22 Reasons We’re Looking Forward to 2022 in New York City

nycgo.com staff

It’s been quite a year—again—in New York City, aka the Greatest City in the World, and elsewhere. As we close the book on it, we’re looking forward to good times in 2022: unexpected reunions, farewell concerts, displays of rarely seen art, a new Midtown museum of theater and, sure, more Trader Joe’s. Read on to start making plans for the months ahead.

1. Downtown art of the 1980s remains in vogue. And one of its major figures, Jean-Michel Basquiat, is the subject of King Pleasure, opening April 9 at Manhattan’s Starrett-Lehigh building. The exhibit will include never-before-seen works of art, curated by Basquiat’s sisters and their stepmother. The installation, designed by David Adjaye, includes recreations of the artist’s Great Jones Street studio and the Palladium nightclub’s VIP area, accompanied by paintings Basquiat made for the club in 1985. —Carianne Carleo-Evangelist

Citi Field. Photo: Jen Davis

2. We’re excited for the opening day of Mad Max. And though we loved Beyond Thunderdome, we just need to go slightly beyond the Grand Central Parkway (the 7 train makes it easy) to see the New York Mets prized new signing, Max Scherzer, take the mound at Citi Field. We expect that to be for the March 31 home opener, though Jacob deGrom is a pretty good pitcher too, so it may be April 2. Both are against the Washington Nationals. Caveat: we’ll be happy to see any baseball next year (#endthelockout). —Andrew Rosenberg

3. The riot grrrls are coming. If you were pumped when Bikini Kill announced their reunion in 2019 and bummed when they postponed their 2021 tour, rejoice. Maybe you’re a superfan and know that drummer Tobi Vail inspired a handful of Nirvana tunes (and recorded a few songs with onetime boyfriend Kurt Cobain) and that singer Kathleen Hanna wrote the phrase “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” on Cobain’s wall, giving him the idea for that hit. Or maybe, like Heath Ledger’s character in 10 Things I Hate About You, you’re pretending to like Bikini Kill to impress a girl. Either way, go see these living punk legends at Pier 17 (July 8). —Rachael Roth

4. We’ll celebrate Black pioneers in the culinary arts. “Food is culture” is the central tenet of the Museum of Food and Drink. To celebrate both elements, the museum opens the exhibit African/American: Making the Nation’s Table at the Africa Center on February 23. The focus: the impact of African American culture on what we know as American food, as seen in the Legacy Quilt, the Ebony Test Kitchen and other displays. —CCE

Courtesy, Mott Street Eatery

5. Speaking of food: oh, the places we didn’t go in 2021 (but plan to in 2022). Despite the hardships on the restaurant scene, there were a lot of exciting openings this past year—including Gage & Tollner and Contento, to name two well-publicized ones. We’re aiming to catch up with a few others: Park Slope’s Runner Up, an offshoot of esteemed bakery Winner; Mott Street Eatery, a new Chinatown food court where roast meats look like the star of the show; and Burmese Bites, a well-known pop-up that now has a permanent location at Queens Center Mall. —AR

6. Cave art is coming back. Aussie Nick Cave returns to the restored Kings Theatre in Brooklyn (March 24)—a fittingly ornate venue for his baroque brand of rock—with longtime collaborator Warren Ellis, touring to promote the duo’s beautiful pandemic album, Carnage. Along with their usual bandmates, the two played the same venue after releasing 2016’s Skeleton Tree—a real barnburner of a show, dark and romantic and blisteringly charismatic. —Jonathan Durbin

7. We’ll say goodbye to a sir, with love. How many people are the subject of a biopic while they’re still alive, are both knights and musical superstars and have had Harry Styles dress up as them for Halloween? Hint: very few people. If that doesn’t convince you to get tickets to see Sir Elton John at Madison Square Garden (February 22–23) or Barclays (March 1­­–2) this winter, maybe learning that it’s called the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour will. :::Sobs::: —RR


Museum of Broadway. Courtesy, Paul Bennett Architects, PC

8. We’ll give our regards to (the new Museum of) Broadway. Planned for summer, this cultural institution will give theater fans an extra reason to spend time in Times Square. Expect an interactive exploration of Broadway history, with special attention on especially impactful shows. —CCE

Alice Childress. Courtesy, NYPL: Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

9. But for Broadway this spring, “Off” will be in. This past year, trailblazing writer Alice Childress made her long-delayed Broadway debut with Trouble in Mind (around 65 years late). In April, her play Wedding Band, a thought-provoking work about interracial romance, comes to Off-Broadway at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center. And as we mourn the passing of Stephen Sondheim, his work continues to take center stage—this time with a limited Off-Broadway revival of Into the Woods at City Center, in May. —AR

10. It’s World Cup time. And though the November games will be half a world away in Qatar, it’s always fun to join fellow fans for a viewing party—especially at a local bar or restaurant serving as an unofficial base for expats of a country in the tournament. La Nacional, a restaurant attached to the Spanish Benevolent Society, is a great spot for rooting for La Roja (the scene at the Spain–Portugal game in 2018 was epic); the defending champs (France) get lots of support at Bar Tabac; and other such spots abound for pretty much every nation. And don’t worry about the time difference; we’re sure there will be a crowd morning or afternoon. —AR

11. Your daily NYC planner will get a makeover. If you crave organization and advance preparation, pick up a copy of An Almanac of New York City for the Year 2022 by Susan Gail Johnson, the former director of publications for the Museum of the City of New York. The guide lists cultural events throughout the five boroughs, weather predictions, horoscopes, historical facts and quotes from notable New Yorkers. It also functions as a planner. Look for one at your local indie bookstore. —RR

12. The pope of trash will hit town. Who would have thought when John Waters was making bad-taste movies with his Baltimore coterie that he would someday be celebrated as a tastemaker, called upon to design posters for the New York Film Festival and command concert hall stages? Well, we know his subversive streak still exists; joined by guest and constant Waters’ movie presence Mink Stole, he’ll display it at his 76th birthday celebration at Sony Hall (April 22). —AR

Courtesy, Louis Armstrong House

13. Culture will get an upgrade. There will be expansions, including for the Louis Armstrong House in spring and the Apollo—where the Apollo’s Victoria Theater is tentatively scheduled to open late in the year. There will be renovations: at the Morgan Library and David Geffen Hall, home to the New York Philharmonic. And there will be new homes, such as the permanent one for Bushwick Starr. —CCE

Lou Reed. Photo: Mick Rock

14. Prepare for magic and maybe a sense of loss at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The work of New York City’s unofficial street poet, the late Lou Reed, is the subject of the extensive exhibit Caught Between the Twisted Stars (March 2–August 27), a few years after his archives opened to the public at the library. We had a busload of faith something like this would happen. —AR

15. You can listen in on the conversation. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, frequently cited as two of the best films of all time, were made just a couple of years apart. In the interval, Francis Ford Coppola did The Conversation, a smaller and quieter but no less resonant movie—for its political undertones, paranoid atmosphere and stunning Gene Hackman performance. See it at the Film Forum (January 14–27). —AR


16. There will be snacks. We avoided the long lines of Trader Joe’s during the height of the pandemic; returning to the cult-status grocer after 10-plus months away was like reuniting with old friends (and many of those friends are named Charles Shaw). Trader Joe’s, so named because of the founder’s involvement in the stock market (this is a lie), has done us one better by opening new NYC locations, including on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg and under the Queensboro Bridge on the border of Midtown and the Upper East Side. —RR

17. It’s Girls Against Boys. Not in a 21st-century battle of sexes; rather, the bass-heavy NYC post-hardcore quartet celebrates the 25th anniversary of their House of GVSB album by playing a few shows across the nation, including this one in the band's backyard, at Music Hall of Williamsburg (February 11). Fans will be thrilled to see the guys get back together to pummel their way through tracks like “Super-Fire” and “Disco Six Six Six”; newbies will be impressed by their energy and charmed by their camaraderie. Here's to getting loud. —JD

Bettye LaVette. Photo: Mark Seliger

18. If you want even more rock—and jazz and folk and new wave—you got it. Get your tickets now for soulful interpreter Bettye LaVette at the Blue Note (February 10–13); metal giants Yob at Saint Vitus (February 20–23); new traditionalists Devo, celebrating 50 years of whipping it good, at Pier 17 (May 18); and the surprisingly simpatico duo of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss at Forest Hills Stadium (June 4). —nycgo.com staff

Mermaid Parade. Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk

19–22.The hits will just keep coming. The Mermaid Parade makes its comeback. The Westminster Dog Show too (at least its NYC return). And the New York Latin American Triennial, part of the Bronx Latin American Festival. Plus there’s something called Pig Island at Snug Harbor; it’s a celebration of pork, and there’s a competition angle along with a plenty of food to sample. We’re pretty sure it all adds up to a a net positive. Bring on 2022. —nycgo.com staff