Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim at Coney Island Boardwalk; 11am; $20 suggested donation
This annual plunge invites hundreds of ballsy swimmers (and even celebs like Jimmy Fallon) to jump into the frigid Atlantic without the advantage of, y’know, blubber. To dive, all you have to do is grab your running shoes, throw on your warmest swimsuit and try to muster the courage to actually go through with it. Membership is not required, but if you’re planning on participating, make a donation to Camp Sunshine, a charity that supports families affected by life-threatening illnesses. Watch out for shrinkage!
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Rink; 8am; Skate rental $15–$19
Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is free and open late. Don’t get too excited—the admission may be gratis, but you’ll have to shell out $19 to rent skates (or BYO). Still, it’s a veritable winter wonderland: After your time on the ice, warm up at spacious rinkside restaurant Celsius. If you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours.
Awaken Your Inner Force Workout at New York Sports Clubs; 5:45pm; Free
When it comes to working on your fitness, Yoda has the right mindset: "Do or do not, there is no try." Take a hint from the Jedi master (a.k.a. instructor Amira Lam) and sign up for New York Sports Club's Star Wars-themed workout. The 45-minute choreographed, strength-based routine includes martial arts moves, cardiovascular and strength exercises using a light saber. The best part? The workout is free to members and nonmembers alike. Just show up early at the Soho and Chelsea locations to sign up before the class begins.
Everything at Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel; 10:30pm; $10–$20
This new, recurring Friday night party is everything, at least everything you might want in a club night. Fabulous venue? Check. Hot party people? Check. Dancers, freak show acts and art installations? Check, check and check. Producers Brian Rafferty and Joe Roszak and DJs Brett Henrichsen and Scott Martin pull out all the stops for an over-the-top gay club experience.
The Disco Biscuits at the PlayStation Theater; 11pm; $39.50–$45
It's easy to poke fun at the Disco Biscuits (trance fusion? ugh). Still, bisco music (as they call it) remains a huge hit among the jammy throngs, and apparently the fan base is growing (they've got enough cred, in fact, to host their own festival: Camp Bisco). The prolific band Philly settles in for a quartet of NYE-pegged shows at the venue formerly-known-as the Best Buy Theater, culminating in a three-set Dec 31 performance.
Harlem Globetrotters at Barclays Center; 2pm, 7pm; $10–$255
Consider yourself a die-hard Globetrotter? Watch the Harlem all-stars show off their b-ballin’ skills in honor of the team’s 90th anniversary world tour. You’ll be mesmerized as the basketball wizards shoot from midcourt, spin balls on their fingers and go head-to-head for two epic games, which are bound to keep you on the edge of your seat. Make sure to stick around until the very end to snag an autograph, photo and high-five session from your favorite players, plus you can add a legendary Marques Haynes bobblehead to your collection.
New York City Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center); 2pm, 8pm; $35–$265
This magical 1954 production, set to Tchaikovsky's incredible score, includes the full New York City Ballet company and two casts of School of American Ballet students, as well as an onstage blizzard and a Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet. In the end, however, Balanchine's choreography is what holds it all together. It's enchanting.
A Gay Show for All People at The Duplex; 9:30pm: $12, advance $8 plus two-drink minimum
Comedians Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp host this variety show featuring an amazing array of same-sex–loving musicians and comedians. You can expect dirty ballads, guest stand-ups and games like "Ariana Grande or a dolphin?"
50 First Jokes at The Bell House; 7pm; $12, advance $10
Each year in early January, John F. O'Donnell invites 50 of his favorite comics to present their first new joke of the year. It's a meet-and-greet for some of the city's best young comics, plus it's the show's 10th anniversary, so expect some special guests.
“The Discovery of King Tut” at Premier Exhibitions; 11am; $29
Relive the thrilling moment of discovery for legendary archaeologist Howard Carter when he stepped into the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. Featuring thousands of handmade replicas of King Tut’s sarcophagus, golden throne, weaponry and gilded chariots in an exact reconstruction of the original burial labyrinth, this exhibit will immerse you in one of the last century’s most groundbreaking finds.
Billy Joel and Elton John: Face-2-Face Tribute Show at Brooklyn Bowl; 8pm; $10–$12
Two piano legends go key-to-key in this energetic tribute battle performed by cover artists Joey Riedel and Michael John. Sing along to your favorite hits like Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” and Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl,” while swaying like a candle in the wind. Sure, nothing compares to witnessing the iconic rock stars in the flesh, but judging by the impersonators’ uncanny resemblances, spot-on costumes and perfect pitch, even a hard-core fan would be fooled. You'll be in a true New York state of mind.
Nutcracker Rouge at Minetta Lane Theatre; 8pm; $50–$175
Company XIV revives its acclaimed Nutcracker Rouge for a West Village run, injecting a little ribald into Tchaikovsky with a cast of opera singers and actors and adding some new sequences. Sixteen and over only.
Winter Flea + Smorgasburg at Industry City; 10am; Free
When the weather gets really cold, this alfresco flea is held indoors for warmth. Don’t fret—apart from a new location in Sunset Park and an enclosed shopping space, not too much has changed. The market still hosts more than 100 vendors, including popular eateries from Smorgasburg. Remember, this is among the most visited fleas in the city, so arrive before noon to fulfill your vintage dreams.
“Sodom By The Sea Salon” at Coney Island Museum; 1pm; Free
More than 75 artists from around the world have contributed paintings, watercolors, drawings and photographs inspired by the kitschy all-American spectacle of Coney Island. Immerse yourself in the unexpected awe inspired by this unique NYC destination.
Babeland's Top 10 Sex Tips and New Year's Sale at Babeland; 2pm; Free
You nailed your New Year’s kiss, so what’s next? Learn pro positions and grab discounted toys for a hot 2016.