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9 REASONS TO VISIT: Big Apple ripe for the picking again

It’s probably been a while since that last visit to New York (a couple of COVID-plagued years at least?), but the city is bustling again as both New Yorkers and travellers inexorably push towards normalcy. And with Canadians about to wave goodbye to burdensome pre-arrival testing protocols, city tourism officials believe the time is right for their top international market to return again to discover New York’s new-found energy – and re-discover its enduring appeal.

This includes new and upcoming developments and openings, as well as a return of many New York City classics (like Broadway), and forever favourites, such as the Stature of Liberty and Times Square.

“New York City is known for constant renewal and reinvention,” says Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company. “From brand-new hotels and restaurants to upcoming star-studded Broadway shows, exhibitions and events, we invite… our global community to experience the vibrant offerings found only in NYC this year.”

Here are nine highlights, the mere thoughts of which get our motor running:

1. Restaurant Week

NYC & Company will celebrate the dining industry with the 30th anniversary of NYC Restaurant Week, kicking off in July. The biannual event began in 1992 and has grown beyond a one-week event to a four-week program taking place at a variety of restaurants from neighbourhood eateries to high-end dining across all five boroughs.

2. NYC from above

Observatories have always been a part of the City’s DNA with classics like the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock. A few years after the opening of the remarkable One World Observatory, the city’s skyline welcomed Edge at Hudson Yards in 2020, which also recently unveiled a new, breathtaking way to take in the skyline with City Climb, the ultimate skyscraper adventure for thrill seekers looking to take in a view of the City from 366 m. above the ground. Last fall, Summit One Vanderbilt opened as the city’s fifth observatory (banner photo), offering spectacular views. This year, a new virtual attraction debuted offering a unique bird’s-eye view of the skyline: RiseNY is an immersive, interactive experience, giving visitors a chance to view New York City virtually while suspended 30 feet in the air.

3. Vibrant neighbourhoods

There’s more to New York than Manhattan. Globally, New York City is known as one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities and is the home for many international citizens. Throughout the five boroughs, visitors can explore and taste the different cultures that exist within the city – from Little Caribbean located in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and Little Sri Lanka in Tompkinsville, Staten Island, to Manhattan’s Chinatown and Washington Heights, visitors can get a worldly experience in the unique, vibrant neighbourhoods throughout the boroughs.

4. Beloved Broadway:

This this year, Broadway is going to become home for some of the biggest and brightest stars in entertainment. Hugh Jackman recently returned to Broadway for the revival of ‘The Music Man’; Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick star in the Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s ‘Plaza Suit’; Darren Criss and Laurence Fishburne joined the stage for the revival of ‘American Buffalo’; and Daniel Craig will make his anticipated return to the stage on March 29 for ‘Macbeth’.

There are also limited revivals of shows coming to Broadway such as ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf’, beginning April 1; ‘Hangmen’, with previews beginning April 8; and the best-selling novel ‘The Kite Runner’ is coming to Broadway for the first time this summer.

5. As seen on TV

Some of the most memorable and television series set in New York City have recently returned to the small screen. With the return of ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘And Just Like That’, fans can explore the city that is home to Serena van der Woodsen (and the new Gossip Girl cast) and Carrie Bradshaw and friends. Gossip Girl fans can take one of the On Location Tours of the many sites where the popular series was filmed, including The Met steps and Grand Central Terminal; and ‘Sex and the City’ fans can take an official tour, including dining at Buddakan or indulging in cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery.

6. New and evolved museums

Museum of Broadway rendering

• The Museum of Broadway, the first permanent museum dedicated to Broadway, will open in Times Square this summer and celebrate Broadway’s history while also giving a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Broadway productions.

• The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, is undergoing a physical and programmatic expansion for a new cultural centre, expected to debut later this year, which includes an interactive exhibit, archival collections, a 68-seat jazz club and store.

• And, the Bronx Children’s Museum, which celebrates the natural curiosity, creativity, and compassion inherent in all children, is also opening this year after moving to a new home in Mill Pond Park.

7. Festivals and festivities

NYC plays host to some of the largest events in the world across a multitude of industries:

• NYCxDESIGN’s 10th Anniversary Festival will happen from May 10-20, offering a global stage for NYC’s designers, manufacturers, artists, and makers to show their latest and greatest creations.

• Celebrations of art continue with the Tribeca Festival from June 8 to 19; the “Conscious Carnival,” Letsgetfr.ee, in August; and New York Fashion Week will return in September, setting the stage for designers worldwide to showcase their latest designs.

8. Pride

As the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement, New York City is proudly the centre of Pride celebrations each June, and throughout the year. HAGS, the first LGBTQ+ fine dining restaurant, will open its doors this year in the East Village. NYC also plays host to the annual NYC Pride March taking place on June 26. One of the largest Pride marches in the world, the annual event attracts tens of thousands of participants and millions of sidewalk spectators each year. The celebrations will continue in the boroughs beyond Manhattan, including the new Queens Pride Parade on June 5, the Brooklyn Pride celebration on June 11, and additional celebrations that have yet to be announced.

9. Food, glorious food

• Singapore Hawker Center, an enormous Singaporean-inspired food hall, will soon open in Midtown bringing authentic, traditional cuisine from 18 street-food vendors

• This fall, the James Beard Foundation will also open an 18-stall, 4,900-sq.-m. hall at Pier 57 featuring local businesses and offerings from food entrepreneurs.

• Additionally, visitors arriving at the Moynihan Train Hall can now select from a dozen curated vendors at the Moynihan Food Hall and will soon be able to enjoy the full market, expanded food hall and three signature restaurants.

10. Enticing exhibits

• Through Aug. 14, the American Museum of Natural History is displaying ‘Sharks’, featuring life-size models, fossils, interactive exhibits and more.

• Just underway at The National Museum of the American Indian is ‘Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe’, a retrospective exhibition tracing the artistic development of one of the 20th century’s most innovative Native American painters, Oscar Howe.

• In April, ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure’ will debut at the Starrett-Lehigh Building. The exhibition will include over 200 never-before-seen and rarely shown paintings, drawings, and artifacts to share the story of the Brooklyn-born artist.

• Beginning April 6, the Whitney Museum will be celebrating its 80th Whitney Biennial, ‘Quiet as It’s Kept’, featuring an array of intergenerational artists displaying a constellation of art and ideas that are present today.

• Fashion history enthusiasts can receive a lesson in American fashion this May at The Met Fifth Avenue, with the second half of the Costume Institute’s ‘In America exhibition, An Anthology of Fashion’ launching, featuring women’s and men’s dress from the 18th century to today.

• Also in May, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will present ‘Henri Matisse: The Red Studio’, an exhibition focusing on Matisse’s ‘The Red Studio’ (1911) – a painting that has remained among MoMA’s most important works since it was acquired in 1949 – and featuring never-before-seen archival work and related paintings and drawings.

• This June, the High Line will debut artist Meriem Bennani’s first public sculpture, ‘Windy (2022)’. The sculpture was inspired by the experience of walking on the High Line.

• On July 1, the Brooklyn Museum will host its first survey exhibition dedicated to late artist and designer Virgil Abloh. The exhibition, ‘Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech’, will showcase a mix of fashion, videos, sketches and more, spanning nearly two decades of the multi-creative’s career.

WHERE TO STAY

More than 9,000 new hotel rooms will be coming online in the City this year, including the highly anticipated Aman New York, Fifth Avenue, the new urban sanctuary located on Fifth Avenue; the Ritz-Carlton, NoMad, a new experience inspired by the essence of the new Madison Square Park; and the Hard Rock Hotel New York, a new property offering a backstage pass to the best of Midtown Manhattan, all expected to open this spring.

Additionally, the Renaissance Hotels brand will open properties in Harlem and Flushing in the coming months; the Virgin Hotel New York City and Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet’s New York are expected to open this summer; Moxy Hotels will open properties on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn later this year; and The Fifth Avenue Hotel is expected to open this fall. For more, visit nycgo.com/hotels.

For an up-to-date list of what’s happening across the five boroughs:  https://www.nycgo.com/whatsopen

First published at Travel Industry Today

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