101 things to do in the winter in New York City 2011

Mark your calendar for classic holiday events, warming treats, cultural highlights and more!

RECOMMENDED: The most up-to-date 101 things to do in the winter in NYC

  • Photograph: Emma Holder | Openhouse Gallery

    Park Here at Open House Gallery

  • Stephen Merchant

  • Photograph: National Archives and Records Administration

    "Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past Present and Future" at BLDG 92

  • Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin


  • Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    New galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

    Julianna Margulies of The Good Wife, appearing at the Times Arts & Leisure Weekend

  • Photograph: Manuel Harlan

    Richard III at BAM

  • Photograph: Thomas Hauner

    Phish in concert

Photograph: Emma Holder | Openhouse Gallery

Park Here at Open House Gallery

1. Get out of the cold and into an indoor park
Park Here, the enclosed green space that opened in Soho's Openhouse Gallery in early 2011, returns this winter. In addition to games such as badminton and Jenga, the space features cool events like a Nerd Nite trivia competition (Feb 2) and film screenings—check out the critically-acclaimed documentary Senna on January 25. Food vendors, including Hong Kong Street Cart and Robicelli's, will also sell goodies on-site. Of course, you could also just relax in one of three hammocks while soaking up rays from special SAD therapy lamps and dreaming of less frigid weather. Openhouse Gallery, 201 Mulberry St between Kenmare and Spring Sts (212-334-0288, openhousegallery.org). Free. Dec 5--Feb 15. Closed Dec 7, 8, Jan 1, 2, 3.

2. Catch Stephen Merchant's Hello Ladies... tour
The cocreator of The Office and Extras that's not named Ricky Gervais performs his first stand-up gigs in the States in December. Merchant plays the perfect straight man and comic counterpart to the ever-manic Gervais in the aforementioned sitcoms and on the entertaining-as-hell podcast The Ricky Gervais Show (rickygervais.com)—and we can't wait to witness his intelligent, shy-guy wit in person. The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd St between Sixth Ave and Broadway (800-745-3000, livenation.com). Dec 20, 21 at 8pm; $29--$49.

3. Learn about Brooklyn's history at BLDG 92
In November, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation opened a new visitors' center at the former shipbuilding complex, offering information on the facility and its connection to the surrounding neighborhoods. Plan an afternoon trip to check out its inaugural exhibits: "Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past, Present and Future" examines the historical significance and future plans for the space, while "War Photojournalists" showcases the work of photographers such as Joo Silva, Lynsey Addario and the late Tim Hetherington. Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave between Carlton Ave and Adelphi St, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (bldg92.org). Wed--Sun noon--6pm; free.

4. Sing your heart out at the XMAS Pop Sing-Along
If you're planning on hitting SantaCon on December 10, pregame at this celebration of cheesy and classic Christmas music, hosted by pop-culture-party throwers Secret Formula. All pop holiday tunes are fair game, and once you've sipped enough glasses of eggnog ($7), you'll be chanting along to "All I Want for Christmas Is You" with the festive-sweater--wearing dude next to you. Union Hall, 702 Union St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-638-4400, unionhallny.com). Dec 9 at 10pm; $8.

5. Carouse with hundreds of drunken Santas
Ah, SantaCon: It's the one magical day each year when it's perfectly acceptable to don an elf costume, get far too drunk and make friends with hundreds of New Yorkers doing the same thing. Details won't be released until December 9, but we can guarantee that the concept is the same as in years past: Dress up like St. Nick (or another holiday icon—the goofier your outfit is, the better), imbibe many adult beverages, take photos with someone in a slutty Rudolph costume, and try not to throw up all over your fake beard. Dec 10; location and time TBA; visit nycsantacon.com on Dec 9 for more information. Free.

6. Discover ancient treasures in the Met's new Islamic wing
Fifteen of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's galleries were recently renovated and reopened as a suite, called New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia. Pieces on view include a 16th-century Persian carpet owned by a Habsburg emperor and several illustrations compiled for the Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, among other rare items. Learn more by checking out the five items you must see at the new galleries, as chosen by curator Navina Najat Hadar. 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). Tue--Thu 9:30am--5:30pm, Fri--Sat 9:30am--9pm; Sun 9:30am--5:30pm. Suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free.

7. Spend a weekend with celebs
For its 11th annual Arts & Leisure Weekend, the New York Times has assembled a solid lineup of boldface names: The cast of the CBS hit The Good Wife, style icon Simon Doonan, bluegrass siren Alison Krauss and comedian David Cross are among the celebs who will chat with NYT journos during the festival. The Times Center, 242 W 41st St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (artsandleisureweekend.com). Times vary; $30. Jan 5--8.

8. Play video games at Community 54
Those still mourning the loss of Chinatown Fair Video Arcade should head to this hybrid gallery, streetwear shop and video arcade. The shop opened on November 1, and it offers gamers a rotating selection of ten old-school cabinets (including Millipede and Pac-Man). While you're there, shop for cold-weather gear, such as a Mitchell & Ness Yankees league champions jacket ($200). Community 54, 54 Clinton St between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-673-7060, community54.com)

9. See Kevin Spacey take the stage in Brooklyn
As part of BAM's ongoing 150th-anniversary celebration, the cultural center welcomes cinematic (and theatrical) heavyweights Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes to its Fort Greene digs. The Oscar winners take on Shakespeare's Richard III, with Mendes directing and Spacey starring as the play's titular lead. These tickets will sell out quickly, so be sure to nab yours ASAP. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St between Ashland and Rockwell Pls, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-636-4100, bam.org). Jan 10--Mar 1; $24—$130.

10. Jam out to Phish
With the world's biggest jam band hitting town for its annual run of New Year's Eve shows, expect a host of Phans and neohippies to take over MSG and its surrounding area for a few days. These gigs are typically epic—even if you're not a Phish-head, the shows are worth checking out for the spectacle alone. For example, to welcome in 2011 at the Garden, a barrage of balloons and confetti fell onto the audience as the band led a giant sing along to "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight. Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza between 31st and 33rd Sts (212-465-6741, thegarden.com). Dec 28--30 at 7:30pm; $60. Dec 31 at 8pm; $70.

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