January 2015 events calendar for New York City

Plan your month with our events calendar of the very best activities, including free things to do and our picks from theater, the arts and music

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Our events calendar for the first month of 2015 is the perfect tonic for a holiday hangover. Start the year off with a chilly dip in the ocean at the Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim, enjoy pyrotechnics and chow down on dumplings at the Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival, or free your legs from the tyranny of trousers at Improv Everywhere's No Pants Subway Ride.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

Featured events in January 2015

Holiday Train Show

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice
  1. New York Botanical Garden Bronx River Pkwy, at Fordham Rd, 10458
  2. Until Mon Jan 19
More info

"Mac Conner: A New York Life"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice
  1. Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave, between 103rd and 104th Sts
  2. Until Mon Jan 19
More info

Billy Idol + Bronchos

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice
  1. Beacon Theatre 2124 Broadway, at 74th St
  2. Wed Jan 28
More info

Nutcracker Rouge

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice
  1. XIV 428 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. Until Sat Jan 31
Buy tickets

Free events in January 2015

Henri Bendel holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Henri Bendel window displays are inspired by vintage landscaping this year. In one window you'll find Louise the Elephant, a plush green fellow made of shrubbery and covered in oversize silver ornaments. Other windows will feature fountains, cobblestones, scattered camellias and all-around holiday whimsy.

  1. Henri Bendel 712 Fifth Ave, at 56th St
  2. Until Thu Jan 1
More info

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The trees change, but the annual sense of wonder remains the same. A chance to gawk at this year’s 76-foot-tall behemoth, decorated with 45,000 LED bulbs, is well worth the fighting the crowds.

  1. Rockefeller Plaza Fifth and Sixth Aves, between 48th and 49th Sts
  2. Thu Dec 4 - Wed Jan 7
More info

"Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The work of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) represents the art-historical gift that keeps on giving, offering exhibtion organizers a seemingly inexhaustible supply of periods and styles to draw upon. This shows takes up the last two decades of his career, when he obsessed over the image of his second wife, Jacqueline Roque, in paintings that paid homage to Matisse, classical art and his own earlier work.

  1. Pace Gallery 32 E 57th St, between Madison and Park Aves
  2. Until Sat Jan 10
More info

Drunken Shakespeare

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Night Shift, which describes itself as a “working class theater” group, hosts this inebriated reading of Shakespearean monologues. Want to see if you can recite Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” after a few brews? Step up to the mike, or just sit back and soak in the iambs.

  1. Bar Nine 807 Ninth Ave, between 53rd and 54th Sts, 10019
  2. Sun Dec 21 - Sun Jan 18
More info

Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Unfriendly spooks should steer clear of Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the first day of the New Year, when the Better Chinatown Society lights 500,000 firecrackers to welcome the Year of the Goat and ward off evil spirits. In addition to the pyrotechnics, there will be lion dances and decorations giveaways, plus craft vendors and food booths where you can get your fill of traditional delicacies. (It’s said that the more dumplings you eat at the celebration, the more money you’ll make that year.) 

  1. Sara D. Roosevelt Park Chrystie St, between Canal and E Houston Sts
  2. Sat Jan 31
More info

Music events in January 2015

Future Islands + Operators

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Last March, Future Islands ascended from best-kept-secret status to near-viral ubiquitousness with a stunning Letterman performance of new single "Seasons." Fortunately, the eccentric Baltimore synth-pop crew—whose athletic, disarmingly emotive

  1. Terminal 5 610 W 56th St, at Eleventh Ave
  2. Thu Jan 8 - Fri Jan 9
More info

Neneh Cherry

  • Critics choice

February's Blank Project, the first new solo work from singer-rapper Neneh Cherry in nearly two decades, is a career-reviving, stereotype-defying exercise. Moving beyond the legacy of her 1988 single "Buffalo Stance," Cherry uses the album to

  1. Highline Ballroom 431 W 16th St, between Ninth and Tenth Aves
  2. Fri Jan 9
More info

Savages

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Savages first made waves with their scorching debut Silence Yourself. The aptly named postpunk revivalists follow it up with their latest release, Words to the Blind, a Dada-inspired “sonic poem” made with Japanese psych-rockers Bo Ningen. Dig

  1. Saint Vitus 1120 Manhattan Ave, between Box and Clay Sts, 11222
  2. Mon Jan 12 - Sat Jan 24
Buy tickets

Sam Smith

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

British singer-songwriter Sam Smith first made a name singing on Disclosure's super catchy "Latch," and achieved pop megafame with his lovelorn debut, In the Lonely Hour. Expect more than a few cathartic sing-alongs to tunes like the ubiquitous

  1. Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza , between 31st and 33rd Sts, 10001
  2. Thu Jan 15
More info

Amen Dunes + Kevin Morby

  • Critics choice

Amen Dunes, the tripped-out bedroom-psych vehicle of Damon McMahon, takes the stage in support of a new effort, Love. Also on board is ex-Babies frontman and Woods member Kevin Morby, supporting his latest stripped-down solo album, Still Life.

  1. Bowery Ballroom 6 Delancey St, between Bowery and Chrystie St
  2. Thu Jan 22
More info

Billy Idol + Bronchos

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

The man with the iconic sneer (no, not Elvis), Billy Idol hits town with a new autobiography and his first LP in nearly a decade, Kings and Queens of the Underground. Dig the new material, and expect to dance in a rockin' ’80s fashion to hits like

  1. Beacon Theatre 2124 Broadway, at 74th St
  2. Wed Jan 28
More info

Jack White

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Jack White's genius is undoubtedly bolstered by an uncompromising workaholism—evidenced by a long series of sharp side projects (The Raconteurs, the Dead Weather), collaborations (Wanda Jackson, Insane Clown Posse) and the prolific output of his

  1. Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza , between 31st and 33rd Sts, 10001
  2. Fri Jan 30
More info
See more music events in January 2013

Arts events in January 2015

"Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Video is a common medium today, but it was far out and new in the mid-1960s when Nam June Paik (1932–2006) arrived in New York and quickly made the acquaintance of legendary names as John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Yoko Ono. He just as quickly

  1. Asia Society 725 Park Ave, at 70th St
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
More info

Amie Siegel, Provenance

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

In the early 1950s, a newly independent India commissioned Le Corbusier to design a city, Chandigarh, as a regional administrative center in the northern part of the country. The institutional buildings he created with other modernist architects

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
More info

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

New York City Ballet presents the 60th-anniversary season of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Set to the famous Tchaikovsky score, this holiday staple includes the full company, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands, 100 School of American Ballet students

  1. David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center) 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, at 63rd St
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Sat Jan 3
More info

Cabaret

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

[Note on this review: On November 12, Emma Stone replaced Michelle WIlliams as would-be femme fatale Sally Bowles.] Cabaret. Studio 54 (see Broadway). Book by Joe Masteroff. Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Directed Sam Mendes and Rob

  1. Studio 54 254 W 54th St, between Broadway and Eighth Ave
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
Buy tickets

"Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The work of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) represents the art-historical gift that keeps on giving, offering exhibtion organizers a seemingly inexhaustible supply of periods and styles to draw upon. This shows takes up the last two decades of his career,

  1. Pace Gallery 32 E 57th St, between Madison and Park Aves
  2. Until Sat Jan 10
More info

"Mac Conner: A New York Life"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The career of illustrator McCauley (“Mac”) Conner helped to define the look of midcentury America. One of the original Mad Men, Conner's style was crisp and refined and very urban; life in the big city was a frequent theme. His work, which was

  1. Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave, between 103rd and 104th Sts
  2. Until Mon Jan 19
More info

"Cy Twombly: Treatise on the Veil"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Twombly (1928–2011) famously elevated scribbles, doodles and scratches to high art, but his abstract paintings were always rife with allusions to antiquity and classical mythology—due in no small measure to the fact that this Virginia native

  1. The Morgan Library & Museum 225 Madison Ave, at 36th St
  2. Until Sun Jan 25
More info

Nutcracker Rouge

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Austin McCormick and his risqué neobaroque dance theater Company XIV present a lavish erotic reimagining of a classic holiday tale (adapted by Jeff Takacs), complete with circus performers, operatic singers and partial nudity. Nutcracker Rouge:

  1. XIV 428 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. Until Sat Jan 31
Buy tickets

More events in January 2015

Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Meet at the Boardwalk and Stillwell Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn. Suggested donation of $20. Would you believe us if we told you a dip in the Atlantic is great for a hangover? Even if you don't buy it, cheering those brave—or crazy—enough to take

  1. Coney Island Beach Surf Ave, between Ocean Pkwy and W 37th St
  2. Thu Jan 1
More info

41st Annual New Year's Day Marathon Benefit Reading

  • Critics choice

What better way to banish that New Year’s Eve hangover than with verse and good food? On the first afternoon of the year, 140 of the city’s best poets, artists and performers gather at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery and, one after another,

  1. The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church 131 E 10th St, at Second Ave, 10003
  2. Thu Jan 1
More info

Holiday Under the Stars

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Take a break from Christmas shopping and check out Time Warner Center’s state-of-the-art holiday light display. The spectacle features a dozen 14-foot LED stars that do a colorful “dance,” flashing more than 16.7 million color mixes in time to

  1. Time Warner Center 10 Columbus Circle, at Broadway
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
More info

Origami Holiday Tree

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Festooned with more than 500 meticulously hand-folded paper ornaments, this year’s tree is inspired by the museum’s new “The Power of Poison” exhibit, meaning you’ll spot toxic mushrooms, poison ivy, spiders, snails and jellyfish. In

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St, 10024
  2. Mon Nov 24 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Barbara Nessim: An Artful Life

  • Critics choice

Barbara Nessim is a pioneer in graphic design. The Bronx-born artist and illustrator was one of the first women in the field in the early 1960s, and her complex designs made waves in the creative world. Her new exhibit features more than 150 of her

  1. Bard Graduate Center Gallery 18 W 86th St, between Central Park West and Columbus Ave
  2. Until Mon Jan 12
More info

Holiday Train Show

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Watch choo-choo’s go vroom-vroom in a circle. In NYBG's wildly popular diorama, more than a dozen model railway trains traverse an incredibly detailed New York City scene, including landmarks like the Empire State Building and Radio City Music

  1. New York Botanical Garden Bronx River Pkwy, at Fordham Rd, 10458
  2. Until Mon Jan 19
More info

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company presents a Lunar New Year Celebration

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This modern dance performance celebrates the Chinese New Year with a nod to traditional Chinese arts and the history of this 3,000-year-old civilization.

  1. Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts (at Brooklyn College) 2900 Campus Rd, at Hillel Pl, 11210
  2. Sun Jan 25
More info


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