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prismatica
Photograph: Cindy Boyce www.cindyboycephoto.com; Cindy Boyce

The best things to do in NYC this week

The best things to do in NYC this week, includes the Prismatica art installation, incredible new museum exhibits, fun outdoor dining, and more

By Shaye Weaver and Collier Sutter
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If you're looking for the best things to do in NYC this week or even today, there are tons of fun options (so long as you can social distance and wear a mask). Start by catching an exhibit at one of NYC's best museums head to Broadway to see the new Prismatica art installation. Later on, rent a cabin at The Greens or take a walk under the new glowing paper lanterns in Chinatown. For more ideas, scroll down to see this week's best things to do in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best things to do in New York

Best things to do in NYC this week

prismatica
prismatica
Photograph: Cindy Boyce

1. Giant illuminated rainbow prisms are being installed along Broadway

News Art

Prismatica, an immersive art installation consisting of 25 rainbow-like prisms, will be installed this Monday on the Broadway pedestrian plaza between 39th and 40th streets, courtesy of the Garment District Alliance. The six-foot-tall prisms will reflect a kaleidoscope of colors as they move, creating a colorful environment for pedestrians to traverse. Along with the colorful reflections, musical sounds will create a truly immersive landscape along the public thoroughfare. The outdoor art installation will be on view through January 30. Looking for more great art to see in NYC? These are the best art exhibitions in NYC right now.

Beetle House cocktail
Beetle House cocktail
Photograph: Courtesy Beetle House

2. Get drinks at the Tim Burton-themed fire-and-ice bar

News Drinking

NYC's Beetle House—a Halloweenesque, Tim Burton-themed restaurant and bar—now has a "fire-and-ice" bar where you can imbibe hot alcoholic drinks inside a warm and weatherproofed space. Located in the East Village at 308 E Sixth Street, Beetle House is serving up hot cider, hot toddies and other hot and cold drinks, including ice-cold, zero-degree vodka that creates a cloud of steam when infused with a hot cider martini with berries (called the "winterberry cider martini"). New seasonal drinks are on the menu in addition to cocktails like the "This Is Halloween" (Fireball, Sour Apple, Pumpkin Liqueur, Apple Cider, pictured below); "The Fleet Street Martini" (Fireball, sour apple pucker, cranberry juice, cranberry flavor sugared rim) and the "Chocolate Chocolate Martini" (Vanilla Vodka, Chocolate Syrup, Milk, Whipped Cream). The space outside is 50 feet long and features colorful lights, dramatic drapes and a dark and lively atmosphere with costumed characters who perform in the evenings (Thursday-Sunday).  

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Light Up Chinatown
Light Up Chinatown
Photograph: @nyclovesnyc

3. Stand under 250 paper lanterns in Chinatown

News City Life

As we enter another dark pandemic winter, a small group of Chinatown residents decided what their neighborhood needed was a little bit of light. Right now, hundreds of paper lanterns are glowing above Mott Street—between Canal and Bayard streets—casting a warm and inviting glow. Installed by the Light Up Chinatown Project, the new fixtures are intended to light up the street in these dark times, and also inspire New Yorkers and tourists to stop by and visit hurting restaurants and shops. The effect is magical—the lanterns mimic a celebratory atmosphere despite the difficult times and have already gained a lot of attention and Instagram posts.

4. Cinematters NY Social Justice Film Festival

Things to do Online,

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s Cinematters is hosting a New York Social Justice Film Festival over MLK Weekend to promote social action that leads to positive change. The lineup includes films and conversations exploring inequality, injustice, advocacy, and social responsibility through the lens of issues such as racial discrimination, LGTBQIA+ rights, environmental justice, immigrants’ rights, women’s rights, and religious intolerance. You can expect to sit in on a conversation with Regina King about her directorial debut One Night in Miami; an opening night discussion with Director Sam Pollard on his Mlk/fbi; a panel about Bad Boys with Dr. Yusef Salaam of The Exonerated Five; Director Sonia Lowman and Producer Jon-Thomas Royston with the closing night feature; and a Q&A with Wanda Mosley, Senior State Coordinator, Black Voters Matter, and Myrna Perez, Director Voting Rights and Elections, the Brennan Center for Justice.

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Listen Bar
Listen Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Listen Bar

5. Listen Bar: Dry January 2021

Nightlife Online,

NYC’s Listen Bar is holding its own Dry January (virtual) parties each week with booze-free cocktail demos from its menu, musical performances, and guest experts on fresh topics from astrology and money manifestation to mindfulness and mixology. Musicians include Australian pop artist Banoffee, rock band Habibi, and Listen Bar’s own musician bartender and rising star J.Scott. A percentage of event proceeds will benefit several non-profit organizations focused on recovery for queer and trans-BIPOC, Indigenous people, as well as those in the music world.

 

6. "Postcards from the Edge"

Things to do Classes and workshops Online,

This annual exhibit of original, postcard-size art benefits Visual AIDS, a nonprofit that promotes HIV/AIDS awareness through art. Each of the 1,500 anonymously displayed pieces from established and up-and-coming artists can be purchased for $85. There is no fee to browse the online gallery and a “buy 4 get the 5th free” special will be in place throughout the length of the sale.

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Bryant Park Winter Village
Bryant Park Winter Village
Photograph: Courtesy Angela Cranford

7. Iceless curling at Winter Village

News City Life

There's a new Curling Café at the park with an iceless curling court. You can try your hand out at curling on a synthetic ice rink, which creates a realistic experience. Just rent a curling lane and accompanying tent for either one to four people or five to eight people on Wednesdays to Fridays: 3:30-9pm, (with extended weekend time slots including Saturdays & Sundays: 1:30pm-9pm). Renting a tent and curling lane ranges from $250 to $475 and comes with a carafe of hot chocolate, finger foods, and brownie pops. Note: All gaming equipment and tents are sanitized between each and every booking, and all customers must wear a face-covering when not seated inside your designated tent.

 

Pixar's Soul
Pixar's Soul
Photograph: Courtesy Disney/Pixar

8. Watch Pixar's 'Soul' for its NYC scenes

News City Life

On Christmas Day, Disney+ released the newest Pixar film, Soul, about jazz enthusiast and music teacher Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) whose soul gets separated from his body when he nearly dies in an accident. Joe is taken to the Great Beyond but refuses to go into the light. Instead, he lands in The Great Before, where he teams up with another soul, 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), to show her what's great about living. Along the way, he also learns plenty about himself. Soul is a fun film and incredibly animated, but one of the most impressive parts of the film is how it completely understands what it's like to live in New York City.

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New York Responds: The First Six Months
New York Responds: The First Six Months
Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

9. New York Responds: The First Six Months

Museums History Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem

New York Responds: The First Six Months at the Museum of the City of New York is an extension of the outdoor photography installation that opened this summer and features selections that were made by a community jury, reflecting the changes and challenges of life in New York City from March through August 2020. The exhibit showcases photographs, objects, videos, and works of art that document the impacts of Covid-19 and activism in 2020, including creative handmade masks and social distance markers; photographs of mutual aid efforts, including food donation, community fridges, and volunteers; a pan used in the 7 o’clock clapping for health care workers; photographs of activism for Black Lives Matter, including healthcare workers taking a knee; an innovative ventilator devised by medical personnel at The Mount Sinai Health System; and photographs of essential workers, including food delivery and public transportation.

fotografiska Mohammed Shajahan “Their Home”
fotografiska Mohammed Shajahan “Their Home”
Photograph: Courtesy Fotografiska / Mohammed Shajahan

10. Photography 4 Humanity at Fotografiska

Art Photography Fotografiska, Gramercy

"Photography 4 Humanity" at Fotografiska New York is a showcase of winning works by photographers who captured the struggle for human rights that were submitted in a contest held by Fotografiska New York, Photography 4 Humanity and United Nations Human Rights. This year’s global prize winner is Anindito Mukherjee, whose winning image “The Last Rites” captures both the human and systemic costs of COVID-19 in New Delhi, India. His image was selected out of thousands of entries submitted from 142 countries by an esteemed judging panel, which includes renowned human rights experts, photographers, journalists, photo editors and publishers. Following the month-long installation at the museum, the images will move on to be showcased globally via a virtual exhibit by the United Nations.

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Apres Ski at Marea
Apres Ski at Marea
Photograph: Marea

11. Marea's apres ski-themed dining

News Eating

Marea has transformed its curbside set-up into an après ski winter wonderland.  Snuggle up with faux-fur shams and seat heaters while tucking into a two-course winter prix fixe ($55 per person), featuring a choice of seasonal appetizer and belly-warming bowl of pasta, as well as a cookie plate to finish.

Burgie's
Burgie's
Photograph: Roberta's

12. Burgie's, the new burger joint from Roberta's

News Eating

They already char up some of the best pizza in NYCnow the team behind Brooklyn fave Roberta's is getting into the burger game, too. The counter-service burger spinoff will be called Burgie's and will open at 198 Randolph Street between Gardner and Steward Aves in Bushwick this Saturday, December 19. Initially opening for takeout and delivery only, the kitchen will be run by Jackie Carnesi and the menu will pay homage to old-school burger joints. That means heavily loaded burgers, made using a propriety beef blend that's ground daily, and thick-cut fries made from scratch. A veggie burger and a wedge salad round out the menu.  

 

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A New Look at Old Masters at The Met Museum
A New Look at Old Masters at The Met Museum
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art

13. The Met Museum's re-opened galleries

News Art

On December 12, the Met opened about two dozen galleries dedicated to old master paintings (like Caravaggio, Goya, Peter Paul Rubens, Jean Antoine Houdon, Jan van Eyck) with new skylights—marking the half-way point of a four-year construction project to reintroduce all 45 galleries for European Paintings, 1250–1800. This is the first time visitors to the museum can see the 21 renovated galleries and more than 500 works that are now enhanced by the natural light from the new skylights, according to the Met. The newly opened galleries themselves include The Met's newest exhibition, A New Look at Old Masters.

Grimm Artisanal Ales
Grimm Artisanal Ales
Photograph: Gabi Porter

14. Grimm Artisanal Ales

Bars Breweries East Williamsburg

At this East Williamsburg taproom darling, guests can still show up to sit under toasty heat lamps outside and try freshly canned brews or those on tap. Think: IPAs with candy undertones of pink Startburst, to citrusy kettle sours with vanilla and milk sugar. Don't want to leave your house? Many of NYC's beloved breweries will deliver to your doorstep, so you can lock in hard-to-come-by new flavor drops from the comfort of your couch—and you can wait as those colorful artist-designed cans show up.  

 

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Glass cabins at Watermark Bar
Glass cabins at Watermark Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Watermark Bar/Dianna DelPrete

15. Waterfront glass cabins at Watermark Bar

News Eating

FiDi's Watermark Bar is offering glass cabins along Pier 15 overlooking the East River waterfront and the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. The panoramic views alone are enough to warm us up without the use of outdoor heaters. (But don't worry, each "house" is fully warmed and weather-controlled.) 
Available on a first-come, first-serve basis, the glass cabins can fit as many as 10 diners, who can share stuff like cheese fondue, grilled skewers, a s'mores kit, and hot cocktails (boozy cocoa, hot cider) inside.

Art on the Ave Upper West Side
Art on the Ave Upper West Side
Photograph: @artontheavenyc

16. The Art of Healing Gallery Walk

Art Outdoor art Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

Discover the artwork of 27 artists along Columbus Avenue from West 67th to 77th Streets, Saturday through January 31, 2021, as part of Art on the Ave NYC. Curator Lisa DuBois of X-Gallery in Harlem chose works from more than 220 submissions that reinforce the gallery walk’s timely theme, “The Art of Healing.” New Yorkers can access recordings of each artist describing their work and an introductory message from actor Michael Imperioli by scanning a QR code on individual storefront windows. Also included is an educational component featuring downloadable lessons accessible through the Art on the Ave website.

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The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close mcny
The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close mcny
Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York, by Ali Elai of Camerarts, Inc

17. The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close

Things to do Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem

Museum of the City of New York is bringing back one of its most popular items — The Stettheimer Dollhouse, a lavish, highly-detailed dollhouse with rarely seen miniature 20th-century modernist artworks. Carrie Stettheimer, along with her sisters Ettie and Florine and their mother Rosetta, was the host of an influential avant-garde artistic salon in early 20th century New York. The sisters, who were also known as the “Stetties,” weaved together the fashion and style of early 20th century New York in miniature form across 12 rooms, from the Limoges vases in the chintz bedroom to the crystal-trimmed candelabra in the salon. In fact, some of the leading figures of modern art in New York in the 1910s and 1920s, including Marcel Duchamp, Gaston Lachaise, Margaret and William Zorach, and others gifted miniature works for the dollhouse.

Infamous Fotografiska
Infamous Fotografiska
Photograph: Courtesy Andres Serrano and Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris & Brussels

18. "Infamous" at Fotografiska

Art Photography Fotografiska, Gramercy

Infamous, a solo exhibition by renowned artist Andres Serrano on view at Fotografiska, is a visual exploration of the history of racism in the U.S. via 30 photographs of racist artifacts, including race-based and racist memorabilia. Serrano acquired KKK hoods, consumer products depicting caricatures of Black people, violent documentary photographs, and more, most of which were previously owned and purchased directly from the homes of Americans. Serrano hopes to confront the country’s racist history and have Americans consider racism's influence on culture and society today. The museum will support these conversations through programming, includingwith the National Coalition Against Censorship.

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Gilberto Rivera Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Gilberto Rivera Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Photograph: Courtesy MoMA PS1/Matthew Septimus

19. "Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration"

Art MoMA PS1, Long Island City

PS1 is taking an important look at the life of people in prisons and those no longer behind bars through their art that deals with issues of state repression, erasure, and imprisonment, as well as the COVID-19 crisis in U.S. prisons. Installations include Rorschach-like portraits of black Americans who were killed in police-involved shootings, a mural made of 39 prison-issued sheets at 40 feet long and 15 feet tall and more. The exhibition is a powerful exploration of the social and cultural impact of mass incarceration.

Taller Boricua
Taller Boricua
Photograph: @elmuseo

20. Taller Boricua: A Political Print Shop in New York

Art El Museo del Barrio, East Harlem

This is the first monograph exhibition in three decades about the East Harlem-based Nuyorican collective workshop and alternative space, Taller Boricua. The organization, commonly known as "The Puerto Rican Workshop," which began as a printmaking studio, produced and circulated hundreds of prints centered on issues of Puerto Rican independence, workers’ rights, and anti-imperialism both locally and in the Caribbean and Latin America, issues that remain relevant today. This exhibition, curated by Rodrigo Moura, is comprised of more than 200 works and ephemera, including serigraphs, lithographs, linocuts, paintings, assemblages, collages, and drawings by founding and early members, including Marcos Dimas, Carlos Osorio (1927 – 1984), Jorge Soto Sánchez (1947 – 1987), Nitza Tufiño, and Rafael Tufiño (1922 – 2008), among several others.

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Pier 17 winter cabins the greens
Pier 17 winter cabins the greens
Photograph: Courtesy Credit Giada Paoloni on behalf of the Howard Hughes Corporation

21. Cozy winter cabins at Pier 17

News City Life

The Greens are officially coming back for winter. (Though this time around, they’ll look a lot less green.) The socially distanced dining destination, which made a splash this summer thanks to its Instagram-ready, reservable mini lawns, announced today that it will be transforming into a new experience for the colder months on Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport. With the mini lawns back in storage, the rooftop venue will be installing 28 individual 12’ by 10’ winterized dining cabins. Each cabin will be able to fit up to 10 guests and will be decorated with fun winter décor and amenities including virtual fireplaces, electric heating, cozy banquettes and, of course, jaw-dropping, floor-to-ceiling views of NYC from its prime location on the East River waterfront.

tea room
tea room
Photograph: Kimberly Howard-Thomassen

22. Brooklyn High Low tea salon

News City Life

One look inside Brooklyn High Low, Moon’s eclectic tea salon now open on Vanderbilt Avenue, and you’ll find a chandelier made of teacups dangling from the ceiling, old champagne buckets holding plants, velvet chaise lounge chairs and kooky lamps in every corner. Diners can choose from over 20 teas, from lavender earl grey blends to green tea jasmine. The multi-course tea experience comes in three levels depending on your budget: The Brooklyn ($48 per person); The Vanderbilt (75 minutes, $58 per person); and The Heights (90 minutes, $68 per person) which also sends each guest takes home with a vintage memento such as a teacup. All three services include a baseline of tea, finger sandwiches, scones, and end their tea time with a decadent dessert spread such as banana pudding, chocolate mousse or shortbread cookies. 

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Brian Clark: The Art of Light Museum of Arts & Design
Brian Clark: The Art of Light Museum of Arts & Design
Photograph: Courtesy Jenna Bascom

23. "Brian Clark: The Art of Light"

Art Museum of Arts & Design, Hell's Kitchen

Get immersed in the vivid, saturated and dramatic stained glass works of Brian Clarke, who has been one of the world's most prominent stained glass artists. You can walk between and around 20 free-standing, glass screens that almost come to life with changing light. Since the early 1970s, Clarke has collaborated with some of the world’s most prominent architects to create stained-glass designs and installations for hundreds of projects worldwide. 

About Time: Fashion and Duration
About Time: Fashion and Duration
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art

24. "About Time: Fashion and Duration" at The Met Museum

News Art

Time has escaped us this year, but The Metropolitan Museum of Art is still marking time, moment by moment, in what is the most-anticipated exhibition of the year.

The Costume Institute's exhibit, "About Time: Fashion and Duration" takes a deep dive into 150 years of fashion history (from 1870 to present day) for the museum's 150th anniversary. The visually stunning show, sponsored by Louis Vuitton, finally opens to the public on Thursday after six months of postponement, further highlighting the exhibition's focus—the passage of time and its linear but cyclical nature.

The Met called on actresses Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore (all who starred in The Hours) to recite passages from Virginia Woolf's Orlando: A Biography, about a young noble who time travels by living for more than 300 years but changes gender, finishing life as a modern woman writer. The excerpts are played on a loop through the exhibit.

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 Sharks Pool Club
 Sharks Pool Club
Image: Courtesy Sharks Pool Club

25. Sharks Pool Club

Things to do Williamsburg

Rather than hit the billiards in a crowded dive bar, a new service called Sharks Pool Club lets you book a private room and table online. You can then show up to one of the mansion-style rooms with a key code that will let you in, no human contact required. Once there, you can play your own music, BYOB and have a fun night out with your significant other, a potential match or a group of friends that you’ve formed a pod with.

Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York City, NYC, museum
Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York City, NYC, museum
Photograph: Shutterstock

26. Jackson Pollock's largest painting at the Guggenheim

News Art

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum officially reopened its doors on Saturday after six long months of closure with three major shows, including a Jackson Pollock exhibit that features a mural that hasn't been shown in NYC in more than 20 years.

"Mural," as it simply called, hasn't been shown in New York in more than 20 years. It's about 20 feet wide and 8 feet tall—the largest of Pollock's works. 

 

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Don't Tell Mama sign
Don't Tell Mama sign
Photograph: Courtesy Don't Tell Mama

27. Live music at these NYC piano bars

News Theater & Performance

Several beloved local cabaret venues have found a way to stay within the city's health guidelines while providing New Yorkers with the in-person music they crave—with live musicians playing for audiences that are safely seated outdoors. Ticketed concerts remain prohibited, but these performances are technically incidental music: They provide background ambiance at restaurants and bars. And for as long as the weather will permit it—or even beyond that, knowing New Yorkers—it can be a special experience.

 

Looking for more things to do?

Fall in NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock

The best things to do in the fall in NYC

Things to do

Fall in NYC is everything you could hope for in a season. First, the city gets delightfully spooky for Halloween. With thrilling Halloween events and Halloween festivals happening in every borough, it’s easy to get in the spirit of things! Aside from pumpkins and funky costumes though, you can keep the autumn excitement going by leaf peeping around the city, warming up with whiskey, parades, virtual parties and so much more. Autumn in NYC is tough to match!

Central Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

NYC events in October 2020

Things to do

'Tis the season to get spooky! But beyond the best Halloween events, but there are also plenty of other awesome NYC events in October 2020. Use our events calendar to plan the quintessential month for leaf peeping and spotting fall foliage, pumpkin picking and more things to do in fall.

Kick off fall with some epic cultural events, you don't want to miss happening like Open House New York, Oktoberfest and new haunted pop-up drive throughs.

 

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2020

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Green-Wood Cemetery performance
Photograph: Courtesy Green-Wood Cemetery/Maike Shulz

The best Halloween events for 2020 in NYC

Things to do

2020 has been scary enough, but we're throwing the spookiness into high gear for Halloween this month. Typically, October is filled with costumed parties, jump scares at haunted houses, corn mazes and parades, but this year will be a little different. For one, the Village Halloween Parade is canceled, and it's likely most of the city's regularly scheduled scary haunts will be as well given the current pandemic. That being said, there are still quite a few things still taking place, and with Halloween (finally) taking place on a Saturday, it'll be easier to celebrate. Don't bother breaking out your sewing kit, New York's greatest Halloween stores have plenty of options to make you look really spooky. Make sure to check out our NYC events in October too for even more activities to finish off the month in killer spirits. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Halloween in NYC

Fall in NYC
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Loic Lagarde

NYC events calendar for 2020

Things to do

Want to know what’s happening in New York today, this weekend or in the coming months? Use our NYC events calendar 2020 as your guide to find the best things to do in the fall, winter and spring. Major events to look forward to this time of year include The Village Halloween Parade, Oktoberfest and the best places to see fall foliage in the city. Ready to unleash your inner culture vulture? Peep our top picks for the best art shows and concerts this year. All you need to do is buy the tickets!

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