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NYC events in January 2020

Make the new year great by attending the best NYC events in January 2020 from concerts to new exhibitions

By Time Out editors, compiled by Tazi Phillips
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Start the new year on the right foot by using our list of NYC events in January 2020 to plan your month. We’ve included the best NYC concerts in January as well as can’t-miss happenings as popular New York attractions. From joining in on the No Pants Subway Ride to celebrating Martin Luther King Day, check out these events and more sensational things to do in the winter.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2020

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Featured events in January 2020

Adam O'Farrill
Photograph: Courtesy Gilbert Ludwig

Winter Jazzfest

Music

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.

impulse
Photograph: Courtesy Ulysse Lemerise for Creos

An installation of huge, glowing seesaws is coming to Broadway

News City Life

Broadway will morph into a giant playground with 12 illuminated seesaws that passersby can hop on and interact with through the end of the month. The Garment District Alliance is unveiling the seesaw installation, dubbed "Impulse," on Monday, Jan 6, on Broadway between 37th and 38th streets. When activated, the seesaws, which range in length from 16 to 24 feet, radiate light and make music, transforming visitors into musicians and artists, according to the organization. Created by Lateral Office, CS Design Inc., "Impulse" is meant to embody the idea of serialism, repetition and variation to produce zones of intensity and calm, its producer, Creos says. It's been shown around North America, including in Niagara Falls, Boston, Montreal and in other cities. Your inner child will be able to give its own Broadway performance through Jan 31, during which the block will be completely closed to vehicular traffic.

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No Pants Subway Ride

Things to do Festivals

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.

Martin Luther King Day Tribute at BAM
Photograph: Elena Olivo

Martin Luther King Day in NYC

Things to do

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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Photograph: Filip Wolak

A shopping cart race

News City Life

Looking to shake up your weekly Saturday ritual of going to brunch, shopping and grabbing drinks with friends? Here’s a bizarre and whimsical event you can join that is unlike anything you’ve probably done in NYC. It’s a “race” called Idiotarod—a tradition organized by the so-called “Department of Absurdity” and IDIOT Labs. If you’re wondering what the hell this run entails, well, we have questions too. But here’s the gist of what we do know. Costumed teams can sign-up for the unsanctioned race, which involves decking out a shopping cart and running with it through a low-key street in New York. The registration fee is $5, and cash prizes are awarded to the winners during the afterparty. And yes, you must provide your own shopping cart. Good luck obtaining that one. There are a few rules you need to follow as well as last-minute updates (including the meeting location) still on the way. But if this all sounds very appealing to you, R.S.V.P. on Facebook or email Idiotarodnyc@gmail.com to fill out an official request form and obtain more details. The event kicks off this Saturday, January 27 at noon. Godspeed.  Sign up to receive great Time Out deals in your inbox each day.

Music events in January 2019

Motion City Soundtrack
Photograph: Lindsey Byrnes

Motion City Soundtrack

Music Pop

Forget the normal slew of post-emo labels: Motion City Soundtrack is a straight-up power-pop band, in which vocalist Justin Pierre unpretentiously soars and slides through gently eloquent anthems of romantic distress. Reclaim your yesteryear angst as the band touches down on its reunion tour.

Deli Girls + Nah + Dreamcrusher

Music Dance and electronic

Vocalist Danny Orlowski and producer Tommi Kelly, who make up harsh noise duo Deli Girls, are the unsung luminaries of Brooklyn's music underground. Crouched over an arsenal of drum machines, Kelly pumps out shredded, brutalized beats as Orlowski storms through the crowd, veering between unhinged cackles and splintered screams: "It’s my body and I’ll fucking kill you.” Unlike so much of the bro-dominated harsh noise world, Deli Girls is far more than just its punishing aesthetics. Rather, it's a crucial model of queer release, refusal, and rage—and one of the greatest bands to emerge from the city's electronic scene in years.

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Craig Taborn
Photograph: John Rogers/ECM Records

Winter Jazzfest

Music Jazz

Each January, Winter Jazzfest offers a crash course for anyone interest in exploring NYC's jazz scene. 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. Some shows are individually ticketed, but a one or two-day pass grants you access to to the immense "Marathon" events in Manhattan Jan 10 and 11, and Brooklyn on Jan 17.

Mark Guiliana
Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Mark Guiliana

Music Jazz

An acclaimed contemporary innovator behind the set, Guiliana has developed an erratic, explosive style of groove that turns the pocket inside-out as often as it nestles deep within it. He plays here with an unannounced "special surprise guest

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Luis Nieto Dickens

The Knocks (DJ Set)

Things to do Concerts

Hit a late-night show from this popular NY duo made up of Ben "B-Roc" Ruttner and James "JPatt" Patterson. The two DJs/producers/remixers have worked with the likes of Passion Pit, Chiddy Bang and Ellie Goulding, and offer a euphoric, cut-and-paste take on disco house, but anything is possible during their set. On this night you'll also hear the sounds of British producer Mat Zo. If tickets sell out before you can swipe them, they will be selling more the door the night of, beginning at 10pm, so show up early to not miss out.

James Sharp

Modern Nature

Things to do Concerts

It’s hard to put this new project from songwriter Jack Cooper (of former alt-rock band Ultimate Painting) in a box, but that's the captivating part. The band is carving out it’s own playing field of folk music with bits of pulsating synths, wild saxophone solos, organ drones, swirling cello— you name it. Catch songs performed live off their invigorating debut album How To Live—there’s a little bit of something in it for everyone from rock to folk and electronica.

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Webster Hall, 2011. Webster Hall New Years Eve Ball
Photograph: Noah Devereaux

Caroline Polachek

Music Rock and indie

Though the recently released Pang is this pop singer's ostensible debut, her artistic fingerprints crop up in every corner of the cultural sphere from over the past decade— whether that's soundtracking 2008 iPod commercials with her brilliant electropop duo Chairlift or writing and producing Beyoncé's "No Angel." Prolific career aside, Pang proves Polacheck is a masterful songwriter in her own right: tight vocal leaps, wry humor and genre-crossing instrumentation spanning country slide guitar and Arca-esque synth majesty. It's another reminder to pay attention—today's most compelling pop music is happening in its fringes.

Snoop Dogg
Photograph: Courtesy Josh Telles

Snoop Dogg

Music Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Recent years have featured the notoriously blunted rapper releasing reggae tunes as Rastafari-convert "Snoop Lion," a gospel album titled Bible of Lifeand a Dam-Funk collaboration under the moniker "Snoopzilla." In other words, he's lost no steam (or smoke) over the past few decades. He plays here behind the his new 2019 album, I Wanna Thank Me. Expect songs from it and perhaps a rendition of "The Next Episode."

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Deerhoof
Photograph: Richard Saunier

Deerhoof + Gold Dime + Sloppy Jane

Music Rock and indie

The irrepressible Deerhoof, a.k.a. the world’s premier art-pop band, hits Brooklyn to purvey its sublime mixture of the anthemic and the angular. Opening is local outfit Gold Dime, the brainchild of Andrya Ambro—a blazing drummer best known as a former member of acclaimed noise rock duo Talk Normal.

Sentimental Rave

Clubs House, disco and techno

This Parisian DJ peddles stripped down amalgamations of gabber, techno, and industrial with an ear for emotive melodies.

See more NYC concerts in January

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