New York events in January

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

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Our events calendar for the first month of 2014 is the perfect tonic for your holiday hangover. Check out all the arts fest that downtown has to offer, catch a killer concert, or free your legs from the tyranny of trousers at Improv Everywhere's No Pants Subway Ride.

Our January highlights

NYC Winter Jazzfest

  • Critics choice

Here’s wishing a very happy tenth birthday to this celebration of polyrhythmic syncopation.

  1. Various locations
  2. Tue Jan 7 - Sun Jan 12
More info

No Pants Subway Ride

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If you’re looking to show off those sweet undies you got from Santa to someone besides your

  1. Location TBA
  2. Sun Jan 12
More info

Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This opera and musical-theater jubilee, created in response to the sudden explosion of great new

  1. Various locations
  2. Wed Jan 8 - Sun Jan 19
More info

Green Porno

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

If you’ve been keeping up with the Sundance Channel’s series, you know that Isabella Rossellini

  1. BAM Fisher 321 Ashland Pl, between Hanson Pl and Lafayette Ave, 11217
  2. Thu Jan 16 - Sat Jan 25
More info

Calendar events this January

Jay Z

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

In between designing a holiday collection for Barneys, cutting his teeth as a sports agent, performing for six hours at a Chelsea art gallery and, well, just being Mr. Beyoncé, Hova found time to schedule a few shows in support of his latest album, Magna Carta…Holy Grail. Of course, the ubiquitous hip-hop star will play his home borough of Brooklyn before moving on to more far-flung arenas. Expect to hear new tunes like the artist-name-dropping “Picasso Baby” interspersed with killer classics like “Big Pimpin’.”

  1. Prudential Center 165 Mulberry St, between Edison Pl and Lafayette St
  2. Sun Jan 12 - Wed Jan 22
Buy tickets

40th 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, recite their work to a hall full of listeners. Among the many podium-takers this year are composer Philip Glass, storyteller Edgar Oliver, Bowery Poetry founder Bob Holman, and poets Eileen Myles and Anne Waldman. Local joints catering the 11-hour event include Grandaisy Bakery, Porto Rico Importing Co. and more.

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

Coil Festival

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

P.S. 122, in temporary exile from its home base on First Avenue, schools us all in this sampler of avant-garde subjects, including theater works by Mac Wellman, Tina Satter, Reid Farrington, Okwui Okpokwasili, Phil Soltanoff and Brokentalkers. The shows are spread out at various venues (the Kitchen, the New Ohio, etc.), so check out ps122.org for details and to buy tickets.

  1. Various venues
  2. Fri Jan 3 - Sun Jan 19
More info

Neil Young

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Every Neil Young fan knows that attempting to predict the iconic Canadian singer-songwriter-activist-raconteur-entrepreneur-visionary's next move is a futile exercise. He spent last year playing epic, mind-melting gigs with Crazy Horse, and in 2014, he's set to unveil his new high-end audio format, Pono. So it's only fitting that Young is reserving some time in between for a whole other type of gig: a series of should-be-rapturous solo shows at one of the swankiest rooms in town. Don't wait to snap up tix, folks—these could be life-changers.

  1. Carnegie Hall 154 W 57th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Mon Jan 6 - Fri Jan 10
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Under the Radar 2014

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This ten-year-old alt-theater event is turning its home base, the Public Theater, into the glittering nerve center of January’s multifestival downtown scene. Codirected by Mark Russell and Meiyin Wang, UTR is renowned for presenting cutting-edge work from all over the world. This is where to find the next big thing. Don’t miss 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s dreamlike 45-person piece, The Record, and deliriously elegant raconteur Edgar Oliver’s Helen & Edgar, a rueful account of his bizarre Savannah childhood. Afterwards, hang out at the Lounge, a collaboratively programmed, cross-festival club at the Public (Jan 9–19, opens at 9:30pm; free).

  1. Public Theater 425 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. Wed Jan 8 - Sun Jan 19
More info

American Realness

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This annual performance fest pushes the envelope of dance and contemporary performance. The fifth year’s adventurous lineup includes 13 Love Songs: dot dot dot, a criticism of cheesy pop music; Commentary=Not Thing, a dance play exploring the complexity of relationships through nude performers and repeated text; and myendlesslove, an examination of gay sex and queer grief. Wind down from the performances at the Lounge, a pop-up nightlife hub that American Realness will share with other festivals, housed in the Public Theater.

  1. Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement 466 Grand St, at Pitt St, 10002
  2. Thu Jan 9 - Sun Jan 19
More info

globalFEST 2014

  • Price band: 3/4

This übercosmopolitan music event will likely be your only chance to hear “subversive Ukrainian punk-folk,” “North African gnawa trance” and a host of other genre-spanning international acts in one night (at least until next year). The bash features a dozen musicians across three stages in Webster Hall. Represented locales range from Mauritania to Arizona; acts include Australia’s the Bombay Royale, Jamaica’s Brushy One String and Appalachian-Chinese folkies the Wu-Force.

  1. Webster Hall 125 E 11th St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Sun Jan 12
More info

Freeze Tag on Wall Street

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Everyone knows that Wall Street is a place for grown-ups—a place where serious adult matters like watching computers exploit barely detectable price discrepancies in strangers’ mortgages milliseconds before the other guy’s computer can do the same thing. Strangers, after all, are there to be taken advantage of. Buck the trend and befriend some at this ninth annual return to childhood, when a group of New Yorkers occupies Wall Street to play games like Red Rover and Wolf Sheep Rock. No sociopolitical agenda here, though—just playground-style fun. Meet at Broad and Wall Sts.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Sun Jan 12
More info

"Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Contemporary queer identity is explored in an unusual (and oh-so-crafty) manner in this exhibit: The “thread” that ties the various artworks together is, literally, a thread. Each of the pieces incorporates crochet, yarn, tapestry or embroidery. Be sure to check out Nathan Vincent’s installation of a crocheted men’s locker room, complete with life-size urinals made of yarn, and L.J. Roberts’s quilt-based work, which trails from the wall to the floor.

  1. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 26 Wooster St, between Canal and Grand Sts
  2. Fri Jan 17 - Sun Mar 16
More info

Selected Shorts: The Stories of Alice Munro

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This regular reading event pays homage to the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, a supremely talented Canadian scribe whom the committee described as “a master of the short story.” Fellow fiction-writing giant Margaret Atwood will be on hand to discuss her longtime friend, and a to-be-announced roster of performers and actors will read selections from Munro’s staggering body of work, drawing from her upbringing in rural Ontario.

  1. Symphony Space 2537 Broadway, at 95th St, 10025
  2. Wed Jan 22
More info

Neutral Milk Hotel

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

If you’ve been wondering why that music-obsessive friend of yours has been marking off the days until the new year, here’s why: After 15 years of near–radio silence, indie-rock Legends Neutral Milk Hotel are on an international tour, original lineup intact, that will bring them to NYC for five nights in January. Expect to hear hits off their 1998 magnum opus, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, sung in frontman Jeff Mangum’s trademark wail.

  1. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, 11217
  2. Fri Dec 27 - Sat Jan 25
More info

"The Little Prince: A New York Story"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Most people are familiar with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved story about an asteroid-hopping boy and his flower, but not many know that the French author wrote and published the illustrated novella in New York City at the the height of World War II. To celebrate the writer-aviator’s time here, the Morgan is curating an exhibition featuring his working manuscript and drawings, letters to and from family members about his progress, and other ephemera.

  1. The Morgan Library & Museum 225 Madison Ave, at 36th St
  2. Fri Jan 24 - Sun Apr 27
More info

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

New York may very well be the greatest city in the world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are the greatest at everything. There’s some stuff you just can’t get in this Yankeefied town—like actual down-home Southern barbecue. For the fifth year, our Dixie brethren are bringing us some of their finest cultural exports in the form of not just beer, bourbon and whole-roasted pigs, but also bluegrass music and instructional seminars.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Sat Jan 25
More info

One World Symphony: "Addiction"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Meth kingpin Walter White’s TV reign on Breaking Bad may be over, but his legacy continues beyond the annals of Netflix: One World Symphony maestro Sung Jin Hong has reimagined the dearly departed AMC series in his new mini opera, Breaking Bad–Ozymandias, combining it with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ode to impermanence, “Ozymandias.” And get ready for the opera’s pièce de résistance: the “Bitch Aria,” performed by—you guessed it—Jesse Pinkman. The two-night program also includes selections from Wagner’s Flying Dutchman and Berlioz’s “La Captive.”

  1. Church of the Holy Apostles 296 Ninth Ave, at 28th St
  2. Sun Jan 26 - Mon Jan 27
More info

Coors Light NHL Stadium Series

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

It’s a matchup as old as time—nearly as old as Coors versus Bud, in fact. The grudge will be settled once and for all—er, until the next time they meet—when Metropolitan Division rivals the New York Rangers take on the New Jersey Devils in a rare outdoor game on Jan 26. Three days later, the Blueshirts will take on the New York Islanders from that big landmass to the east. Global warming makes alfresco hockey a dicier proposition than it once might have been, so enjoy it while you can.

  1. Yankee Stadium 1 E 161st St, between Jerome and River Aves
  2. Wed Jan 29
More info

Eat, Drink and Be Literary

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Bookworms are in for a treat with the lineup at BAMcafŽ’s annual series, which pairs dinner and wine with a reading and presentation by a leading author. The season kicks off with Salman Rushdie, famed scribe of The Satanic Verses and Midnight’s Children. After that, check out Alice McDermott (After This, Charming Billy) February 12 and Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot, Middlesex) February 26. The series extends into the spring, concluding on May 28 with an appearance by novelist Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings).

  1. BAMcafé 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St
  2. Wed Jan 29 - Wed May 28
More info
Lesley Flanigan

Ecstatic Music Festival

This annual happening showcases music that spans a variety of genres, presenting a series of one-night collaborations between various composers, percussionists, indie-rock bands and instrumentalists. Check out electronic experimentalist Lesley Flanigan alongside Brooklyn’s People Get Ready (Feb 19); Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche with new-music act Victoire (Feb 22); brainy hip-hop artist Saul Williams and string ensemble the Mivos Quartet (Feb 26); and So Percussion alongside hybrid-instrument duo Buke and Gase (Mar 26). 212-501-3330, ecstaticmusicfestival.com. Schedule varies; $25, festival pass $150.

  1. Merkin Concert Hall, 129 W 67th St between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave
See all events in January 2014


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  1. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, (between 49th and 50th Sts)
  2. Sat Dec 7 - Sun Jan 5
$120 | Buy tickets
  1. 209 W 42nd St, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves)
  2. Sat Dec 7 - Sun Jan 29
$149 | Buy Tickets
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