Four Wild & Crazy NYC Events To Kick Off 2016
You might think that the big, fun public events ease up once the city's manic holiday season is over, but nah. Not only does the city never sleep, it also doesn't tire of hosting random, joyful explosions of crazy behavior that you can either participate in, spectate from a safe distance, or–and this is what really makes the city great–completely ignore and go about your day, your life being not even a little bit affected by other people having fun. So here's hoping your 2016 starts out exactly the way you want it to… and if what you want is to snowboard in Central Park, take off your pants on the 6 train, or tear through the streets of Brooklyn in a shopping cart well, we've got you covered here.
Luminaries Installation, Now! (Through January 10th)
Designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group, the Luminaries Installation features some 650 LED lanterns, all soaring like some massive flock of brightly-plumed birds not too far above your head. And Luminaries is not just some fixed display. Place your hands on any one of the Wishing Stations placed about the atrium, and (silently or not) reveal your deepest desires. When you release your hold of the screen, the lanterns will pulse and change in a colorful interpretation of your wish. Or not really, but it's fun to think about. No matter what, for every wish we make Arts Brookfield will donate $1 (up to $25,000) to the Grammy Foundation's "Grammy in the Schools" program, which is designed to bring music education and even real-world industry experience to high school kids. The Luminaries is located within the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City, and will be on display through January 10.
No Pants Subway Ride, January 10th
This will be 15th year in a row for the No Pants Subway Ride, an event that the great Charlie Todd and his peerless Improv Everywhere crew organized that has become a huge "prank": people of all description enter the NYC subway system, remove their pants, and ride around as if nothing is unusual. And these days there are hundreds of participants, launching from stations all over the city, and convening in Union Square for a big party. You would think after 14 years of ever-increasing publicity that everyone would know about this already, but most subway riders are still pretty surprised, usually delightfully so, when they look up and see all these bare legs (and almost bare butts) in January.
Winter Jam in Central Park, January 23rd
You asked for Winter, and it’s finally here. The annual Central Park Winter Jam is always a hit (for kids and adults!) not to mention a great way to shake off that extra “holiday joy.” For four hours on Saturday afternoon, the ultimate snow day kicks off. Presented by the NYC Parks, Lake Placid, I Love NY & I Ski NY the Bandshell Area on 72nd Street will transform into a winter wonderland including skiing and snowboarding demos and lessons, snowshoeing races, and a sledding and tubing run It's all free, except for the food, though they'll probably hand out hot chocolate.
Idiotarod XII, January 30th
Another surprisingly long-lived bit of wintertime fun and mayhem here in New York City is the Idiotarod, which is kind of like Alaska's legendary dog race, the Iditoroad, but for, uh, idiots. Basically you assemble a team, procure a shopping cart, dress up in some sort of wacky/sexy/scary/meme-y theme, and run through the streets of Brooklyn, stopping at five or six bars along the way. It's all very organized (there are specific tasks at each bar that you must fulfill), but cheating, bribery, and sabotage are encouraged. Not for thin of skin or faint of heart–there is also a ton of running involved–but it's one of my favorite days of the year.