New Year’s Eve at Coney Island (image via

 Last Night in Grand Paradise

Roxanne Kidd in The Grand Paradise (photo by Darial Sneed)

When: Ends Saturday, December 31 ($135–150; rush tickets available through mailing list)
Where: 383 Troutman Street (Bushwick, Brooklyn)

This is the last week to plunge into the 1970s New Age world created by Third Rail Projects in a Bushwick warehouse. The Grand Paradise is an immersive theater exploration where you might find yourself talking with mermaids in a grotto or at a disco that ends in a mirror-ball chamber, all the while guided by dancers into a convoluted narrative of transformation. While every night at the faux tropical resort (and its after-hours shipwreck-themed bar) has the potential for magic, on New Year’s Eve the cast will cap off their final performance with a midnight celebration. —Allison Meier

 BookCourt’s Last Day

When: Saturday, December 31
Where: BookCourt (163 Court Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn)

Just when we all thought 2016 couldn’t get any worse, the owners of BookCourt went and announced that they were retiring and closing up shop. One of Brooklyn’s most beloved independent bookstores, host to countless launches and readings, BookCourt has been a fixture of the borough’s lit scene for 35 years. Even with a new store coming to fill the gap, it will be sorely missed. Go buy a book, or two or five, on the store’s last day.

 Five Happy Hours

When: Saturday, December 31, 1pm ($15)
Where: Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, Queens)

I’m a sucker for spending holidays at marathon screenings or performances, and New Year’s seems like an especially good time to push your artistic limits and try something new. Happy Hour, a Japanese film I haven’t seen, runs five hours and follows four thirtysomething women as they embark on a weekend trip. It’s so rare to see so much artistic time and space devoted to female friendship that I’d go see this film even without the enthusiastic recommendation of New Yorker critic Richard Brody, who calls it “extraordinary both in its artistry and in its dimensions.”

 Party Through Time and Space

When: Saturday, December 31, 9pm ($75–140)
Where: Secret Brooklyn warehouse

If you’re looking to dance and drink away the awfulness of 2016 at a massive party, this is one to consider. BangOn!NYC is throwing a massive New Year’s Eve bash inside an unknown warehouse. Despite the dubious theme of “Time & Space,” it promises to deliver a lot: an “expansive solar system installation,” fire-breathers, aerialists, zip-line performances, a silent disco, rides and slides, food vendors, plus two stages for music. Party like it’s … 1933?

Image for New World Over (image via

 New World Over

When: Saturday, December 31, 10pm ($15)
Where: Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Avenue, Ridgewood, Queens)

If, on the other hand, you’re feeling sobered by this year’s disasters, but determined to enjoy your New Year’s Eve anyway, this is likely the party for you. Silent Barn is hosting New World Over, which it describes as “an apocalyptic kind of hopeful New Years [sic] party” featuring video art, installations, live music, and DJs from New York, Philly, and Baltimore. “This is a call to meet you new leaders,” proclaims the party image. Here’s to finding ourselves in 2017.

 Coney Island New Year’s

When: Wednesday, December 31, 6pm
Where: Coney Island (Brooklyn)

Fireworks in Prospect Park are the more traditional Brooklyn New Year’s Eve choice, but for the third year in a row, Coney Island is throwing down. Head to the amusement park and boardwalk for a night of free rides — on the Thunderbolt, carousel, and Wonder Wheel, starting at various times — free ice skating, sideshow performances, and fireworks, plus reduced admission to the New York Aquarium. For those who prefer to visit the seaside on January 1 to witness the Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim, Wonder Wheel rides will still be discounted, at $5.

New Art in the New Subway

When: Sunday, January 1, noon
Where: Under Second Avenue at 63rd, 72nd, 86th, and 96th streets (Upper East Side, Manhattan)

After nearly a century of planning, lobbying, blasting, and building, the first leg of the Second Avenue Subway opens today, extending the Q line all the way up to 96th Street. Each of the new stations and platforms has its own ambitious, site-specific art installation — making up what Governor Andrew Cuomo called the “largest public art installation in NY history” — with Jean Shin at 63rd Street, Vik Muniz at 72nd Street, Chuck Close at 86th Street, and Sarah Sze at 96th Street. Ring in the new year by getting acquainted with the city’s newest subway stations and public artworks. —Benjamin Sutton

Jennifer Bartlett #Marathon2016

A photo posted by The Poetry Project (@poetry_project) on

 Poetry Marathon

When: Sunday, January 1, 3pm–Monday, January 2, 2am ($25)
Where: The Poetry Project at St Mark’s Church (131 E 10th Street, East Village, Manhattan)

The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church has rung in the last 42 new years with a benefit marathon reading. It’s a vital New York tradition, left over from the days when the East Village was a haven for artists, and most of the NYU students who live there now hadn’t yet been born. “We have always envisioned the poet-in-society as one who restores meaning to language,” says the announcement for the event, which will feature some 150 readers. “We believe a large part of the fight against demagoguery and hate occurs on the premises of language.” Amen.

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art and politics but has also been known to write at length about cats. She won the 2014 Best...