptual practices. © 2019 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris Paul Chan Influences and work: Experimental projects. Chan is known for a diverse practice that ranges from animated video projections to charcoal drawing, public performances, and haunting sculptures. Featured artists: Chan’s selections range from Fernand Léger’s late painting Starfish (1942) to Lawrence Weiner’s conceptual work (1970), and from Willem de Kooning’s canvas ...Whose Name Was Writ in Water (1975) to Laurie Simmons’s photographs of dollhouse-scale bathroom scenes from the 1970s. Location: Rotunda Level 2 Themes: Bathers in Western art history and ideas about water, relationships between pleasure and the human body. Exile in the canon of twentieth-century art will also be explored. © Laurie Simmons Jenny Holzer Influences and work: The deconstruction of how meaning is created in Western culture’s patriarchal, consumer-oriented society. Featured artists: Lee Bontecou’s sculptural relief Untitled (1966), Louise Nevelson’s monumental wall sculpture Luminous Zag: Night (1971), Adrian Piper’s self-portrait The Mythic Being: Smoke (1974), a selection of Chryssa’s neon works and a canvas from the 1960s and ’70s. Location: Rotunda Level 6 Themes: This presentation illuminates gender disparity and the exclusion of women from art history. Holzer has selected works made exclusively by female artists. © Adrian Piper Julie Mehretu Influences and work: Large-scale paintings and works on paper. Mehretu’s work is inspired by global urban landscapes, political unrest, and modernist history. Featured artists: Featured works include Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Crucifixion (March 1962), Romare Bearden’s gelatin silver print (photostat) Evening 9:10, 461 Lenox Avenue (1964), Matta’s painting Years of Fear (1941), and David Hammons’s body print Close Your Eyes and See Black (1969)—a recent acquisition. Location: Rotunda Level 4 Themes: This presentation reflects on how trauma, displacement, and anxiety in the decades after World War II found expression. © 2019 The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London Richard Prince Influences and work: Prince pioneered the use of appropriation in his early photo-based works and “Monochromatic Joke” paintings to comment upon the way desire is created and perpetuated in the mass media. Featured artists: Featured works include those by Martin Barré, Conrad Marca-Relli, Georges Mathieu, Kenzo Okada, and Judit Reigl, among others. Prince has also included two canvases by Stuart Sutcliffe (an early member of the Beatles). Location: Rotunda Level 3 Themes: The stark similarities in the formal qualities of the museum’s international holdings of abstract painting and sculpture from the 1940s and ’50s. He raises the question of how, ultimately, taste is formed. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris Carrie Mae Weems Influences and work: Interrogations of systems as they relate to the constructions of power, race, gender, and class. Featured artists: Featured works include Joseph Beuys’s installation Virgin(April 4, 1979); Franz Kline’s Painting No. 7 (1952); Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Black on Gray) (1969/70); examples from Ana Mendieta’s Silueta Series, which she began in 1973; and Martin Puryear’s sculpture Bask (1976). Location: Rotunda Level 5 Themes: The formal and metaphoric use of a strictly black-and-white palette across different decades, mediums, and genres. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn June 18: Cai Guo-QiangJuly 30: Jenny HolzerSeptember 24: Julie MehretuOctober 8: Paul ChanNovember 19: Carrie Mae WeemsDecember 17: Richard Prince Enjoy free entry into the Guggenheim Museum with The New York Pass. Need another art fix? Check out our MoMA blog.
Suz Pathmanathan

10 Things to Do This Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an American holiday created to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. The holiday marks a time of reflection, solidarity and unity and a true celebration of life. So whether you call New York home or you're simply visiting for the holidays, here are 10 tips and suggestions for this Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day Parade There's nothing like a parade in New York City: there's a reason why these parades are broadcast all over the world. While this parade might not receive the same kind of attention as the New Years or Thanksgiving Day parades, this is still a great (and free) event to take in with the family. It takes place on Monday. The largest of the parades, in Queens, starts at Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard at 2 p.m. The 151-year-old parade in Brooklyn, that begins at 78th Street and 3rd Avenue at 10 a.m, is the most historic parade in the U.S. Empire State Building There's nothing like a visit to the Empire State Building. Whether you've done it before or this is your first time, a view from the observation deck on the Empire State Building is well worth it. Memorial Day weekend marks the kick-off of the summer travel season, so visits will greatly increase. Take in the view now, while it's comparatively quieter. Glow Party NYC Memorial Day Weekend If you're a night owl and looking for a destination to dance Sunday night into Monday morning, the Glow Party NYC Memorial Day Weekend is where it's at. The party takes pace at the Sound of Brazil on 204 Varick Street. You can RSVP for free until 11.30 p.m. the night before (visit Ticketweb.com for that). There are also complimentary glow sticks offered at the venue. After all, it wouldn't be much of a glow party without your own personal glow stick. There's no cover charge to enter until after 12 a.m. Memorial Day Fair Here's a great activity for you and the entire family. It takes place the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend and runs from 12-5 p.m. Located at the Sunnyside Gardens Park, you'll find a collection of live Americana music, a magician, live performers and all kinds of other acts. There are arts and craft vendors, small rides for young children, and plenty of food for you to enjoy. When you want to get outside of the city and have a bit of fun in the sun, make sure to check out the Memorial Day Fair. 9/11 Memorial and Museum Memorial Day in New York is a day of remembrance, so try and make some time to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It is a somber location, yet an important one. The beautiful location where the former Twin Towers once stood is a reminder of what the country has been through and solidarity in the face of crisis. Both the memorial and the museum are free to enter. Memorial Day Weekend Rooftop Day Party Cocktail drinkers and free-spirited dancers unite. The Memorial Day Weekend Rooftop Day Party is exactly what you're looking for, particularly if you're not looking to stay out too late. This event takes place on Sunday and runs from 3-10 p.m. You'll find the day party at Hudson Terrace, 621 W 46th Street. There is a $10 cover charge to enter (you can purchase tickets ahead of time at Ticketweb.com). Live DJ.s will be performing and there is complimentary Hennessey for the first hour of the show (so get there early). This is an event for 21+ Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises New York City truly looks good from every angle. While you may have seen it countless times from within, have you ever seen it from the water? The Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise shows off the iconic NYC skyline and gives you a full two-and-a-half our tour of the Island of Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn. The tour will be guided so you can listen to the history of the city as the cruise traverses the water around New York City. Memorial Day at the Museum at Children's Museum of Manhattan There are a number of events taking pace at the Children's Museum of Manhattan (212 W. 83rd Street) over the course of the weekend. You can take part in crafting a sculpture that will be dedicated to departed loved ones. You can also take part in the Star-Spangled Wind Chime event, where you will make your very own Memorial Day wind chime. These events are for children five years of age or younger. It is a drop-in event, so you don't need to RSVP your spot (although it is a good idea to show up early to make sure you get a good seat). The statue sculpting begins at 10 a.m. (and you can stop in at any time up to 5 p.m. throughout the weekend). The wind chime event is on Monday and runs from 1-1:45 p.m. Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours Looking to be a bit more active this Memorial Day Weekend? Why not head out to Central Park and book a two-hour bike tour. It's a fun way to explore the park and, with a guide, you'll learn about the park's extensive history. Top of the Rock Observatory Think of this as the opposite of the Empire State Building view. The Top of the Rock is located in the Comcast Building and gives you a perfect view over Central Park and of the Empire State Building. Take in the panorama of the city an hour before sunset to see the buildings in daylight clarity. Then watch the sky's palette change and the city sparkle in darkness as the sun dips away. These are just 10 of the best options for what to do in New York this Memorial Day weekend. Chances are, you'll find something that fits your needs, whether you're visiting with the family or you live in New York and just want something out of the ordinary to do. Looking for more things to do? Check out our blog on The Statue of Liberty Museum?
Suz Pathmanathan
rain nyc

Things to do in New York When it Rains

Rain; the burden of humanity. For millennia we've built roofs to keep it out, and created devices to keep it from touching our delicate skin. While you may be tempted to stay in when the heavens open, why let an entire weekend go to waste? Get out there and see what things there are to do in New York when it rains. Don't worry about the research; we did all that for you. Simply scroll down and learn all about the best things to do in New York when it rains! Including: American Museum of Natural History Madame Tussauds New York & MARVEL Universe 4D New York's amazing art museums Escape Virtuality Area 53 and more! Image courtesy of Mykolastock/Shutterstock Get historical, naturally What better way to dodge mother nature's shower than dipping into a museum? New York's full of the beauties, but we'd recommend the American Museum of Natural History. Why? Well, because it has freaking dinosaurs. What else do you need? The site of the famous Night at the Museum movies, inside you'll find one of the biggest collections of dinosaur bones on the planet. But of course, there's much more than just that. How does a 94-foot whale model sound? Equal parts awe-inspiring and terrifying? Absolutely. How about a giant, 2000-year-old sequoia tree? Brilliant. Why not top things off with a 563-carat sapphire named the 'Star of India'? Yes. All that and much more awaits you in one of the world's premier museums. So why wait? Easily one of the best things to do in New York when it rains. Image courtesy of Alina Zamogilnykh/Shutterstock Rub waxy shoulders with the stars Hollywood has become somewhat synonymous with plastic surgery. The ever-evolving need to reach perfection has resulted in generations of body augmentation. But if you think Hollywood is plastic, wait till you get a glimpse of the static stars at Madame Tussauds! Everyone's favorite fame celebration is here, letting you snap photos with all the stars. And best of all, there won't be a streak of blur in sight! Throw gang signs with Donald Trump, hop on E.T.'s bike without his permission, and mingle with other people who do acting! And, for you superhero fans out there, you can also attend Marvel Universe 4D, an immersive cinema experience that brings your favorite spandex-wearing heroes to life. And best of all, it's all inside! If it wasn't, would the famous people melt? Who knows? Get some much needed culture in you Speaking of ducking the rain, why not fill your mind while doing it? We're talking art, ladies and gentlemen, and New York's got more art museums than you can shake a brush at. Let's start with the Museum of Modern Art — or 'MoMA', because you've got to love an acronym in this day and age. It's one of the most influential modern art museums in the world, with a fantastic collection of contemporary pieces housed within its delightful walls. See the likes of van Gogh's 'Starry Night', and Warhol's 'Soup Cans' up close. And take photos aplenty, of course. Or, go check out the famous Guggenheim, another brilliant collection of works from artists around the world. With big hitters like Picasso, Manet, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Renoir on show, you're bound to find something inspirational within its beautifully-designed walls. Or, for more modern art from more alive artists, go hide in the Whitney Museum of American Art. Focusing on active artists from the US, it helps ensure the American art scene survives and thrives throughout the years. And who knows, maybe you'll discover the next big thing there, or find your new favorite artist? Whichever you decide to go to, having your mind blown at one of New York's art museums is definitely one of the best things to do when it rains in the city. Reality, but virtually better What better way to avoid the reality of a rainy day in New York than to escape our reality completely? Discover new, exciting realities via a funky headset at Escape Virtuality - NYC's biggest and best virtual reality fun house! Challenge a friend, or a stranger, to a myriad of sports, activities, and other immersive experiences. Glide down a mountain on skis, or run from monsters in a haunted house. Climb a sheer cliff, jump out of a plane, or hop behind the wheel of a souped-up racecar. Let your imagination come to life, thanks to the movement replication of Escape Virtuality's ergonomic setup. Feel every hill, every fall, and every turn. It really has to be seen to be believed, so go and get your mind blown on the next rainy day! Area 51-adjacent Sometimes, the thrill of outdoor adventure is too good to pass up. We all have to get extreme sometimes, right? But if you're averse to a little downpour, you needn't throw cold water over the idea. Instead, head to Area 53 - New York's funner, safer alternative to Nevada's secret UFO base. Whether you're with friends, family, or planning a date, Area 53 has a wealth of fun activities on offer. Take your chances on the ninja course, try and escape the laser maze, bomb it down slides, or go head-to-head in the Battle Beam arena (think laser tag meets foam party). All that and much more awaits you at Area 53. Oh, and if you're looking for some kid-free fun, they also host over 21s nights with no rascals and sight, and a packed bar to boot. Secret drinks Let's round off our list of the best things to do in New York when it rains with a more refreshing downpour. We're talking bars, but not just any bars. Nope, today let's talk about secret speakeasies. Like many big cities these days, New York has seen the recent craze of faux-speakeasy slash cocktail bars hit its shores. So why not duck out of the rain and dive into a drink or three? La Noxe is one such place, and you'll find it tucked inside the 28th street subway station. Along with its rather diverse and affordable cocktail menu, you'll find a delightfully low-key ambiance, tapas bites, and smooth tunes in the background. Or, head to The Little Shop in Lower Manhattan. On first glance, it looks like your average convenience store, with snacks, household items, and other necessities on offer. However, head to the back, and you'll make your way into a secret speakeasy with a brilliant drinks menu. Your discovery will be the talk of the water cooler come Monday. And finally, pop into Attaboy, snuggled secretly into an often-overlooked part of Eldridge Street. This little speakeasy even has merch if you want to represent, and a patio - when the weather clears up. And that's our list of the best things to do in New York when it rains!
Dom Bewley

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