Gothamist Winter Guide: 20 Ways To Heat Up December

<br/><br/>Wait, what? Somehow all of a sudden staring down the icy barrel of 2016. Yes, December is here and while we can't lay claim to snowbanks and <a href="">frozen fountains</a> just yet, we can still make the most of it all. On deck in this month's guide are punk holiday parties, yuletide film classics, savory food blowouts, and the wildest New Year's disco night New York City has seen in decades.

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<br/><br/>Amidst the rapidly crashing waves of our new media landscape, the writings of Gay Talese still point the way, like a lighthouse whose beacon never falters. Cunning, funny, and eminently dapper, the legendary New York Times and Esquire journalist effectively invented the style of narrative longform journalism that still prevails in magazines and blogs alike. Long before you were tweeting pithy takes on thinkpieces you never even finished, Talese was out there pounding the pavement, reporting the real deal in airtight prose.<br/><br/><strong><a href="">Talese will speak at The Strand early this month</a></strong>, specifically about his 1966 masterpiece, <em>Sinatra Has a Cold</em>, which tells the story of an unwell, recalcitrant Ol' Blue Eyes and is an absolutely phenomenal read. Talese's story has been republished in a new edition by Taschen that features original photography and facsimile recreations of the original Esquire manuscripts, along with Talese's own old notes.<br/><br/><em>Thursday, December 3rd, 7 p.m. // <a href="">The Strand Bookstore</a>, 828 Broadway, Manhattan // <a href="">Requires purchase of Sinatra Has A Cold</a><em></em></em>

<br/><br/>As the temperature dips, some might turn to thicker jackets or a cuffing season lover for warmth. But if you're like us, your body is ready for the warm embrace of starchy foods and there's no better time and place to get some than the <strong><a href="">7th annual Latke Festival</a></strong>. As in past years, chefs will compete to determine who can make the most of the little fried potato plates, and if the results are anything like <a href="">last year's showings of Beef Carpaccio and Salmon Roe creations</a> then we're all going to have some happy holidays indeed. Proceeds will benefit the <a href="">Sylvia Center</a>, which promotes healthy eating amongst children, and with chefs from The Vanderbilt, Jimmy's No. 43, Veselka, and Toloache all on hand, you'll be doing good while you soak up all the all the latke love.<br/><br/><em>Monday, December 7th, 6:30 - 9 p.m. // <a href="">Metropolitan Pavilion</a>, 125 W 18th Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Tickets $65-100</a><em></em></em>

<br/><br/>Getting tired of watching the sun dip behind the skyline and thinking "There goes another day with no ancient Greek sex drama, what a waste!"? Well you're in luck: the classical myth of Hylas gets a risque modern remix in <a href=""><strong>BAM's <em>Alas The Nymphs</em></strong></a>, a new theater production that boasts both "psychosexual intrigue, and dance-theater-cum-art-installation." The story is one of an argonaut warrior abducted by water nymphs, and with new direction from John Jahnke's <a href="">Hotel Savant</a>, the story has become a whole new kind of experience. The play's original score was composed by Austrian electro genius <a href="">Fennesz</a>, which means this is guaranteed to deliver a new and ethereal rush. <br/><br/><em>Wednesday-Saturday, December 9-12th; 7:30 p.m.<em> // <a href="">BAM Fisher</a>, 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets $25</a></em></em>

<br/><br/>Tucked into the deep echoes of Nick Hakim's songs is a heart that's eager to give and unafraid to break. The Brooklyn singer-songwriter makes music that draws from the folk of Jeff Buckley and Sufjan Stevens, along with the jazz-tinged soul of Marvin Gaye and dense vocal layering a la Bon Iver. <strong><a href="">Hakim plays The Mercury Lounge this month</a></strong>; if you're looking for a break from the city's staccato beat, consider hiding out with him a while.<br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/><em>Thursday, December 10th, 7:30 p.m. // <a href="">The Mercury Lounge</a>, 217 East Houston Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Tickets $10</a> <em></em></em>

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<br/><br/>If you've never made a wintry trip up to the New York Botanical Garden, there's no better time than now, given that their <strong><a href="">Holiday Train Show</a></strong> is already in full swing and with it come plenty of hard-swigging <strong><a href="">Bar Car Nights</a></strong>. Celebrating its 15th year, the train show stretches across almost a half mile of model track, featuring tiny structures and landscapes packed with nostalgic, heart-warming detail. The toy engines wind their way through replicas of familiar NYC landmarks, and best of all the holiday cheer takes place amidst an already lush greenhouse.<br/><br/>But what's this about a Bar Car? Yes, on a few very special December weekend evenings the NYBG is adults-only and features (limited) complimentary cocktails, outdoor dining, indoor jazz, and much more. The model trains will also be running on these evenings, and for a sample of what it all looks like, check out <a href="">our own preview gallery</a> and <a href="">train-powered video</a>.<br/><br/><em>Runs through January 18, 2016 // New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx // <a href="">Ticket info here</a><em></em></em>

(Sai Mokhtari/Gothamist)

<br/><br/>All of your punk rock burlesque jingle bell dreams are about to come true. It's back: after a two year break the <strong>House of Yes Xmas Spectacular</strong> will be going down, glittering heels and all, at the arts collective's new Bushwick space. It's sure to be the craziest spectacle of the season, and the four-night run is doubling as a grand re-opening and will be loaded with fire-breathers, naughty dancers, and acrobatic angels swinging from the ceiling (want proof? check out <a href="">past performances</a>). Face it, you're going to be stuck in the suburbs somewhere with your family on December 25th, drinking box wine and struggling to cope as your Mom blasts Johnny Mathis on repeat; better get your fix of the DIY weird stuff in advance to even things out.<br/><br/><em>Thursday-Sunday, December 10-13th; 7-10 p.m. // <a href="">House of Yes</a>, 408 jefferson Street, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets $30-50</a><em></em></em>

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<br/><br/>As <a href="">Gothamist's own commenters have been quick to point out</a>, eggnog is not for everyone. Which, sure, getting boozy on spiced cream is the sort of questionable behavior that leads to fun <strike>sleigh</strike> ambulance rides for emergency stomach pumping. But if you're able to retain some self-control and want to try something new, <a href=""><strong>The Bronx Museum is serving up coquito</strong></a>, a Puerto Rican holiday drink of sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, and clove. Also rum. Plenty of rum. At the museum's Coqito Masters Qualifying Round you'll be able to sample different varieties and help determine the city's top-tier coquito concoctors; IDs are required but the entire night is free and open to the public.<br/><br/><em>Thursday, December 10th, 6:30 - 9 p.m. // <a href="">The Bronx Museum</a>, 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx // <a href="">Free</a><em></em></em>

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<br/><br/>Two of film's most brilliant and unsettling auteurs collide during <strong><a href="">Lincoln Center's David Lynch/Jacques Rivette double retrospective</a></strong>.The series will be made up of seven pairings like <em>Blue Velvet</em> and <em>The Duchess of Langeais</em>, as well as <em>Mulholland Drive</em> and <em>Celine and Julie Go Boating</em>, creating double-feature evenings filled with enigma and dark plot twists that will give you more chills than any blizzard ever could. <br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/><em>Friday-Tuesday, December 11-22, <a href="">Times vary</a> // <a href="">Walter Reade Theater</a>, 165 West 65th Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Tickets $9-14</a> <em></em></em>

<br/><br/>If David Lynch's brand of banal and grotesque Americana isn't exactly your thing, one of the most enduring, heartwarming films ever made will be screening around the clock. Yes,<strong><a href=""> IFC Center is once again bringing back <em>It's A Wonderful Life</em></a></strong>, the Frank Capra classic that was originally considered a failure when it bombed at the box office in 1946. Since then it's gone on to become essential holiday viewing, and if you've only ever seen it on your 13" Macbook screen with seven other tabs open, now's the time to set things right. <br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/><em>Showing December 11-25, <a href="">Showtimes vary</a> // <a href="">IFC Center</a>, 323 6th Avenue, Manhattan // <a href=";movie_id=3836&amp;rdate=12/11/2015">Tickets $9-14</a><em></em></em>

<br/><br/>Fuck the patriarchy; turn the amps up to 11. Original Pacific Northwest Riot grrrls <strong><a href="">Sleater-Kinney will take to the Kings Theatre stage</a></strong> this month to perform tracks off their fantastic <em>No Cities To Love</em> LP, along with plenty of their classic 90s punk anthems. When the trio played Terminal 5 earlier this year it went down as a borderline-historic rock show; there's no reason to expect this one to be any different.<br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/><em>Saturday, December 12th, 7:30 p.m. // <a href="">Kings Theatre</a>, 1027 Flatbush Ave // <a href="">Tickets $37.50</a><em></em></em>

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<br/><br/>We've all got a spare jacket or two in the back of our closet or the bottom of our storage bin. It sits there collecting dust and keeping precisely no one warm while we cling to the foolish notion that we'll wear it again. Someday. But the truth is, we won't, and those extra unused layers could be keeping someone else warm. Bring yours to the <strong><a href="">New York Cares Coat Drive</a></strong> and trust that they'll go to either a homeless or financially hard-up person who really needs it. There are more than 280 drop-off locations all across the city, and donating is guaranteed to come along with the genuinely good feeling of helping someone through the hardest part of the year.<br/><br/><em>Coat Drive runs throughout all of December //<a href=""> Drop off locations here</a> // Free<em></em></em>

<br/><br/>Sweets of all shapes and sprinkle varieties will be dished up at the beautiful <a href="">Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club</a> for the annual <strong><a href="">Brooklyn Cookie Takedown</a></strong> competition, a festival that aims to crown the best sugary bite of the year. Gingerbread, snickerdoodle, chocolate drop, and classic sugar varieties will all be there, fresh out of the oven. Organizers are hyping it up to be a "massive orgy" of "endless cookies" (yes please!) and as with other food takedowns, anyone who attends will be doing their part to crown a champion.<br/><br/><em>Sunday, December 13th, 12-2 p.m. // <a href="">Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club</a>, 514 Union Street, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets $20</a><em></em></em>

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<br/><br/>Join up with the ultimate guerrilla boombox army during <strong><a href="">Unsilent Night</a></strong>, a cooperative performance art piece that's part organized riot, part roving block party. Each year the man behind it all, Phil Kline, distributes four pieces of music that are meant to be loaded into a ghettoblaster (or bluetooth speaker) and held up high, and then in perfect sync Kline and his crowd march from across lower Manhattan. There'll be a limited number of boomboxes on hand for those who live an earbuds-only life, and each track is meant to blend fluidly to create a gorgeous whole. Adjust your bass and treble accordingly.<br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"></iframe><em>Saturday, December 12th, 6:45 p.m. // Washington Square Park, Manhattan // <a href="">Free music files here</a><em></em></em>

<br/><br/>It's customary for malnourished literary types to gather together in cold weather for precious warmth, but they'll also be reading to one another at <a href=""><strong>Housing Works Bookstore Cafe's<em> It's Too Cold For This</em></strong></a>. A supplement to the cafe's tradition of reading Dickens's A Christmas Carol from cover to cover, the night of writerly hijinks and tales of Christmas mishaps will feature Melissa Febos, Alexandra Kleeman, Alex Mar, Lincoln Michel, and Angel Nafis. It's all being put on by <a href="">The Rumpus</a> and <a href="">Electric Literature</a>.<br/><br/><em>Tuesday, December 15th, 7 p.m. // <a href="">Housing Works Bookstore Cafe</a>, 126 Crosby Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Free</a><em></em></em>

<br/><br/>Sure, freelance work has its share of upsides (Never showering! Artsy piles of take out boxes!) but not having an office means not having an office holiday party, and to miss out that is a terrible thing indeed. Thus the genius of <strong><a href="">Littlefield's Fifth Annual No Office Holiday Party</a></strong>, a night that encourages freelancers to get together and get up to no good beneath tinsel and boughs of holly. So whether you're jobless, job-searching or just reveling in the free agent creative life, drop by; there'll be a live karaoke band, DJs spinning tunes, a photobooth, drink specials, and a very special "Christmas bonus." Ka-ching!<br/><br/><em>Thursday, December 17th, 7 p.m. // <a href="">Littlefield</a>, 622 Degraw Street, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets $5-8</a><em></em></em>

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<br/><br/>Dust off your dress robes and fire off a few invitations by owl, because a bonafide <strong>Harry Potter-inspired Yule Ball is going down at The Bell House</strong>. Costumes and magical mischief are strongly encouraged, and performances from The Potter Puppet Pals, Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, and Tonks and the Aurors will prove that Wizard-inspired bands both rock hard and struggle when it comes to finding original name formats.<br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/><em>Saturday, December 19th, 4 p.m. // <a href="">The Bell House</a>, 149 7th Street, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets $20</a><em></em></em>

<br/><br/><em>Bread Givers</em>, the story of one young immigrant woman finding her identity as a Jewish American in Manhattan, has been both lauded and nearly-forgotten since it was published 90 years ago. Written by Anzia Yezierska, the novel was championed by historian Alice Kessler-Harris in the 1970s and will be the center of a <strong><a href="">new Tenement Museum talk</a> </strong>this month. Kessler-Harris herself will be on hand to discuss the book's influence on the crossroad of feminism and immigrant life; plan to hear from The New York Times' Anna Holmes, Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Immigration, Margaret Chin, Hunter College sociologist, and Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York.<br/><br/><em>Wednesday, December 9th, 6:30 p.m. // <a href="">Tenement Museum</a>, 103 Orchard Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Free</a><em></em></em>

<br/><br/>Zombies, video games, and gnomes that kill. These are just a few of the plot devices at work in <strong><em><a href=";show_id=167">Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom</a></em></strong>, a play that will end its run at the Flea Theater this month and is being lauded as "<a href="">Part 'Stepford Wives,' part 'Shaun of the Dead</a>.'" It's suburban boredom gone bad, as kids play an online game that pits monsters against, yes, garden gnomes in a story that surpasses its goofy premise to offer up real, disturbing thrills as the lines between simulation and reality begin to blur. Film director Joel Schumacher has been directing the New York run, and with only a few weeks remaining, you'll want to get your tickets quick.<br/><br/><em>Ends Sunday, December 20th; <a href=";show_id=167">Showtimes here</a> // <a href="">The Flea Theater</a>, 41 White Street, Manhattan // <a href=";show_id=167">Tickets $15-105</a><em></em></em>

<br/><br/>New Year's Eve is important, if only because it's the biggest moment each year in which human race collectively shuts up and acknowledges time's passing. For a free thrill, bundle up and head to <strong><a href="">Prospect Park, where a salvo of fireworks will help you greet 2016</a></strong>. In our own experience with the show, the best views are along the park's West Drive and near Grand Army Plaza, so get there early to snag a spot and toast to a bright new hopeful year (thermos recommended).<br/><br/><em>Thursday, December 31st, 11 p.m.-12:30 p.m. // <a href="">Prospect Park</a>, Brooklyn // <a href="">Free</a><em></em></em>

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<br/><br/>One of the unsung legends of New York's early club days, DJ Nicky Siano will take over a massive Coney Island warehouse in what will be probably the strangest, flashiest, and funkiest New Year's celebration the city has ever seen. Right off the bat it should be said: tickets to this thing are not cheap, but they do include champagne toast, free food, and the chance to boogie to the sound of vintage disco, rare electronica, and the crossover soul that would eventually go on to inspire hip-hop. Siano has been doing this for decades, and you can count on some of the older, wiser clubbers to be there, letting loose for old time's sake. Plan for balloons, glitter, and a raging dance party that won't stop until 6 a.m.<br/><br/><em>Thursday, December 31st, 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. // <a href="">El Dorado Auto Scooter</a> 1216 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets $100</a><em></em></em>