New York City is ready to dazzle visitors again

New York City felt almost bustling again as I walked the streets enjoying the warm spring weather on a recent trip.

The city, like many others, has changed forever after more than two years of the COVID pandemic, but in New York fashion, the Big Apple is returning. This was my second trip in six months after a break of about two and a half years.

New Yorkers rolled up their sleeves (more than 80% are vaccinated), masked up and did just about everything they could to get their groove back. However, COVID subvariants continue to emerge in the ongoing pandemic. Some sites still require proof of vaccination and masks. Face coverings are still mandatory on all public transport until further notice and in Broadway theaters at least until May 31.

Recently, COVID cases have increased in New York City due to Omicron’s new highly contagious subvariant, BA.2.12.1. People planning to visit should check the city visitors site (under Basic Information) for the latest information.

New York City Pride returns to an in-person march in Manhattan on June 26. Photo: Courtesy of Madison Voelkel/NYC Pride

Some Broadway shows have canceled performances due to COVID. Other shows take place. New restaurants are opening and reservations are harder to come by than ever. New museum exhibits are opening. Big events return like New York Pride, which returns in person on June 26 with the theme “Unapologetically Us.”

“Our community has gone through tremendous hardship over the past few years, starting with the pandemic, and continuing with social justice, threats to our democracy and, most recently, armed conflict overseas,” said New NYC Pride Executive Director Sandra Perez. , in a March 25 press release. “These struggles are compounded by the onslaught of legislation across the country that directly targets LGBTQIA+ people.

“Despite these challenges and attacks, we are here to tell the country and the world: we will not be erased,” Perez continued, saying the community is standing together to face attacks on the LGBTQ community across the country. and around. the world. “We will continue to love and live our truth and be ourselves full and whole – and we are not going to apologize for that.”

NYC Pride Board Co-Chair Sue Doster spoke of the importance of the annual celebration, which draws more than two million people from the United States and around the world.

“We are thrilled to finally be able to invite everyone back,” she said.

Tourism officials said the city is bouncing back.

“The city is more vibrant than ever,” said Chris Heywood, a gay man who serves as executive vice president of global communications for NYC & Company, New York’s office of destination marketing and convention and visitors.

The pandemic hasn’t completely stopped New York from modernizing, innovating, and building new hotels, spectacular venues, and opening new restaurants.

“That’s the beauty of New York,” Heywood continued. “Resilience is really our middle name. People will encounter a city that keeps coming back.

New rides

Some of the new things to see in New York are Summit One Vanderbilt, Moynihan Train Hall and Little Island, the last park near the Chelsea Piers.

The newest vantage point in town is at Summit One Vanderbilt. The Summit is a 65,000 square foot space atop the 93-story office and residential building at One Vanderbilt adjacent to Grand Central Station.

A new view of New York from The Summit at One Vanderbilt. Photo: Heather Cassel

The Observatory Deck opened in October 2021. It’s more than the tallest view (yet) in New York; it is an experience with a view. Each room is an artistic installation accentuating the feeling of being high in the sky or in the clouds. At the very top are Apres and the Summit Terrace, where my girlfriend and I enjoyed a cocktail while admiring the sparkling New York skyline under the night sky.

Sunset tickets are about $16 more. The Summit doesn’t detail the extra amount at checkout, but that’s for experiencing the Summit at the golden hour, the optimal time of day.

It wouldn’t be New York without the many opportunities to see art. This spring and summer, visitors can attend the 80th edition of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2022 Biennial: Quiet As It’s Kept, which opened on April 6. The two-story exhibit brings together a survey of 63 American artists exploring the darkness and disruption of 2020. The title is a colloquial phrase taken from the late novelist Toni Morrison. The show runs until September 5.

Lovers of Henri Mattise can witness a rare display of the French artist’s early works that shaped modern art at the Museum of Modern Art exhibition “Mattise: l’atelier rouge”, which opened its Doors May 1. The exhibition runs until September 10.

The Brooklyn Museum presents “Andy Warhol: Revelation,” on view until June 19.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music presents the DanceAfrica festival, which celebrates its 45th anniversary until the end of this month.

I rarely leave New York without seeing at least one show on Broadway. Right now it’s all about the classics and some new musicals (“Wicked”, “Chicago” and “Funny Girl”) and plays (“Plaza Suite” and “To Kill A Mockingbird”).

Eat and drink

Food attracts my girlfriend and I to New York just as much as Broadway musicals. For this trip, I researched restaurants that were old favorites that survived the pandemic, some that were reborn, and some that were new.

During the day we had lunch in the fun, cheeky and very cheerful cafeteria; a Chelsea neighborhood staple, Elmo; and celebrity chef and restaurateur David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar.

In the evening, we went into town tasting dishes cooked by some of the best lesbian chefs in New York. Chef and restaurateur duo Rita Sodi and Jody Williams’ beloved Via Carota lived up to the hype. You can’t go wrong with the pasta, but this is outstanding pasta. I also dined at the culinary couple’s new venture The Commerce Inn. He strays from the usual territory of chefs, French and Italian cuisine, exploring and modernizing the hit American Shaker dishes.

Lesbian executive chef Hillary Sterling has crafted a distinctive Italian menu during Ci Siamo restaurateur Danny Meyer’s latest culinary adventure. Michelin-starred lesbian executive chef Mary Attea of ​​The Musket Room serves a revised world to your plate. There was no doubt I wouldn’t enjoy chef and restaurateur Mark Strausman’s new restaurant, Mark’s Off Madison, which has a cozy atmosphere and amazing, flavorful comfort food.

Two unique restaurants that could signal a shift in the queer dining scene in New York are Tagmo and Hags. Both restaurants are owned and operated by gay men. They actively hire LGBTQ staff and are deeply involved in the community.

Chef restaurateur Telly Justice, right, and sommelier Camille Lindsley, are set to open Hags, New York’s first-ever queer fine-dining restaurant. Photo: Courtesy Hags

Queer chef Surbhi Sahni is the heart of Tagmo, an Indian restaurant that opened in Seaport, a small shopping and food court near One World Trade Center, in September 2021. Tagmo is not your average Indian restaurant. Dining there is a gastronomic adventure through India with all its diverse cuisines.

Queer chef and restaurateur Surbhi Sahni brings the world of India to New York at Tagmo Restaurant in the Seaport neighborhood. Photo: Courtesy of Tagmo/Brittainy Newman

The highly anticipated Hags is set to open just before Memorial Day weekend, May 25. The Lower Eastside restaurant aims to be the first high-end queer restaurant, according to business and life partners Telly Justice, a transgender woman, and Camille Lindsley, a queer woman.

New York nightlife isn’t quite what it used to be. My girlfriend and I enjoyed first night drinks at Tiny’s & The Bar Upstairs in Tribeca, the historic Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, and Bar Veloce in Chelsea.

Mainstays of the village’s lesbian bars – Henrietta Hudson and Cubbyhole – and Ginger’s Bar in Brooklyn have had a facelift during the pandemic and recently reopened. Attend traveling lesbian events hosted by Dyke Beer and Dave’s Lesbian Bar on their websites or follow them on social media.

The boys are back in action from Midtown to Harlem with bars and nightclubs for every rainbow flag band. Discover the chic The Townhouse of New York in Midtown. Head to the West Village Playhouse or get nostalgic at Julius’, New York’s oldest gay bar, and the historic Stonewall Inn. Head to Harlem for the latest black-owned gay bar Alibi Lounge.

Ohere to stay

My girlfriend and I stayed at the Smyth Tribeca. The newly refurbished, modern 100-room hotel opened in September 2021. The hotel is comfortable, chic and perfectly located on the corner of Chambers Street and West Broadway, above Line 1 of the Westside. The subway line is a direct vein to Broadway, the Village, and many of New York’s most popular destinations.

Move

The New York City Subway is going contactless with Omny, an app that lets riders hop on and off the subway and buses with their smartphones and other smart devices. Passengers can choose to use the metro card or the app to get around the city.

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