Your Guide to the Best Things to Do in NYC in January 2019
Forget the cold because January 2019 brings the No Pants Subway Ride, BroadwayCon, a JRR Tolkien exhibit and more things to do in NYC.
When it’s this cold, the urge to hibernate is strong — fight it with our guide to the must-do events, foods, exhibits and more things to do in NYC this January.
David Kwong builds crossword puzzles for the New York Times by day, but by night he’s actually better known as a magician, who has consulted on projects from Now You See Me and NBC’s Blindspot. Now he’s appearing as The Enigmatist at the High Line Hotel, inside a mysterious room called the Riverbank Estate for a night of illusions, cracking riddles and solving puzzles. Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 4-26, 180 10th Ave., $85, enigmatistshow.com
If you want to know what’s trending in the dance world, the American Realness dance festival is where you’ll find subversive artists taking center stage. The week-long festival brings together 59 performances of 16 productions over the course of 10 days, most of them new works as well as encores by popular demand. The shows are paired with talkbacks, parties and art installations. Jan. 4-13, multiple venues and times, $5-$100, americanrealness.com
Each January, the Public Theater pulls all the best performance art from around the world that premiered in the past year and collects it under one roof for its annual Under the Radar Festival. This year’s festival spans 11 days and several venues chosen to suit each production, which range from plays and concerts to musicals and genres we haven’t invented words for yet and often feature unconventional seating arrangements and staging. Jan. 3-13, $25 and up, publictheater.org
There’s got to be some superstition that says you’ll have a better year if it starts in laughter; and if not, you’ll still be happier for at least one night. Back for its 13th year, 50 First Jokes is an annual tradition at the Bell House where 50 stand-up comedians present “the first new joke they've written since The Ball has dropped.” Jan. 4, doors at 7 p.m., The Bell House, 149 Seventh St., Brooklyn, $15, thebellhouseny.com
For nine nights, New York’s venues will ring with the sounds of saxophones and trumpets during Winter Jazzfest, the year’s largest survey of the jazz scene with over 100 acts playing from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn, with its famous marathon sessions taking place both this Saturday and all next weekend. Jan. 4-12, $15-$105, winterjazzfest.com
Award season begins with the Golden Globes this Sunday, hosted by Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg. With a duo like that you’d be well served to tune in (or head to a watch party) — you wouldn’t want to miss Black Panther win Best Picture, would you? Jan. 6, 8 p.m., NBC
Modeled on the 2,000-year-old tradition of Chinese lantern festivals, New York’s first-ever Lantern Festival is a truly dazzling affair, filling seven acres of Snug Harbor in Staten Island with giant glowing light sculptures, LED tunnels, fun inflatable photo ops like a giant shark and much more. It’s totally unique and totally fun. Through Jan. 6, 2019, nyclanternfestival.com
The city’s tourism agency NYC&Company decided to combine its three slow season promotions into three weeks of crazy savings. Winter Outing is your chance at 2-for-1 tickets to essential New York attractions like going to the top of the Empire State Building or seeing a Broadway show, plus prix-fixe menus at hundreds of restaurants. Reservations open Jan. 9, Winter Outing goes from Jan. 21-Feb. 10, nycgo.com
The New York Jewish Film Festival dedicates two weeks showcasing Jewish history, culture and spirit through movies curated by The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, through a mix of documentary, narrative and short works from both new and established filmmakers. In addition to screenings, the fest features talkbacks with directors, critics, professors and more. Jan. 9-22, Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th St., free-$25, filmlinc.org
The Brooklyn Podcast Festival celebrates the medium that’s grown into a pop culture phenomenon. Come to live tapings of some of your favorite shows like Pop Culture Happy Hour and The Bowery Boys with big-name guest stars including Julie Klausner and RuPaul’s Drag Race star Aja. Plus, learn more about how New York works a daylong Smart Cities series. Jan. 10-13, various locations, $10-$35, cityfarmpresents.com
If seeing Broadway shows is just the beginning for you, then BroadwayCon is the place to preview the hottest upcoming projects, meet your favorite actors and become part of the amazing fan community at acting workshops, panels and sing-alongs. Jan. 11-13, Hilton Midtown, $80-$195, broadwaycon.com
Be the first to know about the filmmakers to watch at the Museum of Moving Image’s annual survey of the best alternative cinema from around the world. Full-festival passes are just $45 to see over a dozen narrative works, features and shorts from China, Israel, Pakistan and Taiwan, just to name a few, plus live performances and artist talks. Jan. 11-21, 36-01 35th Ave., Queens, $15-$45, movingimage.us
It’s the coldest month of the year, which means it’s time for another No Pants Subway Ride. Improv Everywhere’s annual ritual challenges commuters to take it mostly off in the name of fun having a little fun on a subway system that’s been anything but lately. Jan. 13, 3-5 p.m., improveverywhere.com
The last place you’d ever expect an electronic music exhibit is the New York Public Library’s uptown center for performing arts. Rare artifacts, recordings and technology from the 1950s to the present are explored in Sounding Circuits: Audible Histories, with context from personal correspondence, musical sketches and scores from artists. Jan. 15-March 23, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, nypl.org
For well over half a century, the Winter Antiques Show has been bringing together some of the world’s best vintage pieces from ancient times to modern classics. Special this year is an exhibit on historical objects from Nantucket, including the 1820 shipwreck of the Essex said to have inspired Moby Dick. Even if you’re not there to buy, browsing is like going to an eclectic museum, and proceeds benefit the East Side House Settlement. Jan. 18-27, hours vary, Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave., $25, thewintershow.org
Who doesn’t love some brassy, foot-tapping Balkan music — especially live, thundering through a giant hall with beer on tap? The Zlatne Uste Golden Festival brings two days of rousing dance music from over 60 artists to Grand Prospect Hall. Stay fueled with authentic regional cuisine and browse the Balkan Market upstairs, where they sell music, art, jewelry, textiles and more. Jan. 18-20, Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Ave., Brooklyn, $30-$45, zlatneuste.yapsody.com
Women are having their voices heard now more than ever, but there’s still plenty to do. Whether you’re fighting for justice at work, the doctor’s office or the courts, support the cause of equality at the third annual Women’s March, setting out from 75th Street and Central Park West heading downtown to 43rd Street and Sixth Avenue. Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., womensmarchalliance.org
A lunar eclipse will reveal a rare “super blood wolf moon” over North America — the cool name is thanks to Native American tradition plus some astronomy jargon. Hide your werewolves, but the rest of you should come out for the only total eclipse of the moon over North America until 2021. Jan. 20, 9:36 p.m.-12:44 a.m.
It feels like we’re living through a second Civil Rights Era, so on Jan. 21 take the time to learn about the wide-ranging, nonviolent activism of Martin Luther King Jr., then take action to make the world a more equal place for all.
It’s pork. It’s wine. And it’s unlimited. Cochon555 offers three hours to sample unique dishes made from responsibly raised heritage pigs. This is no ordinary walk-around tasting — each of the five chefs selected for the competition (there’s a national cook-off at the end of the tour) creates several pork-centric dishes, plus plenty of wine pairings, free-flowing cocktails, wine and cheese. Jan. 21, $130-$200, 849 Sixth Ave., cochon555.com
J.R.R. Tolkien stoked a love of fantasy in generations of readers before his films revived the genre onscreen. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth at The Morgan Library reveals his original illustrations, maps, draft manuscripts and more from The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, plus personal photographs and memorabilia. Jan. 25-May 12, 225 Madison Ave., $20, free for 12 and under, themorgan.org
Indulge your wanderlust at the New York Times Travel Show and start daydreaming about your next vacation. The year’s largest industry show about all things travel brings more than 550 exhibitors representing 170 destinations, plus expert panels, cultural performances and family activities. Jan. 25-27, $20-$25, free under 18, Javits Center, 655 W. 34th St., nyttravelshow.com
You nominated your favorite Brooklyn chefs, now taste the 20 voted best in the borough without putting a dent in your MetroCard at the Dime Best of Brooklyn Festival. Pay-as-you-go tastings are accompanied by unlimited beer, plus live music and entertainment. Jan. 26, timed entry from noon-9 p.m., $39-$49, Industry City, 274 36th St., Sunset Park, bestofbrooklynfestival.com
J.K. Rowling didn’t invent everything in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Many of the potion ingredients, customs and even people who appear in her books existed in the real world. Tour this fascinating exhibit of Muggle relics and see the magic all around us at the New York Historical Society’s History of Magic exhibit. Through Jan. 27, 170 Central Park W., $21 adults, $6 kids ages 5-13; nyhistory.org
New look, new acts, new food — everything is new at the Big Apple Circus, which is under new management for its 41st season. A major makeover aimed to attract millennials has brought a glamorous spiegeltent to the grounds, serving cocktails by Pamela Wiznitzer and pre-show entertainment, while the ring now has some world-famous acts like Desire of Flight in addition to longtime favorites. It’s worth a trip even if you’ve been before. Through Jan. 27, 2019, Damrosch Park, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, $29-$80, bigapplecircus.com
The first black man to play in Major League Baseball is getting a fitting tribute with an exhibit of previously unpublished photographs taken on the field and in the clubhouse, as well as at home with his family, plus videos and memorabilia from his stunning career. The exhibit opens Jan. 31 — what would’ve been Jackie Robinson’s 100th birthday — at the Museum of the City of New York, and is the first event in a centennial celebration leading up to the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in Lower Manhattan this December. 1220 Fifth Ave., mcny.org