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Weekend Events: New Years Eve Celebrations and Family-Friendly Activities

December 28, 2011

Hello Brooklyn! We hope you all had a great holiday and were able to enjoy time with friends and family during the last week of the year. Are you ready to ring in 2012 in style? We sure hope so! There are tons of fun events and celebrations happening around here, all designed to help you celebrate New Years like a true Brooklynite. If you want to relish in true New Years Eve excitement, then you must ring in the new year at Brooklyn’s biggest party: fireworks at Grand Army Plaza! You can also celebrate the start of 2012 by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. In addition to the festivities, I’d like to point your attention to Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi because this is the last weekend that it will run. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is definitely worth the trip to Times Square. This is also the final weekend for The Nutcracker, presented by The American Ballet Theatre at BAM. Don’t forget to visit our music listings and calendar for more events.

Wishing you peace, joy, more triumphs than trials, a rocking weekend and a… Happy New Year!!!


Friday December 30th – Sunday January 1st: various times
Cirque Shanghai’s Bai Xi at The New Victory Theatre
My son and I always like to take in a show at The New Victory Theater, the only full time performing arts theater for kids, and last weekend was no exception. I grabbed my metro card and my son and I headed to Times Square to see Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi. Translating as “100 Amazing Acts,” Bai Xi is just that — amazing! The contortionists, aerialists, and gymnasts had the entire audience sitting at the edge of our seats, grasping the handles of our chairs, and holding our breaths with their dramatic acts. Watching the performers balance en pointe on a man’s head, climb a three-story stack of wobbling chairs, and conquer the Wheel of Death will be sure to leave you speechless. Don’t miss the chance to catch this intensely fun and equally interactive show.
Details: New Victory Theatre, 209 West 42nd Street. Tickets start at $17.00 for general admission. Ages 4 and up.

Friday, December 30th – Sunday, January 15th at 3pm or 7pm
Company XIV’s Snow White at the Bond Street Theatre
Company XIV presents the critically acclaimed Snow White. Choreographed and directed by Austin McCormick, this performance blends opera, circus, dance, theater, projection and design that will surely delight the entire family. (Please note: the show will not run December 23rd – December 25th).
Details: The Bond Street Theatre. 303 Bond Street. $35 for adults; $30 for children 17 and younger.

Thursday, December 29th — Sunday, January 22, 2012
Math Midway at Liberty Science Center
This fabulous exhibit makes math fun for all ages from babies all the way up to adults. Try a square-wheeled bicycle, hang out with magnetic monkeys, or check out mind-bending mirrors. This show debuted at the World Science Festival Fair in Washington Square in 2009, and even in its smaller capacity there, it dazzled visitors. This interactive exhibit is fabulous fun worth a trip to New Jersey for – stay for an Imax show or one of the other permanent exhibits. The exhibit runs through January 22, 2012. It’s highly recommended.
Details: Liberty State Park, 222 Jersey City Boulevard. Jersey City, NJ 07305

Thursday, December 29th – Saturday March 31, 2012 from 10am – 5pm
Secrets of Circles Exhibit at Brooklyn Children’s Museum
There’s no doubt about it, circles are everywhere! The “Secrets of Circles” exhibit at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum features 18 different interactive activities that explore the nature of this simple, but amazing shape. From building mechanical contraptions to using a compass to draw awesome glow-in-the-dark circles, this fun exhibit provides a great way for math and science to come to life. This is going to be a crowd-pleaser, for sure, and will definitely give new meaning to “the wheels on the bus go round and round.”
Details: 145 Brooklyn Avenue

Friday, December 30th – Sunday, February 26, 2012: various times
The Berenstain Bears LIVE!
We are so excited about the “beary” good show that will be held at the Marjorie S. Dean Little Theatre! In The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, our favorite Bear Country citizens come to life on the Off-Broadway stage. In addition to teaching life lessons during the show, there will be a mini dance party and face painting afterwards. It’s going to be “bear”mazing! We have all seen it a couple of times and it’s super cute for the kids.
Details: Marjorie S. Dean Little Theatre. 10 West 64th Street and Central Park West. Tickets start at $34.95. 866.811.4111.

Friday, December 30th – Tuesday, January 31, 2012: various times
Polar Express 4D at Central Park Zoo, the Bronx Zoo, and New York Aquarium
The amazing Polar Express is making stops this Holiday Season at the Central Park Zoo, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Aquarium. It is sure to be a great time and will play at the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium until January 2, 2012, and the Central Park Zoo through January 31, 2012.
Details: 718.220.5100

Friday, December 30th – Sunday, January 8th: various times
The Big Apple Circus: Dream Big
The Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center is back again and we loved it! Grandma Clown (the emcee) is hilarious as she guides you through the Big Apple’s acts and set changes. The thread of the show’s theme, “Dream Big,” begins with a little girl who appears to have been plucked from the audience. She proclaims her desires to be a trapeze performer, which by the end of the show, she does become. Apparently, dreaming big does work! Fabulous international circus artists perform under an intimate tent with varying acts from acrobats to clowns. People seemed to especially respond to the animals, which include horses, dogs, and a porcupine. The acrobats were particularly enthralling to watch as they were jumping around as a human pyramid. The kids were doing acrobatics in their seats during the intermission. This is probably because they could totally relate it to their own experiences on the monkeybars. The show is perfect for ages 2.5 years and up. Both our children were totally engaged by it, and honestly, we were too. Runs Oct 20 – Jan 8.
Details: Tickets start at $15, children under 3 years are free on the lap of a paid adult.


Thursday, December 29th — Saturday, December 31st: various times
American Ballet Theatre Presents The Nutcracker at BAM
If you love the ballet and love the American Ballet Theatre as much as I do, then this is a definite must-see! Magical toy soldiers, beautiful snowflakes, and tiny mice will be taking over BAM this weekend in the amazing ABT production of The Nutcracker. Choreographed by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, this classic show will leave you wanting to do balance en pointe and then practicing your pirouettes. The show is performed with a live orchestra, and sets and costumes are designed by the Tony Award-Winner, Richard Hudson.
Details: BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. 30 Lafayette Avenue. Ages 4 and up. For more info, visit HERE.

Thursday, December 29th – Friday, December 30th at 12:30pm and 2:30pm
Set in 1932, this enchanting show features a misunderstood little girl and a smart creature that team up in an attempt to figure out who’s really been stealing the village’s sheep. This show has been adapted for Marionettes and is a charming classic! (Please note: the show will not run December 31st – January 1st).
Details: Ages 3 and up. $8 for adults; $7 for children. 338 Sixth Avenue (at 4th Street). 718.965.3391


Thursday, December 29th from 2:30pm — 3:30pm
Kwanzaa Celebration at The Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Learn all about Kwanzaa holiday traditions and celebrations, especially that it is a time for a candlelit feast and gift-giving. Now is the time to get hands-on with your Kuumba (Creativity) as well as take home your own Kwanzaa-inspired craft!
Details: Brooklyn Children’s Museum. 145 Brooklyn Avenue. 718.735.4000. Ages 6 and up.

Thursday, December 29th — Thursday, April 26th at 11am
Meet the Museum: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
Looking for something to do with your tot (ages 2-3)? Look no further! Toddlers and caretakers can take part in thematic songs, gallery activities, and art making. Creating a Picasso in the making? Oh yeah! Please note: pre-registration is required for each month-long program, which meets every Thursday. To register, email youth.family@brooklynmuseum.org.
Details: The Brooklyn Museum. 200 Eastern Parkway. 718.638.5000.

Thursday, December 29th at 11:30am and 2:30pm
Tales for Tots at The Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Did someone say story time?! Squeee! These tales will take your little one’s imagination to far away places. Good places, though.
Details: 145 Brooklyn Avenue. 718.735.4400. Ages 4 and under.


Friday, December 30th from 11am – 12pm
Transit Tots at the New York Transit Museum
Toddlers will be thrilled transportation fans in this weekly drop-in program as they engage in stories, songs, lots of hands-on activities, and surprises at Transit Tot! And who doesn’t love surprises?!
Details: Free with Museum admission. Children ages 2-5 with an adult companion. Boerum Place and Schmerhorn Street. 718.694.1600.

Friday, December 30th at 2:30pm
Art Works at The Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Grad your little ones and visit the Totally Tots area to see what’s in store for your budding Michelangelo!
Details: 145 Brooklyn Avenue. 718. 735.4400. Ages 5 and under.

Friday, December 30th at 6:15pm
Family Movie Night at The Moxie Spot
Still Stumped on how to enjoy Family Friday Nights after a long week? Head on over to The Moxie Spot, a family-friendly restaurant and play space for a fun Friday night film screening. Kids will eat for free when you purchase an entrée from the dinner special after 5:30pm. Now that what we call “family friendly.”
Details: The short feature begins at 6:15pm. The longer feature begins at 6:45pm. 81-83 Atlantic Avenue (at Hicks Street). 718.923.9710


Saturday, December 31st at 11pm
New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Grand Army Plaza
Ring in the New Year at Brooklyn’s Biggest party! There will be entertainment, hot refreshments (hot chocolate), and… FIREWORKS! Woohoo! The celebrations will start off around 11pm so get there early. And, of course we’ve got the best places for viewing the fireworks: inside the Park on the West Drive, along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street, and anywhere in Grand Army Plaza.
Details: FREE for all. All are welcomed.

Saturday, December 31st at 11:15 pm
5K in Prospect Park!

This 3 miler follows an out and back course from 9th Street that heads South towards Coney Island Avenue and turns around at the Lincoln Road Entrance to the Park. Time it just right – just right – and you’ll cross the finish line with fireworks bursting in the sky over Grand Army Plaza. Get there sooner and you’ll have plenty of time to join the crowds down there replete in the your brand new flip top mittens and glow necklaces (for the first 300 registered) and warmed by hot chocolate and perhaps a sparkling cider.  Pick-Up/Registration: from 10:00pm to 11:15pm by the 9th street entrance of the park. Start: 11:15 PM Transit: F/G train to 7th avenue. Cost: $21. through 12/23, $25. from 12/23 to 12/30. $30. on raceday. Register here.

Saturday, December 31st at 3pm
New Year’s Eve Party at Mable’s Smokehouse
Let’s face it: if you have an infant or toddler, you’re probably not going to be partying the night away come midnight. Bummer, huh? Not quite. Turns out, you can party the DAY away at Maple’s Smokehouse and Banquet Hall. Celebrate with BBQ, drink specials, kids, and adults. It’ll be a blast!
Details: 44 Berry Street (Entrance on North 11th). 646.246.1931.

Saturday, Dec. 31, 11 – 11:45 a.m.
Ring in the New Year with Rolie Polie Guacamole

Frank and Andrew rock-in the New Year with their favorite hit songs. Bring your noisemakers and good cheer!!! For all ages…Call for reservations!
Details: Gumbo 493 Atlantic Ave. (bet. Nevins & Third) 718-855-7808  $18, siblings $2, adults free

Saturday, December 31st beginning at 10:15pm
Brooklyn Bridge Walk Into the New Year
Okay. So, how cool would it be to say that you celebrated the start of 2012 by partying on the Brooklyn bridge?! Like, totally. Right?! Then, what are you waiting for? DO IT! Join in the fun for the 17th Annual Brooklyn Bridge Walk Into the New Year. NYC’s  tour guides will lead you around the City Hall area and the Brooklyn Bridge to learn little known facts about the 19th century’s greatest technical marvel. Enjoy free refreshments for those who arrive early! – snacks and a warm drink — coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.  Free prizes — tee-shirts, postcards and other gifts included that show up whether you prepay by credit card online or pay cash on the spot.  If history repeats itself, fireworks will be visible from Central Park, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and New Jersey as well as the Empire State Building light show.
Details: Registration for the walk begins at 9:45PM. $50.00 cash; $40.00 credit card online.  Multiple walks will be launched between 10:15PM and 11:15PM. Meeting Place: Outside McDonald’s Restaurant, 160 Broadway between Liberty and Courtlandt Streets, New York City. To book the tour, go to  December calendar and scroll down to December 31st, or call (888) 377-4455.
City Hall Station: N, R (western part of City Hall Park)
Brooklyn Bridge Station: 4, 5, 6 (eastern part of City Hall Park)
World Trade Center Station — A, C, E
Fulton Street Station – 2, 3, J, M, Z

Saturday, December 31st from 1pm – 3pm
Art at the Audubon Center
Two hours of crafting?! Sign me up! Little ones can pretend to be bats or monkeys or whatever else tickles their fancy during indoor nature play while making their very own artistic creatures at Prospect Park.
Details: Free of charge. 718.287.6215 x104

Saturday, December 31st from 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Handiwork: Crafts and Tasks from the Past at Lefferts Historic House
Children will witness how kids spent their weekend before there was television, iPad apps, and smartphones with this crafts and tasks from the past workshop.
Details: Free of charge. 718.287.6215×104


Saturday, December 31st at 11:00 am
Tim and the Space Cadets

These kiddie rockers specialize in catchy lyrics and upbeat sounds. Today they’ll perform a bevy of hits inspired by childhood memories, among them snow days, pizza parties and summer vacations.
For more info, go here.

Saturday, December 31st at 11:30 am
The Barber of Seville

This performance packs the opera essentials into a compact and kid-friendly time frame of 90 minutes. Follow along with the same English and Italian songs and comedic moments as are found in Rossini’s full-length classic.
For more info, go here.

Saturday, December 31st at 12:00 pm
Kwanzaa Celebration

Head to the Musseum of Natural History to take in the sights and sounds of African and African-American arts and culture at this all-day celebration honoring the holiday’s seven principles.  There will be a marching band, and steel band orchestra among food, storytelling, and a marketplace.
For more info, go here.

Saturday, December 31st at 12:00 pm
New Years Eve Family Dance Party with Little Club Heads

Ring in the New Year with a live DJ, dancing, face painting, crafts, clowns, balloon twisters, and live performances.
For more info, go here.

Saturday, December 31st at 2:00 pm
Ailey’s Family Matinee Series

Introduce your brood to the world of dance through these kid-friendly performances. Each show is followed by a Q&A session with the dancers.
For more info, go here.