New Year’s Day: What’s Up, Open and On in New York

The “city that never sleeps” does indeed have some residents that take a rest on New Year’s Day, so call ahead or check the website of any performance or establishment you’re thinking of visiting; it may be closed.

Other than the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.),  most of the museums on Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile are closed, including the Jewish Museum, the National Academy Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, El Museo del Barrio and the Neue Galerie.

The ever-popular Museum of Modern Art is open, even letting visitors in one hour earlier than normal at 9:30 a.m.  It’s traditionally one of the museum’s busiest days, so expect a line to enter, especially in the afternoon.

It might be the perfect day to beat the hip art crowd to the “Carsten Höller: Experience” at The New Museum on the Bowery, open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some will be sure to be sleeping off their nocturnal consumption of culture.


38th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading
The Poetry Project, Manhattan, Jan. 1, 2012 – Jan. 2, 2012

This East Village poetry tradition will feature 140 poets and performers on the first day of 2012.

The Alvin Ailey dancers will perform at New York City Center on Jan. 1. Photo by Jack Mitchell.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
New York City CenterManhattan, please check full listing for event date and times

Highlights of the season include “Home,” a bold new work by hip hop choreographer Rennie Harris, and Ohad Naharin’s phenomenally inventive “Minus 16.” For the first time, the Ailey dancers take on the choreography of Paul Taylor with his romantic masterpiece “Arden Court.” Returning repertory favorites include the beloved Revelations.

Kevin Clash's life as the voice of Elmo is the subject of a documentary at Symphony Space. Photo courtesy of Symphony Space.

“Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”
Symphony Space, Manhattan, please check full listing for event date and times

He began building puppets at the age of 10 and performed on Baltimore’s Harbor Front and local television as a teenager. Kevin Clash, the man behind Elmo, is the subject of this heartwarming documentary, which examines his life from his teenage days to those as a father and Muppeteer who travels the world.

There's not much time left to see the Big Apple Circus; the shows end Jan.8. Photo by Bertrand Guay.

“Dream Big”
Big Apple CircusManhattan, Oct. 20, 2011 – Jan. 8, 2012

For its 34th season the Big Apple Circus presents the all-new show, “Dream Big,” featuring international circus artists and the clown “Grandma” on her final tour. Every seat under the Big Top is no more than 50 feet from the ring.

Hansel & Gretel 2011
Opera Manhattan, Manhattan, please check full listing for event date and times

In this new, interactive production, kids ages 7 and up will be able to take part in the show on stage, including meeting Hansel and Gretel themselves and throwing snowballs at the Witch. The show includes an introduction to the characters, some of the tunes to sing along with, and a lesson in when to applaud and say “Bravo!” and “Brava!”

Model trains navigate New York City in miniature at the Holiday Train Show. Photo courtesy of New York Botanical Garden.

Holiday Train Show
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, Nov. 19, 2011 – Jan. 16, 2012

The holiday model trains zip over bridges and past replicas of New York landmarks made of plant parts such as nuts, bark and leaves. Show favorites include the original Yankee Stadium, Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.

“Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway”
Shubert OrganizationManhattan, Oct. 25, 2011 – Jan. 1, 2012

For 10 weeks only, Hugh Jackman returns to Broadway in an intimate concert appearance. The Tony- and Emmy Award-winning superstar performs with an 18-piece orchestra, singing his favorite songs and sharing some personal stories. Jackman performs the last show on January 1, 2012.

Saulo García's Spanish language stand-up routine is famous from New York to Colombia. Photo by Omar Ramírez.

“La Vida en los Esclavos Unidos”
Repertorio EspañolManhattan, please check full listing for event date and times

His “El Insomnio Americano” continues to sell out in New York, Miami and Colombia and now Saulo García brings a new stand-up comedy show with his usual good taste and ingenuity. Directed by Juan Carlos Talero, García touches on the financial crisis, health care in the U.S., and immigrants’ jobs. The show is in Spanish only.

Photo Courtesy of Gateway National Recreation Area

A hike at Fort Tilden ends with refreshments in the Rockaways. Photo courtesy of Gateway National Recreation Area.

New Year’s Day Beach Walk at Fort Tilden
Gateway National Recreation Area, Queens, Jan. 1, 2012

Brace yourself for the new year on a walk along the Fort Tilden beach — the 26th year of this annual tradition. The guided hike ends with refreshments at the Rockaway Artist’s Alliance, Studio 7.

Salute to Vienna on New Year’s Day: The Strauss Symphony of America
Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln CenterManhattan, Jan. 1, 2012

Performing Strauss waltzes, polkas and famous operetta pieces, the cast of over 75 musicians, stellar European singers and Vienna Imperial Ballet dancers in beautiful costumes ring in the New Year — Viennese-style — in its 13th season at Lincoln Center.


On Jan. 1, MoMA will have a screening of Fellini's "La Dolce Vita." Photo courtesy of Museum of Modern Art.

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art was described by its first director as “a torpedo moving through time.” Since opening in 1929, MoMA has secured its place as a pioneer collector and exhibitor of modern art-from 19th-century Post-Impressionism to contemporary installations. MoMA’s collection includes painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, photography, film, architecture and design.

The "Infinity of Nations" exhibition is a mainstay of the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian.

National Museum of the American Indian

The museum features year-round exhibitions, dance and music performances, children’s workshops, family and school programs, film festivals and video screenings that present the diversity of the Native peoples of the Americas and the strength of their cultures from the earliest times to the present.

"Carsten Höller: Experience" includes slides and a sensory deprivation chamber. Photo courtesy of New Museum.

New Museum

This museum of contemporary art focuses primarily on work of living artists created during the past 10 years. Each year the museum mounts three to four major exhibitions and about 12 smaller shows in its galleries.

The Guggenheim is showing a Kandinsky exhibition. Photo courtesy of the Guggenheim Museum.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum exhibits the best in 20th-century art and contemporary art.

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