This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


Year of the Monkey

The Met will celebrate the Year of the Monkey with a full slate of programs on February 6

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
Saturday, February 6, free with recommended museum admission ($12-$25), 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

It will soon be 4713 on the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Monkey, a positive yang fire year that celebrates the monkey’s clever wit and inventive, playful nature. On February 6, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will host its annual Lunar New Year festival, with special events going on all day long honoring both China and Tibet. There will be live performances by Sesame Street puppeteers, students from the Music from China Youth Orchestra using traditional instruments, and Lotus Music & Dance in addition to a parade led by the Chinese Center on Long Island Lion Troupe. Art workshops include paper cutting with Master Lu, Monkey King mask making with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, iPad calligraphy with the China Institute, a hand-pulled noodle demonstration by Chef Zheng of Noodle Q, a martial arts demonstration by the New York Chinese Cultural Center, Chinese tea ceremonies with Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co., a participatory installation by artist Wu Jian’an, a reading by picture book author and illustrator Yangsook Choi, bilingual storytime, drawing stations, and more. There will also be an interactive digital fireworks display in the Great Hall by CHiKA and Calli Higgins. The museum is currently showing several exhibitions related to China and Tibet, including “Monkey Business: Celebrating the Year of the Monkey,” “The Arts of Nepal and Tibet: Recent Gifts,” “Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection,” “Chinese Lacquer: Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th-18th Century,” and “Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection.”


Bill Murray stars as a cynical weatherman reliving day over and over until he gets it right in GROUNDHOG DAY

GROUNDHOG DAY (Harold Ramis, 1993)
Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Saturday, February 6, $11, 11:45 am

“Well, what if there is no tomorrow?” asks weatherman Phil Connors in Groundhog Day. “There wasn’t one today.” Bill Murray gives one of his most nuanced performances in the 1993 comedy, ably directed by his Stripes cohort, SCTV alum Harold Ramis. Murray stars as cynical, smarmy, mean-spirited meteorologist Phil Connors, who has been sent by his local TV station to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities and report on whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow. He is joined by segment producer Rita (a radiant Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (the always funny Chris Elliott), who find him to be a pompous ass. But just like Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his hole every February 2, Phil Connors is soon getting out of bed reexperiencing the same exact day, given the chance over and over to change, for better or worse. Besides being downright hysterical, Groundhog Day has a lot of heart, making it the kind of movie you can watch, well, over and over again, still pulling each time for Connors (who, not coincidentally, has the same name as the famous groundhog) to do the right thing and become a worthwhile human being. It seems that Murray does some of his best work when paired with a small, furry creature, like when he desperately tried to catch and kill a too-smart gopher in Caddyshack. And be on the lookout for Michael Shannon in his film debut, as the wet-behind-the-ears groom at a wedding celebration. The Groundhog Day Film Feast screening at Nitehawk Cinema on Groundhog Day itself is sold out, but you can catch the movie there on February 6 at 11:45 am as part of the Williamsburg theater’s Brunch Screenings series, which continues February 13-14 with The Wizard of Oz and The Artist and February 20-21 with Charlotte’s Web and the Spoons, Toons & Booze Valentine’s Day Special.



The fifth annual New York City ChiliFest returns to Chelsea Market on January 31

Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Ave. between 15th & 16 Sts.
Sunday, January 31, $50-$70, doors open at 6:30

You can get ready for the February 7 Super Bowl by getting down and dirty with some badass chili at the annual NYC ChiliFest, taking place January 31 at Chelsea Market. The fifth annual competitive celebration of hot meat will feature dishes from Bark Hot Dogs, Untitled, La Palapa, Resto, Toro, El Vez, Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, Talde, Untamed Sandwiches, Fleisher’s Craft Butchery, Hill Country Barbecue, Fletcher’s Barbecue Brooklyn, Hecho en Dumbo, Littleneck, Glady’s, Mŏkbar, El Original, Los Tacos No.1, Speedy Romeo, Bar Truman, the Brooklyn Star, and Chelsea Creamline, battling it out for the Golden Chili Mug. The food, which uses meat from responsibly raised animals provided by Dickson’s Farmstand Meat, can be washed down with four specially selected Samuel Adams beers or Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye cocktails from New York Distilling Company. Judging it all will be such chefs, entrepreneurs, and food writers as Adam Sachs, Martin Tessarzik, Brady Lowe, Bill Telepan, Lior Lev Sercarz, Alex Raij, and Catherine Lederer. In addition, there will be live music by Brooklyn band the Defibulators. The basic ticket price is $50, which comes with unlimited chili; for $60, you get unlimited booze as well, and for $70, you get the chili, the booze, and a copy of the Chelsea Market Cookbook. Ticket proceeds benefit Wellness in the Schools, whose mission is to “inspire healthy eating, environmental awareness, and fitness as a way of life for kids in public schools.”


Angie Mar of the Beatrice Inn is among five chefs who will be battling it out at Cochon 555 on Sunday

Angie Mar of the Beatrice Inn is among five chefs who will be battling it out at Cochon 555 on Sunday

Weylin B. Seymour’s
175 Broadway at Driggs Ave., Brooklyn
Sunday, January 24, $125 (5:00 entry) - $200 (4:00 VIP entry)

New York City turns into New Porc City for the Cochon 555 culinary competition, in which five chefs — Justin Smillie of Upland, Hillary Sterling of Vic’s, Michael Poiarkoff of Vinegar Hill House, Angie Mar of the Beatrice Inn, and Danny Mena of Hecho en Dumbo — will battle it out over more than three dozen dishes that feature locally raised heritage breed pigs, seeking to become the Prince or Princess of Porc. The two thousand pounds of pig will be paired with wine, beer, and other spirits; there will also be such pop-up eateries and drinkeries as TIKI Isle, Luxe Butter Bar, Ramen Shop, Wines of Germany, and Swine & Sweets. The winemakers pouring potent potables are Abe Schoener Pax Mahle, Rajat Parr, Jeff Pisoni, and Paul Draper. Other highlights include a Welcome Punch Reception, an Artisan Cheese Bar, a Butcher Shop (with Jocelyn Guest and Erika Nakamura), a Vermouth Experience, a TarTare Bar (with Francis Derby), Seafood Shelf, Mezcal Expressions, and the Perfect Manhattan Bar, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Piggy Bank, which states, “By breaking down all the barriers and flattening out the distribution of knowledge, we will advance the mission of creating an ecosystem of improved education and knowledge sharing required by emerging farms to succeed.” General admission to Cochon 555 is $100 for 5:00 entry, but $200 gets you in an hour early so you can get first dibs on the food while also meeting the chefs and judges. The event, with fundraiser emcee Billy Harris, will culminate in an awards ceremony, followed by an after-party. In addition, the Piggy Bank Dinner Series will host an Asian Speakeasy late-night pop-up dinner at Hecho en Dumbo on January 22 ($130), with Chinese, Sichuan, Korean, Thai, and Japanese dishes.


Restaurateurs prepare for huge crowds at Choice Eats 2015 (photo by tw-ny/ees)

Restaurateurs prepare for huge crowds at Choice Eats 2015 (photo by tw-ny/ees)

Who: More than fifty restaurants, in addition to beverage purveyors and sweets dispensers
What: Village Voice ninth annual Choice Eats tasting event
Where: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
When: Friday, March 11, $70-$99 (includes souvenir tasting glass), 6:00 – 10:00 (21 and older only)
Why: Tickets are now on sale to the ninth annual Choice Eats, taking place March 11 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. More than fifty restaurants will be participating in the festivities, serving signature dishes; the list so far includes Awadh, Broken Spoke Rotisserie, Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, Fonda, the Handpulled Noodle, Kuma Inn, Le Fond, Luke’s Lobster, Mable’s Smokehouse, the Meatball Shop, Meat Hook Sandwich Shop, No. 7 Veggie, Queens Comfort, Raclette, Socarrat Paella Bar, StreetsBK, Swine, and Veselka, with many more to be announced. But you don’t want to wait for the final lineup, as tickets could very well be gone by then. General admission is $70 for 7:00 entry; for $85, you can get in at 6:30, while $99 earns you VIP status, with 6:00 entry, a gift bag, and access to the VIP Lounge with private bar, snacks, and bathroom access.


restaurant week

Who: More than three hundred restaurants throughout the city
What: Winter Restaurant Week
Where: All five boroughs
When: January 18 - February 5, three-course lunches $25, three-course dinners $38
Why: Reservation lines are now open for Winter Restaurant Week, in which hundreds of New York City eateries offer three-course prix-fixe lunches for $25 and dinners for $38. (Some restaurants do only lunch or dinner, and others offer the deals only on weekdays.) Many of the prix-fixe menus are available online so you know just what you’re in for. Among the many restaurants are such favorites as ‘21 Club,’ ABC Kitchen, American Cut, Asia de Cuba, Aureole, Bann, Barbetta, Blue Smoke, Casa Lever, Charlie Palmer Steak, Circo, Darbar, DB Bistro Moderne, Delmonico’s, Dos Caminos, Esca, Estiatorio Milos, Gotham Bar & Grill, Haru, i Trulli, Il Mulino, Le Cirque, Les Halles, Mercer Kitchen, Monkey Bar, Nice Matin, Nobu, Red Rooster, Rosa Mexicano, the Russian Tea Room, Shun Lee Palace, the Strip House, Tao, Tribeca Grill, Victor’s Cafe, and the Water Club. As a bonus, if you register your American Express card, you will receive $5 back each time you charge at least $25 at a participating restaurant.


Gensler’s What’s U, Doc? Canstructure consists of 5,932 cans (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Gensler’s “What’s Up, Doc?” CANsculpture consists of 5,932 cans (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Brookfield Place
250 Vesey St.
Daily through November 16, free, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
canstruction nyc slideshow

The twenty-third annual Canstruction NYC Design/Build Competition is under way at Brookfield Place, although they’re a little trickier to find this year than in the past, when they lined the Winter Garden. The architectural battle and fundraiser — visitors are asked to bring a can of high-quality, nonperishable food to donate — features more than two dozen creative structures built by teams referencing the international hunger crisis. As always, the overall construction is best viewed through a camera, but get up close and personal with the naked eye to see how ingenious many of the intricate designs are. You can vote for your favorite here. Among the impressive competitors are HOK’s “Presidential CANdidates,” Thornton Tomasetti’s “Wall Street Charging Bull,” Severud Associates’ “Spanning the Hungry Rapids,” GACE Consulting Engineers’ “The Butterfly Effect: How Far CAN Kindness Go?,” RAND Engineering & Architecture’s “Pipe Down Hunger,” and WJE Engineers & Architects’ “Yoshi’s Soup’er Mission,” although it will be mighty tough to beat out Gensler’s “What’s Up, Doc?” At the end of the competition, the structures are taken apart and the cans donated to City Harvest, so come on by, bring some nonperishable items, and help CANstruction raise upwards of 100,000 cans of food. On November 12 from 12 noon to 3:00, Jenny McCoy, a chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education and author of Desserts for Every Season, will host a free presentation and tasting (of sweets made with canned food) next to Hudson Eats, right near several of the CANsculptures.