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NYC events in January 2017

Start the new year on a high note with our list of the best NYC events in January 2017 including concerts and art shows

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Eric Konon
Prospect Park

Our NYC events in January calendar is the perfect tonic for a holiday hangover. Start the year off right by checking out the best events at popular New York attractions, including the best NYC concerts in January and new theater performances. From taking a chilly dip in the ocean at the Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim in Coney Island to celebrating Martin Luther King Day, or freeing your legs from the tyranny of trousers at Improv Everywhere's No Pants Subway Ride, there are so many wonderful things to do in the winter here.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2017

Featured events in January 2017

New Year’s Day in New York

There is plenty to do in NYC on New Year’s Day, so shake off your hangover and get ready to start off 2017 with a bang. Strip down to your skivvies and take part in the annual New Year’s Day Swim at Coney Island, indulge in verse and good food at the annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading and more.

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By: Jennifer Picht

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Lost in New York? Every Christmas, thousands of New Yorkers (and tourists) find their way to the bright and brilliant nexus of town, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Whether you’re stopping by the tree for ice-skating, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular you’re certain to feel the magic when you witness the wonder of the Norway Spruce illuminated in over 50,000 LED lights.

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By: David Goldberg

Under the Radar festival

The Public presents edgy new works in a top-notch festival curated by Mark Russell. Among the American offerings are new pieces by 600 Highwaymen, Waterwell, Nikki Appino and Saori Tsukada, the Bengsons, Keith A. Wallace and Deborah Stein, Manual Cinema and Marga Gomez. Offerings at partner venues include work by multiple international artists: Belarus Free Theatre, Tania El Khoury, Eko Nugroho and Wayang Bocor and Philippe Quesne, as well as German troupe Rimini Protokoll’s Top Secret International (State 1), staged in the Egyptian Wing of the Brooklyn Museum.

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By: David Cote

Winter Jazzfest

Each January, Winter Jazzfest hosts a stellar lineup over five nights. Its signature two-night Greenwich Village marathon brings vets and up-and-comers, hordes of music fans and a palpable air of excitement to an array of cozy downtown venues. The shows aren’t individually ticketed, so a wristband grants you access to any of each night’s shows—as long as a given club doesn’t hit capacity, that is.

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By: Andrew Frisicano

No Pants Subway Ride

In January 2002, Improv Everywhere’s Charlie Todd produced the first-ever No Pants Subway Ride and posted the event on YouTube, where the short clip quickly gained popularity. Now it has turned into one of the group's most anticipated events, as thousands of New Yorkers continue the funny tradition on subway cars all across Gotham. Donning winter clothes, minus their pants, the straphangers share the same goal: to confuse bystanders.

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By: Tazi Phillips

Martin Luther King Day in NYC

Since it was first observed nationwide in January of 1986, the holiday commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has served as a reminder of his legacy to the causes of civil rights, nonviolent opposition and community service.

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By: Evelyn Derico

Central Park Winter Jam

We don’t know about you, but our inner child could always use a snow day, and that’s where Central Park Winter Jam comes in. We’ve eagerly marked our calendars for the annual sports event located at one of the best NYC parks—Central Park. The NYC Parks and Recreation event includes ice-skating, sledding, snowboarding, grub and more, so get ready to join New Yorkers of all ages for one of the best things to do in winter.

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By: Leah Faye Cooper

Music events in January 2017

The Magnetic Fields

Fifity songs written on 50 instruments celebrating 50 years of life—what more would you expect from the guy whose musical project centers on taking mundane concepts to the extreme? In what feels like the spiritual successor to the monumental 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt's upcoming 50 Song Memoir is another vast conceptual collection of charming yet cuttingly sardonic diddies, which the singer-songwriter will play in its entirety over the course of these two nights. 

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Fri Dec 2 - Sat Dec 3

Bon Iver

Justin Vernon's ascendancy—from recording the debut Bon Iver album alone in a Wisconsin cabin to meeting up with Kanye West in Hawaii to collaborate on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy—might just be the quintessential indie-rock success story. His new album 22, A Million caught us all unawares, though, with its bizarre witchhouse-esque song titles and unexpected left-turns from folk-pop uplift into stuttering experimental electronics. Songs like "10 d E A T h b R e a s T" see the ex-folkster driving for full-throttle sonic maximalism while retaining his unmistakeable ear for intimate, heartfelt lyricism—or in other words, Yeezus seems to have left quite a mark on Vernon, and we are oh so thankful. 

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Fri Dec 9 - Wed Dec 14

Kacey Musgraves

Young country star Kacey Musgraves mixes a classic, honeyed sound with a subversive lyrical take on the traditionally straightlaced genre. Tonight she plays behind her new holiday album, A Very Kacey Christmas

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08 Dec 2016

Parquet Courts + X_____X + Flasher

Brothers Max and Andrew Savage, along with their bandmates, are doing the once-a-generation job of stripping rock & roll back to something tight, primal and brilliant. Tonight the prolific, fruitfully quirky local indie-rock faves play a special year-end multimedia event with X_____X (Craig Bell of Rocket From The Tombs), and Flasher. Also on the menu is a sound installation by Eaters, a gallery of Andrew Savage‘s artwork, films by Joey Pizza Slice, a Dull Toolsrecord shop and other TBA pop-ups. 

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10 Dec 2016

Young Thug + 21 Savage

Endlessly inventive MC Young Thug is nothing short of high-powered. The Atlanta native exploded in 2014 with the potent, unhinged “Danny Glover” and the sticky, triumphant “Lifestyle” that made more seasoned rappers look old-fashioned. Never one to pronounce a syllable the same way twince, listening to Thugger is like watching someone invent a new language in real time. His newest release, JEFFREY, demonstrates both his endless talent for conjuring earwormy hooks as well as a piercing eye for transgressive fashion. Recent XXL Freshman pick 21 Savage opens. 

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18 Dec 2016

Mac Miller

Hyped young MC Miller's artistry progressed leaps and bounds in the period between his critically-maligned debut and much-improved sophomore effort. The upward mobility seems to have resulted in some lofty artistic ambitions with this year's utterly surprising concept album, The Divine Feminine, a record which forgoes his original subject matters of Nikes, senior skip days and pizza to explicate the nuances of intimacy, distance and the "divine feminine energy of the planet." Okay. 

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12 Dec 2016


Connoisseurs of primo psychedelic fuzz rawk, everything from Hendrix's Band of Gypsys to contemporary heavyweights such as Clutch, will find sweet release in the molten jams of Earthless. Here the San Diego trio sets out to solidify their reputation for delivering adrenaline-inducing sets that will leave you reverberating all the way home.

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13 Dec 2016

Something In The Way Festival

Boston indie label Run For Cover Records is taking over Webster Hall for its inaugural festival, and they're bringing some of their favorite bands with them. The line-up includes British rockers Basement, dream pop group Turnover and lo-fi band Elvis Depressedly.

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14 Dec 2016

Yasiin Bey & Friends

The artist formerly known as Mos Def—and before that, Dante Terrell Smith—Bey visits the Apollo for a show that's billed as one of his last US performances. The rapper has been out of the spotlight in recent years, living in South Africa and making news after attempting to leave the country with a world passport. On the music front, he announced forthcoming releases with collaborators including Ferrari Sheppard and Mannie Fresh. While this gig was set to celebrate one of his previous albums, Bey has since stated he'll be debuting new music here.

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Until Thu Dec 22

Kurt Vile & The Violators + Woods + Nathan Bowles

Kurt Vile is a tuneful Philadelphia psych-pop artist whose work tilts at times toward the disconcertingly raw. Expect tunes from b’lieve i'm goin down, the excellent follow-up to his much-hyped 2013 release Wakin on a Pretty Daze. Filling out the bill is Brooklyn mainstays Woods: Their latest, City Sun Eater in the River of Light, incorporates Ethiopian jazz and jammy reggae grooves into the band's fuzz-fried sound.

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Until Wed Dec 28
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See more NYC concerts in January

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By: Time Out New York contributors