New Year’s Eve NYC is always epic and 2014 is no exception, with musical highlights like vintage soul at Littlefield, Elton John at Barclays, and Sandra Bernhard closing out her six-night stand of songs and comedy at Joe’s Pub. If you just want to dance your fool head off, long-running Brooklyn party The Rub hosts the sweaty good times at their annual Bell House DJ soirée, with champagne on the house for countdown. For retro takes on the big night, hit up Magnificent Obsessions’ Gatsby Party at the Liberty Theater—buzzing with burlesque, fire-breathers , and champagne pourers that drop from the ceiling—or a downtown celebration of old Hollywood from Dances of Vice, spilling out over three floors of decadence. Everybody on the planet knows about the Times Square ball drop, but Coney Island has an answer all its own, as 8,000 bulbs will burst into light at the Parachute Jump on the boardwalk. Freak show performers and fireworks will also be on hand. In the morning, should you have some champagne-induced cobwebs to clear away, head back to Coney for the annual New Year’s Day Swim. The Polar Bear Club (established 1903) leads the way for a bracing dunk in the Atlantic, complete with costumes and more than a few pairs of blue lips. (When you’re ready to get back on the horse, there’s an afterparty nearby at Peggy O’Neill’s.)
Roll in the New Year with a family-friendly brunch at Brooklyn Bowl. Blue Ribbon works up the food, which is light years ahead of basic alley fare: think cinnamon toast pizza for the little ones, chicken soup for the grownups. Then go knock down a few strikes to get 2015 started off right.
As New Year’s Eve meals go, surf ‘n’ turf is pretty hard to top. UK chain Burger & Lobster brings an approachable version of the duo with a menu limited to burgers, lobsters, and lobster rolls. The crustaceans stay fresh in this new Flatiron spread thanks to tanks that can accommodate an impressive 4,000. You can get back on the diet in 2015.