The Big Apple is ripe for the picking!

New York City tops many a traveller’s list of must-visit and revisit. As though you didn’t have enough already, we give you plenty of new reasons to visit once the US opens up to vaccinated tourists in November.
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Are you ready for a big bite of the Big Apple? Image: Shutterstock/Niyom Napalai.

You’ve been waiting to get your NYC fix. With the US government readying to ease their bans on travellers from 33 countries, including India, from November, there’s hope for you yet. And for them as well, since the American travel industry certainly needs a shot in the arm like every other in the world.

Fred Dixon, President and CEO, NYC & Company, says, “As New York City rebounds and visitors return to our vibrant neighbourhoods across the five boroughs, an entire new slate of offerings awaits, underscoring our message to travellers: It’s Time for New York City.”

Broadway beckons

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On Broadway. Image: Shutterstock/Loren Orr.

For many brought up on a diet of Bollywood, the bright lights and song and dance of Broadway have a special appeal. But post-pandemic, theatregoers are taking time to warm up to the idea of taking in a show at one of the 41 professional theatres in the theatre district of Midtown Manhattan again. Which is why, the Broadway League has created a dazzling 150-minute video that features memorable bits from almost a hundred past as well as current Broadway shows to rekindle the spark amongst Broadway enthusiasts the world over. Titled ‘This is Broadway’, the centrepiece of the marketing campaign that has been launched by producers and unions, it features some of the world’s top stars in a magnificent montage, narrated by Oprah Winfrey. Classics like The Lion King, Chicago, Wicked as well as newer productions, including Hadestown, Waitress, Hamilton, Come From Away; and brand-new shows like Thoughts of a Colored Man, Diana and Mrs Doubtfire; and many more await. Check the schedule here.

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Full house at the Amsterdam Theatre before the pandemic. Image: Shutterstock/PitStock,

New attractions

The Phoenix Family Thrill Roller Coaster opened this summer at Coney Island. Standing 68 feet tall, the new ride will reach speeds of 34 miles per hour and guarantees a thrilling new addition at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, which celebrated its 100th season last year.

QC NY, a new spa by the visionaries behind QC Terme Spas & Resorts in Italy, is projected to open next month on Governors Island, marking the first QC property in the US.

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A new spa will open here on Governors Island soon. Image: Kreg Holt.

Opening on October 21, SUMMIT will be NYC’s newest observation deck and immersive experience at the crown of the iconic new One Vanderbilt skyscraper. 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 over 1,000 feet above Madison Avenue. The observation deck will also offer food and beverage options created by Danny Meyer.

RiseNY by Running Subway, a new entertainment attraction opening later this year, will connect visitors to NYC in a unique and extraordinary way, exploring the history of NYC via live actors, immersive media and museum galleries, culminating with a soaring ride.

The magic of museums

‘KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature’ on display until October 31 at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, features 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 colourful flowers and floral sculptures.

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The Kusama Dancing Pumpkin. Image: OTA Fine Arts/Robert Benson.

The ‘Banksy: Genius or Vandal?’ exhibition dedicated to the famous British artist is on at 526 Sixth Avenue through the Thanksgiving weekend in end November. The exhibit dives into the controversial artistic universe of one of the most influential creators today and features more than 80 genuine, authenticated artworks by Banksy from private European collections.

In May, the Whitney Museum of American Art debuted ‘Day’s End’ by David Hammons as a permanent public art project located in Hudson River Park, directly across from the museum. The exhibition pays homage to Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 artwork of the same name in the same location. ‘Day’s End’ alludes 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.

The completely redesigned ‘Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals’ opened at the American Museum of Natural History in June. The halls feature nearly 5,000 specimens from 95 countries, including two amethyst geodes that are among the world’s largest on public display, which 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.

‘Automania’ on display at MoMA through January 2, 2022, showcases an in-depth look at automobiles, an object that has inspired innovation, social transformation and critical debate. The exhibition addresses the conflicted feelings that developed in response to cars and car culture in the 20th century through cars and car parts, architectural models, films, photographs, posters, paintings and sculptures.

‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’, made its New York premiere at the Brooklyn Museum earlier this month. The exhibition, on display through February 20, 2022, covers the groundbreaking history and legacy of the House of Dior and highlights Dior’s many sources of inspiration, including a variety of over 200 haute couture garments as well as photographs, sketches, archival videos, vintage perfume elements and accessories.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art launched the Costume Institute’s newest exhibition, a two-part show on view through September 5, 2022. Part one, ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’, opened on September 18 and celebrates the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary, 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.

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The iconic Met. Image: Kate Glicksberg.

‘Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG)’, opened at the New-York Historical Society on October 1, is based on the popular Tumblr and bestselling book of the same name. The exhibition, on display through January 23, 2022, will take an expansive look at RBG, highlighting her efforts to protect civil rights and foster equal opportunity for all.

Greater New York, MoMA PS1’s signature survey of artists living and working in the NYC area, returned to Long Island City, Queens, for its fifth edition, October 7 through April 18, 2022. This iteration offers an intimate representation of NYC through the work of 47 artists and collectives, forging connections between often under-examined histories of art making in the City.

Due to its successful summer run, the ‘Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit New York’ will return to Pier 36 from November 17 through January 2, 2022. It will feature Vincent Van Gogh’s art in a captivating digital exhibit, giving guests the rare opportunity to ‘step inside’ the artist’s work. Additionally, ‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’, a separate 360-degree digital art exhibition at the Skylight on Vesey in Lower Manhattan, is running now through January 2022.

The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, is undergoing a physical and programmatic expansion for a new cultural centre with an interactive exhibit, archival collections, 68-seat Jazz club and store, projected to open by the end of the year.

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An interactive turntable at the soon-to-open Louis Armstrong House Museum.

Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic have accelerated the revitalisation of the iconic David Geffen Hall, which is slated to reopen in fall 2022. This project will create a premier home for the New York Philharmonic, providing acoustical and visual intimacy for audiences, along with a reconfigured and reenergized Grand Promenade that will create one of the largest gathering spaces at a performance facility in NYC. Additionally, the Sidewalk Studio, a new addition visible from the street, will be a home for educational, artistic and community activities.

Incredible infrastructure

Opened earlier this year, the Moynihan Train Hall is a spectacular 92-foot-high train hall with soaring skylights that transformed the landmark James A. Farley Post Office Building into a 21st-century transportation hub serving LIRR and Amtrak passengers, with 50 per cent more concourse space, state-of-the-art wayfinding, and information displays.

The Javits Center completed its 1.2-million-square-foot expansion, including a glass-enclosed pavilion, an outdoor terrace, a green roof that serves as a habitat for area wildlife and a one-acre working farm, which is expected to generate up to 40,000 pounds of produce each year; and more.

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The Javits Center rooftop. Image: Courtesy NYC & Company.

LaGuardia Airport’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 Delta’s new Terminal C, visitors will be greeted by a new airport fit for the 21st century with its two new terminals connected by a magnificent Central Hall, featuring the Orpheus and Apollo sculpture formerly at Lincoln Center.

Newark Liberty International Airport’s brand-new Terminal A, a one-million sq foot terminal that will be 20 per cent larger than the existing Terminal A, will feature 33 new gates and cutting edge design changes built into the structure. The new terminal, which will be a ‘common use’ terminal with all gates utilised by multiple carriers for increased flexibility and efficiency to optimise operations, will also feature state-of-the-art technology and safety features, and biometric upgrades.  

Fresh dining

Featuring Indian dishes from the subcontinent and beyond, SONA opened earlier this year in the Flatiron District with dishes such as Malabar chicken biriyani and tandoor roasted beets. The elegant restaurant resembles Mumbai in the late 1930s with an Art Deco lounge that flows into a rear dining room.

Owners of the recently opened Hudson Smokehouse in the South Bronx, Steve Zera, Kenny McPartlan and Ana McPartlan, are known for their Southern-inspired menu offering baked beans, briskets, smash burgers and a variety of BBQ chicken wings.

In May, massive Midtown seafood restaurant Le Pavillon by Daniel Boulud opened at the base of One Vanderbilt with 100 seats, a 30-seat bar and a flowering garden with real black olive trees. The seafood establishment is a nod to the first haute French restaurant in NYC that opened in 1941 and closed in the early 1970s.

Nneji opened in Astoria, Queens, earlier this month, serving Nigerian food including West African soups and stews.

Located in the Seaport District, the recently opened Tagmo was founded by award-winning chef Surbhi Sahni and offers Indian cuisine, with mostly vegetarian fare and sweets, in a colourful setting.

The Great Jones Distilling Co is Manhattan’s first whiskey distillery in Noho, offering experiences such as distillery tours and six-course whiskey and culinary pairing experiences. A restaurant called The Grid also opens within the space today.

Cha Kee opened in Manhattan’s Chinatown in mid-September, serving Japanese-influenced Cantonese dishes. The restaurant is overseen by co-owner Jimmy Fong and executive chef Akiko Thurnauer, who previously worked at Mission Chinese, Nobu Tribeca and En Japanese Brasserie.

The food complex at Manhattan West, which opened on September 28, offers plenty of diverse food options including Danny Meyer’s restaurant Ci Siamo, an ode to Italy with an outdoor terrace, and Eastern Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Zou Zou’s, which serves cuisines from Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan.

The L’Artusi team has opened a casual wine bar in the West Village called B’artusi, with a vast selection of wine to choose from, and a menu of food by L’Artusi’s executive chef Joe Vigorito.

Acclaimed Japanese chef Tadashi Yoshida will open Yoshino New York in Noho this fall, featuring an intimate setting of 12 comfy chairs for diners to enjoy sushi omakase dinners.

Melba Wilson, the chef and owner of Melba’s, will open a new seafood restaurant this fall, Melba’s Mussels, located in South Harlem. The restaurant will offer mussel dishes inspired by notable icons such as Sophia Loren and Frida Kahlo.

Agi’s Counter, by chef Jeremy Salamon, is a Jewish and Eastern European–influenced restaurant that will open near Prospect Park in Brooklyn in October. Chef Salamon’s menu includes Hungarian and Austrian wines and to-go pastry options.

In November, The Masalawala, led by restaurateur Roni Mazumdar and chef Chintan Pandya (the team behind the highly reviewed Adda restaurant in Long Island City), will move from the Lower East Side to its new location at Park Slope, Brooklyn, and offer dishes from Kolkata along with regional Indian fare from Pandya. The restaurant will also sell special spice blends.

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Reimagined in a new space. Image: Courtesy The Masalawala.

Also opening in November, Urbanspace Zero Irving, a 22-storey office building located in Union Square, will host 13 vendors, a quarter of which are first-time start-ups, offering a vast selection of food with an outdoor patio for guests to dine. The food hall will be Urbanspace’s fifth location.

This fall, Don Cheech will open near Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island. Chef Massimo Felici, born in Florence, Italy, will create Italian-inspired meals with an emphasised American flair.

Later this year, José Andrés will open an outpost of Mediterranean restaurant Zaytinya in the new Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad.

Wow waterfront activities

Citi Bike is now one of the largest bike share systems in the world, second only to China’s, with this year’s expansion in Inwood and Washington Heights.

A statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was unveiled this spring at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn and is available for public viewing daily. Created by contemporary artists Gillie and Marc, the bronze statue underscores the importance of gender equality in public art.

This spring, Little Island opened at Pier 55 as a free public park featuring green space, a 687-seat amphitheater, a plaza, lawn space, food and beverage offers and more.

In June, Hudson River Park opened a redesigned Pier 76, including outdoor flexible space, numerous interpretive plaques relaying the history of the area and a propeller from the SS United States passenger liner, famous as the record holder for the fastest passenger ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

In August, NYC Ferry launched the St George route from Staten Island to Battery Park City and Midtown West. Next up, the Coney Island route (to Bay Ridge and Wall Street) and an extension of the Soundview route (to Ferry Point Park/Throgs Neck) will launch later this year.

Retail therapy

The RealReal opened in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, this year, making the location its third NYC store. The luxury-consignment store offers gently used adult and children’s clothes, jewellery, fine art and home decor at a fraction of the original cost. 

This spring, Loeffler Randall opened its first storefront in Soho, and the inaugural shop showcases the brand’s unique shoes, handbags and accessories in the trendy neighbourhood. 

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

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Inside Harry Potter New York. Image: Courtesy NYC & Company.

This fall, Madison Avenue shoppers will have the opportunity to visit new the flagship boutiques of Fendi, LTD x Lizzie Tisch, Manolo Blahnik and Sleepy Jones; the newly imagined and expanded flagships of Akris and Brunello Cucinelli; and the City’s newest venue for major art shows, Art House New York (a five-storey exhibition hall in the former location of Barneys New York, opening on November 3 with ‘Nurse Heroes & Women Who Dared’).

Century 21 is expected to make its return to the five boroughs later this year, though the specifics of where and when are still being finalised.

Exciting events

The TCS New York City Marathon is back this year as a spectator event. On November 7, 33,000 runners (60 per cent capacity of previous years’ races) are expected to run the five-borough course.

The 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will return in-person with spectators this year. Kicking off at nine am on November 25, the iconic holiday event will include marching bands, cheer and specialty group performances, signature floats and balloons, with more details to be announced.

For a list of recent openings and reopenings, check here.

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