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The best things to do in NYC this weekend

The best things to do in NYC this weekend include catching a silent film with a live score, a roller disco brunch party and the first celebrations of the Chinese New Year

By Collier Sutter and Shaye Weaver |
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Working for the weekend? Don't worry, we've got you covered with the best things to do in New York City this weekend. Remember how it feels to stretch out under the trees for a summer movie with a silent film screening at Brookfield Place set to a live score, or get active and skate out your dance moves between mimosas at a roller disco brunch party. Want to really celebrate? Kick off Chinese New Year fun with the firecracker ceremony and festival. Check out more ideas below on our list of the best things to do in NYC this weekend.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best things to do in NYC

Things to do in NYC this weekend

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Todd Williamson/Peacock
News, City Life

See a giant, glowing peacock at Rockefeller Center

A new giant floral peacock installation just appeared at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and is sure to be pure Instagram bait for visitors passing through the iconic plaza. The flashy peacock stands about four stories tall and 46 feet wide and it’s colorful, sprawling feathers behind it are made up of 15,000 feet of garland. Planning to visit at night? The bird is also dressed in 11,055 multi-colored LED lights to illuminate it’s sweet looks in the dark. The new installation was put up right in front of NBC’s headquarters to promo their new streaming service named, you guessed it, “Peacock.”

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Courtesy of Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
News, City Life

Ride on the ice bumper cars at Bryant Park

Every winter, Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park throws down FrostFest, a 10-day stretch packed with winter activities. Last year, they added a new fun activity to the mix: ice bumper cars. Since then, it’s been a smash hit. Now, they are bringing it back for a second season this winter with extended hours—in case you missed out. Starting Friday January 17, the bumper cars will be available daily until February 28. Its hours are as follows: Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday from 11am to 4pm, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 2pm to 7pm. You can bet the spots will fill up faster than you can say, "ouch, my neck," so book your session sooner rather than later. For the uninitiated, the entrance to the rink at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is between 40th Street and 42nd Street on 6th Avenue. When you’re not busy on the ice you can hit up the rink-side bar or food hall, The Lodge by Urbanspace.

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Vans
News, City Life

Do your ollies at this massive free indoor skatepark

There’s a new skatepark in town, and it's open to the public. Vans just opened an indoor skatepark right off the L’s Jefferson stop in Bushwick. Instead of righteously bracing the New York cold to rip it around, skaters can now head to this new indoor space to stay warm during the winter and do their sport for free.  Inside the park, there is smooth concrete and rails for both intermediate and newbie levels and plenty of ledges, ramps, pipes and other features. To sign up for a time slot, skaters will just need to RSVP on their site. The days and sessions are currently as follows: Thursdays 2pm to 4pm, 4:30pm to 6:30pm, 7pm to 9pm; Fridays 2pm to 4pm, 4:30pm to 6:30pm and 7pm to 9pm; Saturdays and Sundays 12pm to 2pm (Kids session ages 6 to 12), 2:30pm to 4:30pm, 5pm to 7pm, 7:30pm to 9:30pm. During the designated kids session, be sure they have a legal guardian present for their time in order to get skating.

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impulse
Photograph: Courtesy Ulysse Lemerise for Creos
News, City Life

Ride glowing musical seesaws on Broadway

Broadway has morphed 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 unveiled the seesaw installation, dubbed "Impulse," on Monday, Jan 6, on Broadway between 37th and 38th streets. 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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Bryant Park Bumper Cars
Time Out/Ali Garber
Things to do

FrostFest

Bryant Park, Midtown West

Instead of shunning the cold, embrace it with these 10 days of winter fun. You can knock into your friends with bumper cars on ice, groove as part of a silent disco, enjoy live entertainment at the Lodge and reserve an igloo, where you can warm up after all the alfresco activities

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Photograph: Courtesy of Isaac Danna
Bars, Pubs

Laugh it up at Union Hall

Park Slope
4 out of 5 stars

What should we do tonight? No clue, any ideas? If that's the dialogue lately with your friends every time you try to plan a night out, make it easy and head to Union Hall. The bi-level bar is the kind of place you can hang at all evening and not get bored. Sit by the cozy fireplace chomping on miniburgers and sipping on microbrews before battling it out on the clay bocce courts. Downstairs, you can catch a stand up comedy night this Friday and see Max Wittert, Joe Castle Baker, Shalewa Sharpe, Sam Taggart and others take the stage. $10

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Photograph: Courtesy Hungry Pop
Things to do

Make Pasta, Fresh Mozz, Drink Wine

Water Street Studio, Vinegar Hill

Learn how to make an Italian feast from scratch while you drink wine at this cooking workshop by Hungry Pop. On Saturday and Sundays in January and February, artisanal cheesemaker Max Schwartzman and restaurateur Giorgo Katrantzos will take you step by step as you make your own fresh mozzarella cheese for a tomato and proscuitto salad and ricotta-stuffed tortelloni pasta while enjoying an open bar of red and white wine. Don your apron and get cooking!

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Winter Jazzfest 2018
Photograph: Courtesy Gulnara Khamatova
Music

Discover new artists at The Winter Jazzfest

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 this year there's a full run in Brooklyn at popular venues on Jan 17. More than 100 groups perform at this year's Winter Jazzfest from all around the world. Multi-talented drummer-bandleader, Mark Guiliana is artist-in-residence at this year’s Winter Jazzfest (Thu 9, 10, 11, 16, 17). The lineup includes talent like cutting-edge jazz drummer Makaya McCraven (Sat 11), Brazilian musical artist Seu Jorge (Thu 16) and many more classic and contemporary artists. This festival encourages sampling and venue-hopping, which you don't get to do often in New York anymore so don't miss out.

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Fear in the Western World
Photograph: Courtesy Maria Baranova
Theater, Drama

Experience The Exponential Festival 2020

Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

Brooklyn's very own January theater and dance fest returns for a fifth year at 10 locations throughout the borough, including the Brick, Chez Bushwick, Honeys, Jack, Loading Dock, Para\el, Patch Works, Target Margin Theater, the Woods and Vital Joint. Among the shows to look out for are David Commander and Rob Ramirez's Fear in the Western World, underlords' Bloodshot, Kate Kremer's Term of Art, Shadi Ghaheri's Slow Sound of Snow and Benjamin and Mason Rosenthal and Alex Romania's Tent (Skin).  

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