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NYC events in January 2022

Make the new year great by attending the best NYC events in January 2022 from concerts to new exhibitions

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Begin the new year on the right foot with our list of NYC events in January 2022 to plan your month. We’ve included the best events in January, from can’t-miss happenings to popular New York attractions. From new museum exhibits 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 2022

Featured events in January 2022

  • Theater
  • Hell's Kitchen

The citywide festival JanArtsNYC, an annual presentation of amazing performances at various NYC venues, is coming back this year in a live format! Throughout the month of January, you’ll be able to catch new works in theater, dance, opera, music and more. Supported by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the festival includes PROTOTYPE, which will contain five world premieres, The Public Theater’s beloved Under the Radar Festival and the 18th Annual NYC Winter Jazzfest. Why says January’s a bad time to be in New York?

  • Art
  • Gramercy

Get a glimpse inside New York photographer and director Jerry Schatzberg's studio from the 1960s, where he shot some extraordinary portraits of icons such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Sharon Tate, Catherine Deneuve and Carmen De Lavallade. The studio was set up in 1957 a few steps from Fotografiska at 333 Park Avenue South and became the setting for Schatzberg's playful portraiture that "betray his unquenchable, almost maniacal search for glamour, for glimmers that elevate the geniuses of his time out of their accomplishments and into a pictorially extraordinary ordinary."

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  • Theater
  • Experimental

The Public Theater presents edgy new works from around the world in a top-notch festival curated by Mark Russell. Back in person this year, the participating artists this year include JoAnne Akalaitis, Migguel Anggelo, Savon Bartley, Salty Brine, Inua Ellams, María Irene Fornés, Phillip Glass, Nile Harris, Miranda Haymon, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Eric Lockley, Michelle Memran, Alicia Hall Moran, Raelle Myrick-Hodges, Pascal Rambert, Mia Rovegno, Annie Saunders, Justin Elizabeth Sayre, Roger Guenveur Smith, Mariana Valencia, and Becca Wolff.

The festival will also include the return of Under the Radar + Joe’s Pub: In Concert with performances by Migguel Anggelo, Salty Brine, and Alicia Hall Moran; the INCOMING! works-in-process series featuring projects by Devised Theater Working Group artists; and the Under the Radar Professional Symposium on Thursday, January 13.

Visit the Public's website for details about all these shows and more.

  • Things to do
  • Greenpoint

There's no need to travel far and wide to experience a Scandinavian spa—The Willam Vale is has brought back its Winter Spa with four perfectly appointed, private, red cedar outdoor saunas and hot tubs for some cold weather self-care. Set up on the fourth floor of The William Vale, the Winter Spa lets you sweat your stress away, relax your muscles and remove toxins as you enjoy the view through the panoramic dome window, away from the frosty winter air

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  • Art
  • Midtown West

Award-winning graphic novelist Peter Kuper's intricate drawings of insects—bees, ants, cicadas, butterflies, silkworms, beetles, dragonflies, and more—show them "flying, crawling, and interacting with the various rooms of the Library’s 42nd Street building, where they will be showcased. "This bug’s-eye view of the building’s Beaux-Arts architectural details illuminates the iconic spaces in a completely original way." Kuper has been working on an upcoming graphic novel, INterSECTS, and had the chance to explore the building and its rooms while they were empty during the pandemic. It was there that he realized that the building would be a perfect vehicle for his concept.

Viewers of his work can access commentary by experts online and via QR codes, such as Jessica Ware on dragonflies, Gene Kritsky on cicadas, Michael Engel on bees, Barrett Klein on scarab beetles, and Mark W. Moffett on ants with Mexico’s leading poet/novelist, Homero Aridjis, reading his poem "A Una Mariposa Monarcha."  The audio talks are accompanied by the insect-inspired music of David Rothenberg. All of this plus downloadable coloring book art will be available on January 7 at nypl.org/intersects.

"There are roughly 10 quintillion insects on Earth," Kuper says. "They touch everything we do in our daily lives, our economy, our very survival. Yet most of us barely notice their existence except to swat them away. I have been fascinated with these amazing creatures my whole life, so to be able to do research at the Library investigating them and how they’ve interacted with humans over the centuries was a true passion project. To then have the opportunity to incorporate the Library’s iconic spaces into that artwork is incredibly meaningful. I hope visitors not only enjoy the images and see the Library anew, but they’ll particularly view arthropods through a new lens, and appreciate the beauty and mystery of these tiny giants that are essential to our planet and our lives."

  • Things to do
  • City Life

For the first time in its history, the BBG is welcoming visitors through January 9 to its very own light installation called "Lightscape," presented in partnership with Sony Music. Lightscape is a celebration of light that incorporates art and music that people from all cultures and beliefs can enjoy, especially as the days get shorter. Garden-goers will walk through a colorful forest of illuminated trees and come across a pond where lasers shoot across and reflect off the water and a Cathedral of Light tunnel, as well as see a Fire Garden on Lily Pool Terrace, a Field of Light and an animated light installation covering Cherry Esplanade. The colorful light displays highlight the garden’s trees, landscapes and architecture with more than 18 distinct works of art, including a series of works by local artists in the Plant Family Collection. All in all, there are about one million lights featured in the show. Visitors can grab hot chocolate or apple cider to enjoy on their walk and can make their own s'mores. (The apple cider also comes spiked, if you so desire.)

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

The glasshouses overlooking the East River at Watermark Winter Wonderland at Pier 15 in downtown Manhattan are up and running. Once you get to the destination—which is a huge, 7,500-square-foot waterfront venue—you'll walk through a beautiful illuminated tunnel before entering one of the many cozy private glasshouses, which you can reserve right here. In addition to the phenomenal views of Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Williamsburg bridges, guests will delight in trying out the delicious cheese fondue, perhaps, or order the build-your-own-s'mores dish. 

  • Things to do
  • The Bronx

Let it GLOW at the New York Botanical Garden this year at its second annual NYBG Glow! The outdoor light experience will brighten up the grounds with thousands of energy-efficient LED lights and festive installations. After dark, you can walk this expanded 1.5-mile colorful experience with even more illuminated displays than last year, including plant stories, and whimsical, picture-perfect installations reflecting the surrounding gardens and collections with the Haupt Conservatory and Mertz Library Building as glowing centerpieces. It's all an ideal backdrop for a family holiday photo op. Plus, there will be dance performances, ice carving demonstrations and other seasonal activities (and snacks) to enjoy. Tickets, which can be paired with Holiday Train Show tickets for a little bit more money, are on sale now. Learn more about the new safety measures online. All ages. 

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park will be open for shopping and food. Its 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink that's free to use (if you bring your own skates) is the highlight, while more than 100 shopping and food kiosks are there to peruse—all at one of the best NYC parks. You can even go ice-less curling and rent an igloo to sip on warm drinks this year!
  • Things to do
  • Upper West Side

This immersive new exhibit takes visitors "underwater" to meet some of the ocean's diverse shark species, including the biggest predatory fish of all time—the megalodon. "Sharks" at AMNH introduces the "toothy, fearsome predators" that have captured the public's imagination through films like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea and dives deep into the incredible diversity of this ancient group of fishes through dozens of life-size models (some as long as 33 feet) in an ocean-like gallery with wave-like lighting that moves across the floor. Once visitors enter the gallery, a 27-foot-long megalodon, dubbed the "Tyrannosaurus rex of the seas," model greets them with its mouth wide open as if it is about to feed on them. Here, its giant teeth and overall size set the tone for the super cool and interactive exhibit.

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  • 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.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Governors Island, which recently announced that it will be open to the public year-round for the first time in its history, has opened its first-ever winter village with glittering lights, a 5,000-square-foot ice rink, sled rentals, warm drinks near fire pits and winter programming as well. The massive ice rink will be open Fridays, weekends and on New York City public school holidays from noon to 5pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm, with extended hours available for youth, adult and nonprofit sports leagues and associations. There will be themed events as well as Free Admission Fridays! Sleds will be available to rent alongside bikes from Blazing Saddles NYC. Governors Island will also have winter activities including cornhole, can jam and giant Jenga as well as winter arts and cultural programming and a dazzling display of holiday lights throughout Colonels Row. There will also be a fun and historic photo opp with a Coast Guard-era fire truck at the Winter Village.

 

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The Arts of Buddhism at The Brooklyn Museum
Photograph: courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

The Arts of Buddhism at The Brooklyn Museum

As of January 21, the Brooklyn Museum will have a new gallery dedicated to the Arts of Buddhism collection. It'll juxtapose artwork with nearly 70 objects from 14 countries dating from the second century C.E. to the early 2000s. Many of the works on display will be sculptural depictions of Buddhas and other enlightened figures, as well as ritual tools and ornaments made for use in Buddhist temples and a small selection of paintings. Among the objects newly on view are several of the Museum’s masterpieces, including a rare eighth-century image of the goddess Tara from Odisha, India; a Chinese silver reliquary dedicated by a Buddhist monk and his mother; and a gilt-bronze seated Buddha from southern China. There are also at least nineteen objects that have never before been on display at the museum. In addition, as part of the inaugural installation of the gallery, a pair of important Japanese mandala paintings, dating to the fourteenth century, will be on view for the first time in twenty-five years.

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Pier 17's signature winter rooftop cabins are back. Each 10x10 custom-built structure can accommodate up to eight people and there will be a total of 32 cabins on the rooftop to choose from. Expect the comforting environments to include a virtual fireplace, banquette-style seating, heaters and, perhaps most excitingly, stunning views of the New York City skyline. It doesn't get much better than this. In terms of decor, the heated spaces remind of ski-related destinations. In fact, you'll notice a life-sized sculpture of a mountain range built on the stage space on premise alongside a whole lot of twinkling lights. Pier 17 has basically turned into the nearest mountain vacation to Manhattan. You can reserve your own little oasis right here. Keep in mind that a fee of $20 will be applied to all reservations. A portion of those proceeds will, however, benefit local not-for-profit partners.

  • Museums
  • Fashion and costume
  • Prospect Park

This major exhibit — co-curated by Dior scholar Florence Müller of the Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion at the Denver Art Museum — thoroughly explores the high fashion history of The House of Dior, which dates back to the turn of the 20th century, when the brand's namesake Christian Dior founded the label. The multi-gallery exhibit brings many of Dior's sources of inspiration to life, including flowers, nature, classical and contemporary art, featuring artwork from the Brooklyn Museum's collections. Objects on display will be primarily from the extensive Dior archives and some 200 haute couture garments as well as photographs, archival videos, sketches, vintage perfume elements, and accessories.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • The Bronx

The beloved New York holiday train tradition at the New York Botanical Garden is back for its 30th year!

The garden will become a mini-train depot with its collection of 25 G-scale model trains that'll chug along a nearly half-mile track (which is also overhead) by 175 miniature NYC landmarks like the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center—all made of natural materials such as leaves, cinnamon sticks, twigs, bark and berries. 

Tickets are on sale now for the show, which begins November 20.

  • Things to do
  • Financial District

If you want some magic with your cuppa, head to The Cauldron. It's launching an interactive "Wizard Afternoon Tea" experience inside its venue at 47 Stone Stree t.Why have a conventional, boring three-tier cake stand full of finger sandwiches when you could be presented with a multi-layered, magic wand-interactive colorful castle, activated by a touch-sensitive magic mushroom and topped with a glowing dragon egg? That's right—it's completely fantastical. The table is littered with extra-large tea timers and flowery, mismatched teacups that you would expect to see in any respectable witch's tea cupboard. Nosh on "Elven Scones" wrapped in banana leaves with jam and clotted cream, colorful macarons oozing with mini pipettes of raspberry sauce and a melange of "sand-witches" and more.

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Chelsea

This two-day expo is every retro sifter’s dream, featuring more than 75 of the best vintage dealers. It's back after a one-year hiatus and in person! As always, you can browse a range of price points starting around $20. Gain access to out-of-towners’ prime goods from the 1900s all the way to the 1990s. Expect to shop from vendors like BUIS NY, Icon Style, Eveliina Vintage, Omnia Vintage, 22 Print Studio, Recursive and Indigo Style Vintage, Pennsylvania-based vintage store, Malena's Vintage Boutique and New Jersey-based Incogneeto, Mint Market and Vintage Black Label. New this year are STB Vintage, Upper East Vintage, Vintage Treasure Snack and The Green Giraffe.

The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show and the Metropolitan Pavilion will require that your mask must be worn at all times and that you show proof of vaccination upon entry.

  • Theater
  • Circuses & magic
  • Upper West Side

After declaring bankruptcy in 2016 to widespread lamentations, the family-friendly circus came bouncing back to life at Lincoln Center a year later, and now returns for its 43nd season with an all-new show. Ringmaster and acrobat Alan Silva (America's Got Talent) presides over a spectacle that includes aerialist Nik Wallenda and his famous circus kin as well as comic daredevil Johnny Rockett, dachshund wrangler Diana Vedyashkina and an international cast of astonishing speciality artists. Philip Wm. McKinley, who presided over the post–Julie Taymor version of Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, serves as director and choreographer. (Schedules vary from week to week so be sure to check the curtain time.)

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  • Art
  • Midtown West

The magic and splendor of Walt Disney Animation Studios, from the opulence of Beauty and the Beast to the stylized forests of Sleeping Beauty, now have their very own exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The new exhibit, Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts, is sure to capture the imagination of Disney fans young and old through the display of 18th century tapestries, furniture, Boulle clocks, Sèvres porcelain and other decorative art from Europe set in the context of 150 production artworks and works on paper. Disney fans who enter the exhibition, which officially opens Friday, December 10, will be wowed by the storybook-inspired architecture of the space but also the presence of some actual artifacts from the movies, including the ornate storybook for Sleeping Beauty and the actual story sketches from Cinderella (1950)Next to these items are the things that inspired them, from a 1500s tapestry from the Met Cloisters that directly influenced an artist on Sleeping Beauty (1959) to actual Rococo furniture and decorative items that inspired the characters in Beauty and the Beast (1991).

  • Art
  • The Bronx

Opening on November 10, the Bronx Museum of the Art's AIM Biennial "Bronx Calling" will showcase works that highlight the practice of everyday life in uncertain times. The 68 participating artists created works in response to multiple crises of health, grief, the environment and identity, including Yan Chen’s 8-foot-tall "High Palate" sculpture highlights the basic need of shelter by having viewers experience the intimate space of a pallet (the roof of a mouth) on an architectural scale and "All the Way to Hell" by artist Eliza Evan gives away mineral rights to a small property in Oklahoma to 1,000 people to impede the interest of oil and gas frackers. Jesse Kreuzer's work looks at current issues in American politics with a monumental 8-panel and 30-foot-long painting of a chaotic moment during a protest and Maggie Hazen’s work looks at the lost identities and voices of imprisoned girls at the Columbia Secure Center for Girls, a maximum security facility in New York’s Hudson Valley.

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  • Art
  • Chelsea

A unique data-driven immersive exhibition that explores and interprets the multiple meanings and implications of the concept of trust is coming to ARTECHOUSE in January. It takes a look at how historical events have influenced trust and how they'll influence it in the future by using data points to examine how the presence or absence of trust can shift the perception of our individual realities. Multidisciplinary art studio fuse* takes data from historical news and blockchain data points to artistically translate the levels of this feeling into visuals. It will be separated into three chapters—the past, the present and the future—to present an "ecosystem composed of high-resolution projection, hyperreal immersive sound technology and custom-made software, created to support creative experimentation of today’s artists."

Looking for more things to do?

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  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

It’s no secret that New Yorkers are stressed, but when it comes to unwinding, we’re pretty competitive about that too—that’s where the best spas in NYC come in. The city boasts some of the most luxurious spas in the country, but affordable spa treatments also abound. So get inspired with birthday party ideas in NYC or date night ideas in NYC and book yourself a treatment at one of our favorite New York City spas.

RECOMMENDED: A complete guide to Spa Week in NYC

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  • Travel

With a long winter before us, escaping New York City on a secluded getaway is at the top of our list. We're craving a respite from the busy lives we lead in NYC and are seeking to snowshoe in the Adirondacks, walk solo in Rhode Island, roast marshmallows at an isolated campsite in the Catskills, and more. These spots make for ideal trips during times of global crisis and not. As fun-filled as camping sites, cycling and hiking trails are, there is something about going a bit farther away that makes for more memorable times—especially given the current travel restrictions in placeSo, without further ado, in no particular order, here are the best secluded getaways to take from New York to escape the crowds. 

NOTE: Although our list has been vetted, re-opening guidelines in the New York area are constantly changing. Reach out to specific venues and destinations before planning a trip. 

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