8 Things to Do With Your Kids in N.Y.C. This Weekend
Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
IT’S HOLIDAY TIME IN PALEYLAND at the Paley Center for Media (Jan. 3, noon-8 p.m.; Jan. 4-6, noon-6 p.m.). Wish you could hang on to the holiday spirit just a little while longer? Whatever traditions you just celebrated are still being observed at the Paley Center, where continuous daily screenings of family television specials continue through Sunday, along with crafts and games. As well as classics like “Frosty the Snowman,” “A Rugrats Kwanzaa,” “A Rugrats Chanukah” and “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the center this year is offering themed video games and virtual-reality experiences. Everything is free, including the cocoa.
JUST KIDDING: THE OKEE DOKEE BROTHERS at Symphony Space (Jan. 5, 11 a.m.). Winter may have fewer fans than other seasons, but it’s got two unabashed cheerleaders in Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing, the duo known as the Okee Dokee Brothers. These Grammy Award-winning artists, who specialize in folk music and Americana, will sing of cold-weather joys at this Just Kidding series concert, which celebrates their latest album, “Winterland.” In addition to extolling the fun of ice fishing, dog sledding and encountering a friendly yeti, the songs on the new release deal with more serious subjects, like life cycles and tolerance. Why, after all, does even a snowman get a gender role?
MAYERS CONSULTING ALL-AGES MUSIC SHOWCASE at Drom (Jan. 6, noon-4 p.m.). New York is always a world-class center for entertainment, and it’s especially so this weekend, when the Association of Performing Arts Professionals holds its annual conference. That means that those who present theater, music and other acts onstage will be attending artist showcases, and while they’re deciding on their favorite performers at this East Village club on Sunday, your kids can, too. Of the nine eclectic acts scheduled — all clients of Mayers Consulting, an artist-management company — three have earned nominations for the 2019 Grammy Award for best children’s album: Lucy Kalantari & the Jazz Cats, who are inspired by the Roaring Twenties; the Pop Ups, known for mixing science, puppetry and rock; and Falu’s Bazaar, which introduces young listeners to South Asian beats.
NYC WINTER LANTERN FESTIVAL at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (Jan. 3 and 6, 5-10 p.m.; Jan. 4-5, 5-11 p.m.). Staten Island now has its own 150-foot-long dragon. “Game of Thrones” isn’t filming there, but this creature does qualify as a special effect of sorts: Ablaze with LED lights, it is part of an inaugural Chinese-style lantern festival on the Cultural Center’s South Lawn. The dazzling installations, which also comprise 25 pandas, a tunnel of light, a holiday zone and a giant shark mouth that visitors can walk inside, are accompanied by evening performances of traditional Chinese arts. Now entering its final weekend, the attraction is easy to reach from other boroughs: Shuttle service on Staten Island runs every 15 minutes between the festival and the St. George Ferry Terminal, as well as between the festival and the New York Wheel Garage.
POPOVICH COMEDY PET THEATER AT THE BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRIBECA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER If you’ve ever owned a cat, you’ve probably felt more than once that you had to jump through hoops for your pet. Gregory Popovich, however, gets his cats to jump through hoops for him. The founder and leader of this touring show, Popovich combines his own juggling and clowning skills — he comes from a Russian circus family — with the talents of more than 30 furry and feathered performers, almost all rescued from animal shelters and raised as family pets. (A few human circus artists participate, too.) The Popovich theater, which will take the stage on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 2 and 5 p.m., features, along with its fabulous feline stars, dogs, geese, mice, doves, parrots and a miniature horse. Expect lively skits and acrobatics and, of course, incomparable cuteness. LAUREL GRAEBER
‘STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS, PLEASE’ at the Old Stone House, Washington Park (Jan. 5, 10 and 11:15 a.m.). City families may feel that they hear this phrase all too often, but on Saturday at this historic site in Brooklyn, the words will be accompanied by laughter and play, not noisy crowds and frayed tempers. Presented by Spellbound Theater, this intimate show tells the story of Catbear, a lost toy that travels on six subway lines while searching for its owner. The 35-minute production, which uses puppetry and toy theater techniques, invites small children — the recommended ages are 2 to 5 — to answer questions and provide sound effects as they follow Catbear on adventures that include Grand Central Terminal and Coney Island.
THREE KINGS DAY PARADE AND CELEBRATION at El Museo del Barrio (Jan. 4, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.) and EL DÍA DE LOS TRES REYES MAGOS/THREE KINGS DAY at Teatro SEA (Jan. 6, 3-5 p.m.). Although nothing on the streets seems to surprise longtime New Yorkers, camels striding up Park Avenue might be an exception. You can expect those animals to turn heads on Friday, when El Museo del Barrio presents its annual parade in honor of Three Kings Day, the Latin holiday that celebrates the pilgrimage of the Magi to Bethlehem. The 90-minute procession, which starts at 11 a.m. at 106th Street and Park Avenue, will also feature giant puppets, dancers, marching bands and other musical groups and, of course, the Three Kings themselves, portrayed by community leaders. The free fun will continue from 1 to 3 p.m. inside the museum, where revelers can explore the galleries, see an improv performance by Teatro 220 and hear Annette A. Aguilar & Stringbeans play Brazilian jazz. The Three Kings will also go to the Lower East Side on Sunday, where they’ll appear at Teatro SEA, the Latino theater for children. Here, their intent is to bear gifts for little visitors — they will give a present to each of the first thousand who arrive — and host free festivities that will include music by Los Pleneros de la 21 and the Mariachi Academy of New York.
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