Things to Do on New Year's Day
by Chris Schonberger, Time Out New York contributor , 12/10/2009
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Go ice skating
Some fresh air and a few tailbone-bruising spills should be just the thing to bring you back to the land of the living. Expect long lines at more popular rinks like The Pond at Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center, but you should find a little more space for your triple toe loops in the boroughs. Check out a full list of places to ice skate in New York, many of which are open on New Year's Day.
See a Broadway show
While a few stages go dark for the first day of the year, the show does go on in many theaters around midtown. Find your musical fix at Fela! and Rock of Ages, or check out Superior Donuts, a Chicago import probing diner-counter culture.
Make it a museum day
If your New Year's resolution is to get a little more culture in your life, get started right off the bat. Many of the big exhibitions of the fall close in January, so take advantage of the opportunity to see them. Head to the Museum of Modern Art (open 9:30am–8pm) to check out Compass in Hand: Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection (through January 4), featuring a broad range of works on paper representing a wide array of approaches to drawing is available for viewing in this delightful show. While you're there, check out the new Tim Burton retrospective. Two other options open on New Year's Day are the Guggenheim (open 11am–6pm), which is showing its excellent Kandinsky exhibition until January 11, and the American Museum of Natural History (open 10am–5:45pm), where you can warm up in the balmy 80-degree climate of The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter.
Catch a spoken-word marathon
What better way to clear the head of the previous night's revelry than with 12 hours of poetry? Bowery Poetry Club plays host to "Broken Light: The 16th Annual Alternative New Year's Day Spoken Word Extravaganza" (noon–midnight), featuring performances by more than 150 performers. Pop in and out of the free event whenever you want, and be sure to bring donations—Books Through Bars will collect paperback books for prisoners, and Urban Pathways will be gathering canned food for the homeless. Alternatively, head to The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church for the 36th Annual New Year's Day Marathon Benefit Reading ($18, students and seniors $15), kicking off at 2pm.
Sober up with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club
Steel yourself for the annual New Year's Day Swim with "the oldest winter bathing organization in the United States." These guys and gals take an icy dip in the Atlantic every Sunday from November to April to raise money for Camp Sunshine, but the crew grows in size (ahem) for the January 1 edition. If you show up to swim rather than spectate, the NYC Parks Department provides changing facilities on the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue; you should definitely bring a towel, surf boots/old sneakers and warm change of clothes. Those who make a donation to the cause receive a free breakfast and all-day admission to the New York Aquarium. 1pm, free.
For more ideas on what to do this New Year’s Day, visit Time Out New York.