With the crowds of Thanksgiving and the festive period having long since slipped away, New York City in February can be opportune time to visit.
Year-round events and a huge array of fun and historical attractions, ensure that the Big Apple New offers something for everyone any time of the year – and February is no exception. The winter temperatures begin to creep up towards the end of the month, while the city’s events calendar brims with a diverse choice of exhibitions and other shows to attend. We’ve picked out 12 of the best to look out for this coming February.
Chinese New Year Parade
When it comes to the Chinese Lunar New Year, New York pulls out all the stops. Themed events and activities take place across the city, with the flagship occasion being the huge parade. Featuring an assortment of colourful floats, dragon dancing, firecrackers, stunning outfits, martial art performers and more, the parade meanders through Chinatown, down East Broadway and towards Manhattan Bridge, before ending at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Street vendors along with the many restaurants of Chinatown prepare for the thousands who come to see the raucous event, and a celebratory feast completes the experience.
Chinatown / 9 February 2022
‘Bronx Calling: The Fifth AIM Biennial’ exhibition
Since 1980, The Bronx Museum of the Arts has supported New York’s artist community through the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) Fellowship program. Presenting the works of 68 artists from the program responding to the multiple crises of health, grief, the environment, and identity that define our contemporary moment across manifold ways, this exhibition serves as a meditation on the practice of everyday life in uncertain times. The Biennial is part of a series of exhibitions and public programs celebrating the Museum’s 50th anniversary and legacy as an institution dedicated to social justice.
The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx / Through 10 March 2022
‘Modern Worlds: Austrian and German Art, 1890–1940’ exhibition
Featuring major works of Austrian and German fine art and design, this exhibition serves to bring a sense of perspective back to Germanic culture of the pre-war period spanning 1890-1940. Highlights include Carl Moll’s 1905 White Interior, which vividly evokes the world of Vienna 1900, encapsulating various aspects of that era, such as the fascination with the arts of Japan and a desire to unite art and life in a cohesive whole. Simultaneous with the Austrian Expressionist movement, avant-garde initiatives occurred in Germany, with groundbreaking results realised vis-à-vis the use of colour and form. Prominent works by German artists also showcased in the exhibition include Erich Heckel’s 1908 Bathers in a Pond, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s 1914–15 Berlin Street Scene, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s 1910 Landscape with Houses and Trees.
Neue Galerie New York, 1048 5th Avenue / Through 13 March 2022
‘The African Origin of Civilization’ exhibition
Scholars today recognise Africa as the source of our common ancestry. But in 1974, Senegalese academic Cheikh Anta Diop challenged this consensus by asserting the influence of ancient African civilizations in his groundbreaking book The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality. This eponymous exhibition pays homage to Diop’s counter-narrative by presenting masterpieces from the museum’s collections from west and central Africa alongside art from ancient Egypt, providing a rare opportunity to appreciate the extraordinary creativity of the continent across five millennia, revealing unexpected parallels and contrasts.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park / Throughout February 2022
Black History Month
New York has long been at the centre of African-American life in the United States and each February the city shows its show marks this heritage at Black History Month. From music and spoken word performances to movie screenings and lectures from leaders, the month-long event showcases why the city continues to be a beacon for diversity. Along with a wide range of shows and exhibitions relating to the African-American experience at museums and theatres throughout the city, there are also themed tours through the historic neighbourhood of Harlem – a district with indelible links to the city’s African-American community.
Venues across NYC / Throughout February 2022
‘Jasper John: Mind/Mirror’ exhibition
The groundbreaking work of American painter, sculptor, and printmaker Jasper John sent shock waves through the art world when it was first shown in the late 1950s, and he has continued to challenge new audiences – and himself – over a career spanning more than 65 years. Featuring his most iconic works along with many others shown for the first time, and comprising a broad range of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures from 1954 to the current day, this exhibition is the most comprehensive retrospective ever devoted to Johns’ art. Organised in largely chronological order, it offers varied perspectives on the artist’s turns of mind, providing an immersive exploration of the many phases, treasures, and mysteries of a radical, enduring, and still-evolving career.
Whitney Museum of American Art / Through 13 February 2022
Ski, sled and marvel at eye-catching live ice sculpting at this annual winter sports festival that takes place in the frosty environs of Central Park. The urban winter wonderland is a fun time for the whole family and you don’t even have to worry about mother nature letting you down, as snow is brought in from the Adirondack Mountains to provide ski bunnies with all the white powder they need. Events are centered around Rumsey Playfield, an open sports field located right off the 5th Avenue and 69th Street entrance to the park.
Central Park / 5 February 2022
‘Love at the Tenement’ Virtual Tour
Intimate relationships thrive in close communities. On this special free virtual tour, and coinciding with Valentine’s Day, visitors will get to hear the rarely shared stories of romantic and platonic relationships of 97 Orchard Street – a historic tenement that was home to an estimated 7,000 people from over 20 nations between 1863 and 1935 – from forbidden to familial love. Learn about dating, courting, and marriage traditions observed in different times and cultural groups. Discover who fell for a boarder, and how you would have wooed a crush in 1910.
Tenement Museum, 103 Orchard St/ 13-14 February 2022
The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope
Every year, the New York Botanical Garden plays host to an Orchid Show featuring an incredible floral display of thousands of species of blossoming orchids. This year, the bountiful event will see the garden’s conservatory transformed into a tunnel of hypnotic floral designs reminiscent of looking through a kaleidoscope. There’ll also be special Orchid Evenings during which visitors can enjoy the attraction after dark, including a gorgeous display of lights, plus alcoholic beverages and snacks for purchase, and live entertainment.
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx / 11-16 February 2022
‘The Hare with Amber Eyes’ exhibition
This exhibition tells the story of the Ephrussi family, a Russian Jewish banking and oil dynasty, exploring its rise to prominence and splendour in the first half of the nineteenth century, followed by a focus on the prolific collector and historian of art, Charles Ephrussi, to the inter-war years, and finally World War II, when the family lost its fortune and collection to Nazi looting. Through interpretive installations using art and artefacts, the exhibition traces the turbulent history of the Ephrussi’s movements through place and time. It brings together pieces from the Ephrussi’s collections to examine the ways in which objects can function as storytellers, symbols of resilience, and monuments of a family legacy.
The Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Avenue / Through 15-May 2022
NYC Restaurant Week
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the twice-yearly NYC Restaurant Week hots its winter edition from mid-Jan to mid-Feb, offering cheap dining deals at more than 300 restaurants across New York. From trendy newcomers to fine-dining standbys, the event draws bargain-hunting locals and visitors to clear their dining schedules and try out new restaurants and revisit old favourites serving cheap but delectable grub. Restaurants curate their menus for the event, producing prix-fixe selections for brunch, lunch, dinner and sometimes all three.
Venues across NYC / Through 13 February 2022
‘A Trillion Sunsets: A Century of Image Overload’ exhibition
Are there too many images in the world? Too many of the wrong kind? Too many that we don’t like or want or need? These feel like very contemporary questions, but they have a rich and fascinating history. This exhibition takes a long look at our worries and compulsive fascination with the proliferation of photographic images. From scrapbooks to internet memes, from collage and image appropriation to art made by algorithms, it highlights unlikely parallels and connections across distinct decades.
International Center of Photography / 28 January-2 May 2022
By Paul Joseph