January in New York. What to do, what do…
I know I may regret saying this (what, with the impending polar vortex sweeping the country and all) but I love New York in the winter. Once fall fades away and the holiday buzz wears off, there’s just something so romantic about the cold, quieter streets of the city. Less tourists. Less parties. Less hustle. It’s as if the tempo has finally slowed down and we are given permission to truly relax. Want to go to sleep at 9PM on a Friday? Everyone else is doing it! Have an urge to start drinking mulled wine at 2PM on Saturday? Well, you’ve got to stay warm somehow! Feel like trading out your gym session for a walk in the snow? Totally works.
For locals and tourists alike, here are my top 5 ways to get your kicks in January in NYC.
Ride the Subway with No Pants on | January 11th
In case you’d like to entertain the little kid inside you or exercise your nudist tendencies, January 11th will be the 14th annual No Pants Subway Ride. Yes, this is a real thing – it started in 2002 and has grown into an international celebration of silliness. Subway riders board the train individually, sans pants, simply going about their daily business and acting as if nothing is out of the ordinary. Warning: It’s January. You will freeze your buns off. Second Warning: you may get arrested, as has happened in the past. Luckily, if this does happen you won’t actually be charged. Why? Well, because this is New York and there is absolutely nothing illegal about wearing no pants here (see: The Naked Cowboy). Welcome aboard!
Have Some Hot Cocoa
Let's continue the entertain-the-little-kid-inside-you trend, shall we? Time Out has an entire list of the best hot cocoas in town. And yes/duh, many are spiked. I recently indulged in the salted-caramel, bourbon-spiked hot chocolate from Acme in Noho and ohemgee, it was fucking delicious. So, when the polar vortex inevitably hits and you’re forced out of your apartment for a meet-up, a meeting, or that thing called work, why not piggyback it with a hot-cocoa date? Pretty sure spiked hot chocolate is what being an adult is really all about.
Play in the Snow at Winter Jam |January 24th
New York is renowned for being over the top and naturally this trait applies to our playtime as well. Winter Jam is essentially a once-a-year gauranteed snow day. No, you can't get off from work unfortunately (after all, this is still New York). But you are gauranteed snow and fun. This free winter sports festival takes place in Central Park. With sponsors like Mountain Creek and Red Bull, participants are able to ski, snowboard and snowshoe across a pretty wide spread of faux-snow-filled land - all as long as they sign a waiver. It's a great excuse to get outside and into the park for a change and get some of that aforementioned hot cocoa that's bound to be at one of the vendors.
Head to Jazz Fest | January 8th-10th
Jazz Fest isn't only for New Orleans. While it may not be as vast of a production, the 11th annual NYC Winter Jazz Fest is no joke. This year's line-up includes Marc Ribot & The Young Philadelphians, So Percussion, Robert Glasper Trio, Kneebody + Daedelus, Strange and Beautiful: The Music of John Lurie and The Lounge Lizards. Taking place at 10 different venues throughout the city, Jazz Fest is as much of a cultural tour as it music tour. Tickets and festival passes
Do Some Drinkin'
In case you were concerned (as opposed to relieved) about the city's declining social scene during wintertime, have no fear/you should know better. On January 31st, you can check out the International Great Beer Tasting which grants you access to over 50 breweries from around the globe and plenty of food vendors for a mere $42-$60, depending on when you buy it. You just may need to factor in the cost of a DD since it's in the meadowlands. If you're more of a wino, I've got good news: January also holds a festival for you and it's IN the city for not one but TWO days. Check out Pinot Days at City Winery (a place which I once raved about here) and snag tickets for $75-$120. And if you don't prefer wine or beer, you must be into bourbon (sorry, Vodka, you're not trendy anymore) in which case you should most definitely hit up Porkapalooza on January 24th down in Chelsea.