Ring in the New Year with these 10 artsy NYC events

Posted On Thu, December 21, 2017 By

Posted On Thu, December 21, 2017 By In Art nerd ny, Events, Features, holidays

Photo via Allison Marchant/Flickr

Close out 2017 with creativity at one of these arty parties or events. Look to Salvador Dali for the 3rd Annual Surrealist Ball, or channel the Great Gatsby at Hudson Terrace. If masquerade is your thing, check out Sleep No More’s sumptuous King’s Feast, the Truman Capote-inspired Black and White Ball, or get weird at the House of Yes. If you’re more laid back, have a classy evening of cocktails at Freemans or Raines Law Room. For the truly bold, brave the crowds to watch the ball drop in Times Square. And if New Year’s Eve isn’t your thing, celebrate New Year’s Day with a Victorian get together at the Merchant House Museum, or take a plunge into the ocean with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. Whatever you decide to do- have a happy and safe New Year!

1. The 3rd Annual Surrealist Ball
The Roxy Hotel, 2 Avenue of the Americas
Sunday, December 31, 9:00pm-late

For the third year, we are transforming the Roxy Hotel into a Surrealist Tableau! Expect an evening of Surrealist-inspired costumes, Jon Burgerman Photo Booth, dancing, and a live performance by David Johansen (New York Dolls, Buster Poindexter). DRESS: party attire, with a lobster strapped to your head. Tickets start at $149, and include premium open bar until 1:00am, performances, and party favors.

2. The 10th Annual Black & White Masquerade Ball
Soho Grand Hotel, 310 West Broadway
Sunday, December 31, 9:00pm-late

An ode to Truman Capote’s famous Grand Masked Ball from 1966, this black tie affair transforms the hotel lobby and bar into a decadent ode to Old New York. The champagne will flow, and the dancing will morph into a giant karaoke party hosted by Blind Dragon at 1am. DRESS: Black Tie and masks are mandatory, as is dancing. Tickets start at $199, and include premium open bar until 1:00am.

3. The Raines Law Room 17th Street New Year’s Eve Party
Raines Law Room, 48 West 17th Street
Sunday, December 31, 9:00pm- 2:00am

The elegant semi-secret, subterranean lounge is hosting a classy party gearing toward the cocktail lover seeking a civilized evening. DRESS: Black tie. Tickets are $250 and include open bar, hors d’oeuvres, specialty cocktails and champagne table service.

Sleep No More via Wiki Commons

4. The King’s Winter Masquerade at Sleep No More
The McKittrick Hotel, 530 West 27th Street
Sunday, December 31, 6:00pm- late

The masterminds behind Sleep No More offer a truly cinematic and experiential New Year’s Eve with an opulent and inclusive masked ball, where guests are invited to discover the hotel’s evocative hidden secrets and revel in endless performances. DRESS: Festive royal attire in gold, silver and black. Tickets are a huge range, from $150 for late night party to $995 for the ultimate Sleep No more Experience, King’s Feast, VIP Treatment and open bar.

5. Maiden Voyage of the Banzarbar
Freemans Restaurant, Freeman Alley
Sunday, December 31, 9:00pm-2:00am

If you want more of a cocktail party with good food vibe for New Year’s, head to Freemans Restaurant’s launch of their new second floor private bar, Banzarbar. DRESS: Cocktail attire. $180 ticket includes open bar including craft cocktails, raw bar, seafood specialties, charcuterie by Heritage Meats and canapés.

6. Gatsby’s House
Hudson Terrace, 621 West 46th Street
Sunday, December 31, 8:00pm- 4:00am

If clubbing is more your thing, get decked in your best 1920s glamour for Hudson Terrace’s Gatsby’s Ball. Mingle in the indoor or outdoor lounges, or head to the two giant dance floors, which will be playing EDM, TOP 40, & Open Format. DRESS: Festive nightclub. Tickets start at $119 and include five hours of open bar.

House of Yes, via Gene Han/Flickr

7. The Grand Ball by House of Yes
The 1896, 592 Johnson Avenue
Sunday, December 31, 9:00pm – really late

Spend the evening exploring five rooms of wonder, with DJs, live music and performances and a “champagne shower” at this party that lasts well into January 1 (no readmission after 8:00am). DRESS: Opulent and extravagant costumes in Black, White, Gold or Silver. Tickets start at $85 and include champagne toast at midnight (cash bar otherwise), lite bites, tons of music, fire spectacles, ice castles, ballroom dancing performance and aerialists.

8. Watch the Ball Drop in Times Square
Times Square
Sunday, December 31

If you’re willing to brave the crowds, there’s no other way to experience the tradition of New Year’s Eve than in Times Square. The day will formally open with a performance by the Tongliang Athletics Dragon Dance, followed by a yet to be announced roster of performances, and the midnight release of confetti made from thousands of wishes written by New Yorkers and visitors alike. This year, plan for extra security measures. DRESS: Warmly! And bring snacks. Tickets are free.

9. Come Calling on New Year’s Day
Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East 4th Street
Monday, January 1, 2:00-5:00pm

Paying calls on friends and family on New Year’s Day was a storied tradition of Old New York. Celebrate New Year’s Day with a tour of the house, 19th century readings about New Year’s Day celebrations, and punch and confectionery, and continue the 19th century tradition of renewing, reviving, and reaffirming friendships. Tickets are $20.

Photo via Kim/Flickr

10. Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Plunge
Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue, Coney Island
Monday, January 1, 1:00pm sharp

Another great New York tradition, starting the new year by freezing your buns off with a dip into the ocean! The day party kicks off at 1pm, and invites visitors to hang at the local bars and restaurants after the plunge. DRESS: Warm, bring extra clothes and shoes if you’re planning to swim. Tickets are free with a $25 suggested donation, swimmers MUST register in advance!


Lori Zimmer is a writer, curator, and founder of Art Nerd New York, an off-beat art history guide to the city. Lori is also the author of two books, The Art of Cardboard: Big Ideas for Creativity, Collaboration, Storytelling, and Reuse and The Art of Spray Paint. Follow her on Twitter @ArtNerdNY or Instagram @TheLoriZimmer

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