21 Reasons We’re Looking Forward to Winter 2017–18

nycgo.com staff

Winter is coming, and that’s very good news. After all, it's one of the best times to visit New York City. And while you probably know all about the big stuff—the Rockefeller Center tree, the New Year's Ball Drop in Times Square, the ice-skating rinks—there are plenty of other reasons we, the nycgo.com staff, are excited for the colder months. Read on to learn all about them.

1. Broadway is making “fetch” happen. OK, maybe not—but the Broadway premiere of Mean Girls is definitely going to happen in 2018. Fingers crossed that we’ll be seeing all of our favorites from the 2004 film—cool moms, mathletes, Kalteen bars and Kevin G. rap verses—on stage this March. Tina Fey and her husband, composer Jeff Richmond, are behind the musical. Get your tickets now and maybe you can sit with us. —Gillian Osswald

2. We’re getting a taste of two new food halls. The trend continues as Washington Heights gains North End—uptown Manhattan’s largest food hall to date—and a new 10-vendor hall comes to the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Building 77, anchored by an outpost of beloved Lower East Side appetizing store Russ & Daughters. —GO

Study for the Libyan Sibyl, Michelangelo. Courtesy, Met Museum

3. There’s art everywhere. The work of surrealist painter Alberto Savinio—the brother of Giorgio de Chirico—is the subject of the Center for Italian Modern Art’s annual exhibition, which is up through next summer. Savinio’s work, which has rarely been shown outside of Italy, is juxtaposed with that of Louise Bourgeois’. Meanwhile, the Met Fifth Avenue covers another Italian artist you might know. Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer shows 150 drawings, paintings and marble sculptures by the Renaissance man. The Met Breuer is putting an Edvard Munch retrospective, which includes a prototype for The Scream. —Christina Parrella

Times Square. Photo: Julienne Schaer

4. You’ll find the right way to ring in the New Year. Pretty much everyone in the world knows about the Ball Drop in Times Square, but New York has plenty of other options: concerts like Television at Bowery Ballroom, They Might Be Giants at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and, naturally, Phish at Madison Square Garden; comedy at Carolines on Broadway; and, for those looking to start their resolutions immediately, midnight yoga on the Lower East Side. —Jonathan Zeller

5. The beach is always in season. One of the more bracing cures for a New Year’s hangover is a brisk dip in the Atlantic Ocean. This activity takes place January 1 at noon in Coney Island, courtesy of the Polar Bear Club. They’ve been taking icy swims since 1903. Bring your courage and a change of clothes. —Brian Sloan

St. Vincent. Courtesy, Shore Fire Media

6. We hear some cool bands are coming to town. On the heels of her new single, “New York,” (and new album to go with it), St. Vincent graces the City with her presence and indie-rock sounds at the Kings Theatre this December. LCD Soundsystem has a 10-show run at Brooklyn Steel, and Deer Tick and SZA will also be playing gigs. –GO

7. But let’s give respect to their predecessors. If you’re looking for some old hands to deliver musical gifts this season, the City is the source that keeps giving. Steve Earle (with help from Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris) brings his outlaw country rock to Town Hall in early December; City Winery hosts holiday shows from Ronnie Spector and Jane Lynch and a three-day run by Los Lobos; and everyone’s favorite Mark E. Smith postpunk vehicle, the Fall, does a week’s residency in February at Baby’s All Right. —Andrew Rosenberg


8. A Michelin-starred chef makes his NYC debut. This November, chef Toru Okuda recreates his Tokyo restaurant, Okuda, in Chelsea. The restaurant will serve a kaiseki-style (a multicourse, ultrafine dining Japanese tasting) menu in a sleek seven-seat dining room. While you look forward to sampling those splurge-worthy courses, check out Sushi by Bou, Mifune and Naoki, other recent Japanese openings. –GO

Janeane Garofalo. Courtesy, Whiplash

9. We’re going to have some laughs. Among the comedians coming to town this winter are Chris Rock, headlining Barclays Center on December 9; J. B. Smoove, performing at Carolines January 25 through 28; Tom Green, who plays the Bell House on February 8 (yes, we liked Freddy Got Fingered; so sue us); and John Mulaney, who’s at Radio City Music Hall on February 16 and 17. The City is also home to great, cheap running shows like Whiplash at the Upright Citizens Brigade and the Sunday night show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Keep your eyes on our Comedy Calendar for more shows as they’re announced. –JZ

Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks. Courtesy, MSG

10. It’s a basketball youth movement. The Knicks are unquestionably Kristaps Porzingis’ team now, but we’ll also keep an eye on rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina’s development. In the offseason, the Nets acquired D’Angelo Russell to join Jeremy Lin in what should be a fun backcourt to watch. And for those who want to get a head start scouting the next generation of NBA stars, the City is going to host the men’s Big Ten, ACC and Big East tournaments in March. –nycgo.com staff

Photo: Alex Lopez

11. The City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival returns. It takes up all of February, with a different flavor every day of the day month. Details for 2018’s edition won’t be up until close to the time, but last year’s flavors included white chocolate, banana peel and something called “sunken treasure” that came with caramel coins. —JZ

12. The wine will flow. At least it will at Eataly. Their late December holiday wine event pairs three antipasti dishes with five wines perfect for your next celebration—that is, if you don’t drink it all beforehand. —CP

Pacificana. Photo: Kate Glicksberg

13. It’s the Year of the Dog. Celebrate the Lunar New Year (which begins February 16) whatever way you see fit; we like to eat at a Sunset Park Chinatown favorite. For dim sum, that’s Pacificana or East Harbor Seafood Palace; to find an unforgettable bowl of noodles, go for the crossing-the-bridge variety at Yun Nan Flavour Garden. Looking for an excellent all-around meal? Hit Lucky Eight. A number of neighborhood places offer special New Year’s menus. —AR

Westminster Dog Show. Photo: Jen Davis

14. And it's also the year of the dog in the sense that a dog can join you at a café. If you’re a dog person, you know that the law sometimes stands in the way of quality time with your four-legged friend. Boris and Horton, a café slated to open sometime this winter, has gone to the trouble of separating its food-service area from the rest of the space with a Plexiglas barrier—so you can eat and drink alongside your pooch even in the colder months. Also coming this season: the Westminster Dog Show. Some value the title “Best in Show,” but to us every dog is a winner. —JZ

Photo: Marley White

15. The whole City is a runway. Fall/Winter Fashion Week is a chance to see debut runway looks by the world’s top designers. Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and Victoria Beckham always put on stellar shows—but we’re most excited to see street-style looks. —CP


16. The heartland comes to art land. Nearly everyone is familiar with the painting American Gothic (or at least with spoofs of it): a farm couple wearing simple clothing and inscrutable expressions, the bespectacled man with a pitchfork in hand. Its creator, Grant Wood, hailed from the Midwest and produced a trove of art in a similarly rural vein, including illustrations for Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street. See for yourself at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, beginning March 2. —AR

17. We’ll wait no longer for the gift of sound and vision. He sold the world, fell to earth, jammed with the spiders from Mars—few artists covered more terrain (and crossed more cultural boundaries) than David Bowie. The musician-actor-tastemaker-digital-innovator will be the subject of a Brooklyn Museum exhibition come March 2; handwritten lyrics, wacky outfits, videos and all kinds of rare archival material will highlight the audiovisual extravaganza. —AR

18. There’s guaranteed snow in Central Park. Celebrate the season with Winter Jam, which takes place in late January. The event spreads a little artificial snow over Central Park for skiing, sledding, ice bowling and something called “artic golf.” In February, the Ice Festival is all about ice-carving contests and demonstrations, along with some drinking and socializing—including a silent-night disco. —BS

19. Club Cumming is here. Broadway and TV star Alan Cumming (Cabaret, The Good Wife) recently opened his very own real-life cabaret down in the East Village where he brings unusual talents to an intimate stage. The LGBTQ+ mini-club also features lively dancing on weekends. Depending on the night of the week, you can hear classical, jazz, show tunes or even celebrity karaoke—Paul McCartney and Emma Stone showed up for a surprise duet in September. —BS

20. You can take a subway named desire to catch a hot ticket to…something about a glass menagerie? Look, there’s a Tennessee Williams exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum that includes, among other things, the writer’s paintings, photos and private diaries. Check it out. —nycgo.com staff

21. We’ve got drag queens…on ice! Most of NYC’s ice rinks stay open long after the holiday season has ended. Bryant Park’s Winter Village hosts a few LGBTQ+ themed nights in February (called the Big Gay Ice Skate), which features ice-dancing drag acts and a rinkside lounge with seasonal drink specials. —BS