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Like Rip Van Winkle, New York is re-awakening from a long pandemic hibernation, and as it does, those who have been away will discover a host of new and notable developments emerging in 2021. From the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to new-look airports and opulent new hotels, to the highest observation deck in the city and a new attraction for friends of “Friends,” there is plenty to re-engage locals and visitors alike.

“The city is literally re-awakening all around us,” says Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company, New York’s CVB and DMO. “And I want to make something perfectly clear: New York City is very much alive and thriving. This city is still defined by its boundless energy, its energy and excitement.”

And he adds, “We’re going to be ready when international visitors are heading our way and we’re going to show them a whole new side of New York that they never even knew existed.”

He points, for example, to the pedestrianization of streets, and explosion of outdoor café and dining culture during the pandemic – changes he believes are certain to stay.

With each passing day, Dixon says, momentum is returning to the city amidst a feeling that, finally, “the ship is turning.”

Following is a list of just some of the developments and programming that will be waiting when visitors return:


• LaGuardia’s redesigned Terminal B features 35 new gates, along with retail, food and beverage and amenities that more than doubles the previous offerings. With soaring ceilings and plenty of natural light, the new terminal has nearly 50 shops and restaurants including iconic NYC retailers Shake Shack and FAO Schwarz. By mid-2022, with the completion of the head-house for Delta’s new Terminal C, visitors will be greeted by a new, unified modern airport fit with its two new terminals connected by a magnificent Central Hall, featuring the Orpheus and Apollo sculpture formerly at Lincoln Center.

• Construction at Newark-Liberty International Airport is nearly 75% complete for an all-new Terminal A, with 33 gates opening next year.

• Moynihan Train Hall, a spectacular 28-metre-high skylighted train hall, transformed the landmark James A. Farley Post Office Building into a 21st-century transportation hub serving LIRR and Amtrak passengers. The new station features 50% more concourse space, state-of-the-art wayfinding, information displays and is a welcomed expansion of the Penn Station complex.

• The NYC Ferry will add new routes and stops this year to serve more waterfront communities, including a Staten Island route (to Battery Park and Midtown West) this summer and a Coney Island route (to Bay Ridge and Wall Street) later this year along with the Ferry Point Park/Throgs Neck extension of the Soundview route.

• With the recent Inwood and Washington Heights expansion, Citi Bike is now one of the largest bike share systems in the world next to China.


A number of large-scale events and commemorate historic anniversaries are in the cards for 2021:

• Known as the “World’s Most Famous Building,” the Empire State Building will celebrate its 90th anniversary as an iconic landmark in 2021.

• Sept. 11 will mark 20 years since 9/11 and the City is honoring those we lost with a citywide tribute of lights and additional cultural programming to be announced at a later date, to commemorate this important and never-to-beforgotten day in history.

• NYCxDESIGN will host Design Days, May 13-18, showcasing the latest in design through virtual events, open studios, exhibitions, talks, and more, including various events and self-guided journeys across the five boroughs.

• Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the iconic Tribeca Film Festival will take place June 9-20, in a reimagined format with screenings at locations across all five boroughs, including Brookfield Place, Empire Outlets, Hudson Yards, MetroTech Commons, Pier 57 Rooftop and The Battery.

• NYC Summer Restaurant Week will be reprised from July 20 to Aug. 15


NY skyline view from SUMMIT One Vanderbilit

• Opening in the fall, SUMMIT will be NYC’s newest observation deck and immersive experience at the crown of the iconic One Vanderbilt. SUMMIT will take visitors to the highest vantage point in Midtown with views of The Chrysler Building, Empire State Building and north to Central Park, and glass floor ledges that overhang Madison Avenue. The observation deck will also offer food and beverage options.

• Expected to open as a public park on June 1, Phase 1 of Pier 76 will include a walking area and outdoor flexible space, as well as benches with waterfront views.

• A statue of the late US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was unveiled last month at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. Created by contemporary artists Gillie and Marc, the bronze statue underscores the importance of gender equality in public art.

• Marsha P. Johnson State Park (formerly East River State Park) will reopen in June after undergoing extensive renovations. The waterfront park in Williamsburg will include a new park house with public restrooms, classroom space, new park furniture, and a public art display honouring gay rights advocate Marsha P. Johnson, and the LGBTQ+ community.

• Circle Line, Classic Harbor Line and Statue Cruises sightseeing tours have reopened for the season with updated offers.

• The recently opened “Friends Experience” offers fans of the TV show two floors of interactive experiences including the iconic orange couch, show props and costumes. Visitors can also grab a coffee at Central Perk which is open to the public daily.

• On Location Tours is now offering a Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Sites Tour, a private tour of 1950’s NYC in a 1957 Studebaker Commander as seen on the show, highlighting iconic locations from the series.

• The Phoenix Family Thrill Roller Coaster will rise this summer at Coney Island. Standing 21 m. tall, the new ride will reach speeds of 55 kph and guarantees a thrilling new addition at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, celebrating its 100th season.


• The Guggenheim Museum is the first place in New York to show Jackson Pollock’s famous “Mural” painting in more than 20 years, with “Away from the Easel: Jackson Pollock’s Mural,” on display through Sept. 19. The mural marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of Pollock’s artistic style as he began to move into more abstract art styles and non-traditional painting techniques like his signature drip method.

• The Frick Collection recently opened the Frick Madison, its temporary new home while the main building is under a years-long renovation. Located at the Marcel Breuer-designed building—the former site of the Met Breuer and the Whitney Museum of American Art—the Frick Madison features new acquisitions and highlights from the collection organized chronologically and by region.

• Recently reopened after a two-year renovation, Dia:Chelsea follows Dia’s mission to commission single-artist projects, organize exhibitions, realize site-specific installations, and collect in-depth work of artists of the 1960s and 1970s.

• Restart Stages at the Lincoln Centre, re-opened last month, is an outdoor performing arts centre with 10 outdoor performance and rehearsal spaces created to help kick-start the performing arts sector by featuring events by organizations from across the five boroughs.

• The Landfill Fashionista at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Staten Island is currently on display through June 30 as a multimedia art exhibition by the Staten Island Urban Center’s Young Women’s Leadership Group highlighting the need for environmental justice.

• For the first time in a New York museum, the work of sculptor, painter, and filmmaker Niki de Saint Phalle is featured at MoMA PS1. On display through Sept. 6, “Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life” features more than 200 pieces from the feminist artist dating back to the mid-1960s, including some work that has never been exhibited.

• On display through Sept. 26, Estamos Bien—La Trienal 20/21 is El Museo del Barrio’s first large-scale survey of Latinx contemporary art, featuring works by 42 artists and art collectives from throughout the US, including Puerto Rico, and representing various cultures, from Chicano to Dominican.

• KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature premiered at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx earlier this month featuring new work by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, including two new outdoor monumental sculptures Dancing Pumpkin and I Want to Fly to the Universe, as well as Infinity Mirror Rooms and colorful flowers and floral sculptures that will change seasonally through Oct. 31.

• The Whitney Museum of American Art will debut Day’s End by David Hammons in May, as a permanent public art project located in Hudson River Park, directly across from the museum, that will pay homage to Gordon MattaClark’s 1975 artwork of the same name in the same location, and change with the light of day and atmospheric conditions. Day’s End will allude to the history of NYC’s waterfront from the heyday of the City’s shipping industry in the late 19th century to its role as a gathering place for the gay community in the 1970s.

• Visit Wave Hill in the Bronx for The Shadow of the Sun: Ross Bleckner and Zachari Logan, an exhibition to be held May 22 through Aug. 15, featuring the works of New York-based painter Ross Bleckner and Canadian artist Zachari Logan who have collaborated for the past decade using different mediums.

• The completely redesigned Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals will open at the American Museum of Natural History in June. The halls will feature nearly 5,000 specimens from 95 countries—including two amethyst geodes that are among the world’s largest on public display—which will tell the fascinating stories of how mineral diversity arose, the environments in which minerals form, how scientists classify them, and how humans have used them throughout history.

• Beginning June 6, experience Cézanne Drawing at MoMA, which will showcase more than 200 works on paper – including drawings, sketchbooks, and rarely seen watercolors – alongside a selection of related oil paintings, from modern artist Paul Cézanne. On display through Sept. 25, this is the first major effort in the US to unite drawings from across the artist’s entire career, exploring his methods and revealing his most radical works on paper.

• Two immersive art experiences will open in June celebrating the works of Vincent Van Gogh. Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit New York, opening on June 10, will feature Van Gogh’s work in a captivating digital art exhibit, giving guests the rare opportunity to “step inside” Van Gogh’s art at a location that will be announced in the coming days. The second, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, opening on June 21, will be a 360º digital art exhibition at the Skylight on Vesey in Lower Manhattan.

• Beginning Aug. 27, The Obama Portraits Tour will be presented at the Brooklyn Museum on its five-city tour. This special presentation enhances conversations surrounding the power of portraiture and its role in engaging communities through Oct. 24.

• The Metropolitan Museum of Art will bring back The Costume Institute’s next major exhibition in September, a two-part show on view from Sept. 18, through Sept. 5, 2022. Part one, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” will open on Sept. 18 celebrating The Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary while exploring a modern vocabulary of American fashion. Part two, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” opening on May 5, 2022, will explore the development of American fashion.

• For the first time in decades, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will allow visitor access to its pilot escalator, which has recently been restored, and later this year, visitors will have the opportunity to peek into one of Intrepid’s bomb elevators, which transported weapons to other parts of the ship where they were assembled, armed and loaded onto airplanes.


• It has just been announced that Broadway will begin to return May 30 (though many productions will follow the originally expected September timeframe) with classics like Aladdin, Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera and more, and newer productions including Hadestown, Jagged Little Pill and Moulin Rouge. Brand-new shows will also debut, including Thoughts of a Colored Man, Diana and Mrs. Doubtfire.

• Victoria Theater will open as an addition to the Apollo Theater this fall, marking the first expansion in its history. The theatres at the Victoria, located down the street from The Apollo, are two new and flexible performance spaces, one with 99 seats and the other with 199 seats.

• The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens is undergoing a physical and programmatic expansion for a New Center, projected to open this spring, that will increase the Museum’s capacity to fulfill its mission of sustaining and promoting the cultural, historical, and humanitarian legacy of Louis Armstrong.


• The world’s first official Harry Potter flagship store, Harry Potter New York, will open on June 3 in the Flatiron District. The store will feature the largest selection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts merchandise under one roof, as well as 15 themed areas, interactive displays, and photo-ops.

• Madison Avenue has welcomed recent and upcoming developments by luxury brands, including a newly opened Montblanc flagship as well as a Manolo Blahnik flagship opening this spring. Other expansions currently under construction include Brunello Cucinelli; Fendi; Giorgio Armani; Graff Diamonds; and Hermès.


The Pendry Manhattan

• Opening near Hudson Yards, the Pendry Manhattan West will feature 164 guest rooms including 30 suites, a signature restaurant, lounge and open-air terrace bar when it debuts in July.

• Nestled between the Times Square, Garment District and Hudson Yards neighbourhoods, Arlo Midtown will open in late May with a modern mix of 489 total guest rooms, ample communal spaces, and four food and beverage outlets. Guests can choose from King and Double Rooms with terraces overlooking Hudson Yards, or opt for luxury with the Penthouse and King Suites, a first for Arlo.

• Occupying the Crown Building in the heart of Manhattan on Fifth Avenue, Aman New York is expected to open in June with 83 rooms and suites, 22 private residences, three restaurants and a spa spanning three stories and featuring an indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms, hot and cold plunge pools, as well as an outdoor terrace with cabana, daybed, and fireplace.

• Opening in June, Margaritaville Resort Times Square will offer an island oasis at the “crossroads of the world.” Featuring 234 guestrooms and amenities such as an outdoor heated pool, retail store and fitness centre, the hotel will bring an island vibe to the bustling neighborhood.

• Situated on the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, the Graduate Roosevelt Island will offer guests views of Manhattan and Queens upon opening in June. The pet-friendly hotel will feature futuristic themes with nods to Roosevelt Island’s history.

• Ace Hotel Brooklyn is expected to open in July in Boerum Hill, on the cusp of Downtown Brooklyn. Designed by Roman and Williams, the 287-room hotel will feature a communal lobby, a verdant indoor garden room, multiple event spaces, a large-scale installation by artist Stan Bitters, and guest rooms that feature floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of Manhattan, Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty.

• Expected to open this fall a few steps from Madison Square Park, The Fifth Avenue Hotel will boast high ceilings and a large ballroom, as well as a multilevel restaurant and a bank vault that has been transformed into a wine cellar.

• Development is underway on the 210-room Renaissance Hotel Harlem, which is expected to open this fall above the historic 1917 Victoria Theater. Near the Apollo Theater on West 125th Street, the development also includes a cultural center, retail, and apartments.

• The 40-story Ritz-Carlton New York NoMad will be the City’s second RitzCarlton when it opens on 28th Street and Broadway later this year and will include an outpost of the Mediterranean restaurant Zaytinya, by Chef José Andrés. The Virgin Hotel will be the brand’s first NYC property upon opening in NoMad later this year. The new hotel will feature 463 guest rooms, multiple food and beverage venues and a rooftop pool and bar.


• The Jacob K. Javits Center is completing a 11,500-sq.-m. expansion projected to open this spring, including a 5,000-sq.-m. special event space, a new indoor/ outdoor rooftop pavilion that can accommodate 1,500 people, a .4-hectar rooftop farm to be used in the millions of meals served at the space, 8,300 sq.-m. of exhibit space, and more. Although the Javits Center is currently serving as a vaccination site, it will soon welcome people from around the world for conventions, meetings and more at the expanded space.

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First published at Travel Industry Today

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