No one knows New York City better than the city’s top concierges! It’s no secret that the pandemic has changed how life and travel look in New York City today. As a result, we’ve asked The New York City Association of Hotel Concierges what new things they recommend exploring in the Big Apple.
Discover what’s new in New York City, in the 4th Annual New York By Rail NYC Association of Hotel Concierges survey.
This past spring, we surveyed the New York City Association of Hotel Concierges for our annual print edition of New York by Rail. Considering all of the changes that have been brought to New York over the past couple of years, we decided to ask these New York City experts what’s changed and what’s new.
Christopher M.: Little Island and SUMMIT One Vanderbilt are worth a visit on your next NYC trip.
Mary: Edge Observation Deck 30 at Hudson Yards.
Thomas: Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City has a broad spectrum of activities and exhibits along with sculptures. Positioned on the East River, it has nice views of Manhattan. A setting sun can make it magical.
John: Manhattan West, the area directly east of Hudson Yards has a lot of great restaurants and hotels that just opened.
Bill: The Spyscape Museum on 8th Avenue is the perfect spot to let your inner 007 run wild.
Johannes: Try City Climb at the Edge. You can see New York City in a unique way- it’s an adventure unlike any other in the world.
Lorenzo: Stranger Things Store, Treasures; the Polonsky Exhibit at New York Public Library on 42nd and 5th Avenue and the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.
Regena: Broadway is back and, as always, is changing as art mirrors life. We are seeing shows coming from new voices embracing diversity and change.
SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is one of the newer attractions in New York City, and it’s already made quite the impression. Here, you can ascend to the 92nd and 93rd floors to find 360 sweeping views of the skyline. Significant buildings like the Empire State Building and more can be easily viewed from these towering heights. Aside from the fantastic views, SUMMIT One provides an immersive experience like no other, all while being steps away from Amtrak’s Moynihan Train Hall.
Harald: Rockefeller Center is undergoing a massive change, adding new dining and shopping options for an exciting summer ahead. Well-known restaurants and popular retail names will soon fill the area for all to enjoy.
John: My favorite new thing in dining is that more and more refined dining is expanding beyond New American, French and Italian cuisine. I am seeing more fine dining or elevated dishes in Asian, Latin and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Noureddine: Seoul’s finest dishes can be had at Onjium.
Johannes: Le Pavillon from Daniel Boulud was an instant hit, serving innovative French cuisine in a relaxing yet elegant environment.
Helen: There is a new mighty craft beer and natural skin contact wine scene in the Lower East Side. My favorite go-to place is the one-stop shop: Essex Market. There, you’ll find Grand Delancey, which is the kin of Church Key in Washington D.C., and Peoples Wines.
Mary: My local Italian restaurant, La Viletta, on 52nd and 1st Ave has now added a pizza café and a sharing book library which is set up outside for the neighbors to bring and take books.
Lorenzo: Iris on 55th and Broadway, HaSalon in Hell’s Kitchen, Blue Willow in Midtown, Kumi at Le Meridien.
Maurice: 11 Madison Park’s fine dining plant-based menu in support of our planet.
When it comes to the food offered at Essex Market, it’s hard to compete. Located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Essex Market is renowned for being “NYC’s most historic public market,” according to essexmarket.nyc.
At 88 Essex Street, you can experience food from a large and distinct variety of vendors. Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, coffee, fish or practically anything else, most of what you’re looking for can be easily found here. Plus, there’s some pretty fun events to be experienced year-round!
Rafael: More bike lanes and e-bikes, which are a great way to enjoy the city. Hudson River Park is becoming more lively every year. The Shed has great performances and art exhibits.
Mary: The way we dine out has changed the most. The choice of indoor or outdoor dining now makes a huge difference with lots of lights, flowers and trees to add to the appeal. Also, there is more chance of getting a reservation with the added tables.
Frederick B.: The waterfronts. From the Hudson Yards, all along the Hudson River, to the newly redone South Street Seaport, across the East to the Brooklyn Bridge Park all the way up to Long Island City.
Regena: Guests are even more interested in outdoor activities. I love to share my favorite parks and walks with guests who want to venture out. St. Nicholas Park is one that I love. You can enter the park just around the corner from Maison Harlem 127th Street and St. Nicholas. It’s a quiet walk with a quiet you wouldn’t expect in New York City.
Lorenzo: Contactless entry on Metro/Subways. Metro Card is no longer needed.
Rafael: Times Square has positively changed for pedestrians. The new hotel additions are great for the neighborhood and city.
Over the past couple of years, New York City has prioritized safety and the great outdoors. In the wake of the pandemic, it was important to look into outdoor dining, environmental-friendly transportation and contactless entry on the subway.
After opening in the spring of 2021, Little Island offered additional outdoor space for New Yorkers and tourists to explore. This public park on the Hudson River at Pier 55 is quite literally, a small manmade island. Its innovative design and diverse activities offer a unique city adventure that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Noureddine: Hudson Yards is the new destination that locals and visitors enjoy visiting. The neighborhood buzzes with activity and is known for chic art galleries, inviting restaurants and bars, and international fashion and design.
John: DUMBO is still a good area to send guests to. They feel they are getting out of the city, but still have a lot of dining and entertainment options.
Mary: Lower East Side for a full day and evening.
Kevin: My neighborhood of Jackson Heights has something for everyone. 74th Street is known as “Little India” for its plethora of sari and jewelry shops, and for the best Indian food anywhere. You can also sample cuisines from Mexico, Colombia, Peru and more.
Johannes: The Village is an area that’s full of quaint shops and restaurants, 19th Century townhouses and tree-lined streets. You might forget you are in a big city here as village life has an easy, more relaxed pace.
David: Williamsburg and Astoria.
Lorenzo: The Seaport’s Pier 17.
A significant part of what makes New York City so great is its many communities and neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own culture and contributes to the New York City we all know and love today.
While visiting, you really can’t go wrong with Greenwich Village and Hudson Yards. Washington Square Park is the gathering space for friends, family, vendors and important events. While Hudson Yards is a one-stop-shop for fun and adventure. The Vessel and Edge are two of the city’s most popular attractions.
Amtrak has taken several initiatives to ensure the safety of its passengers. They have committed to requiring face masks for all passengers, converting the cafe car to takeout only, adding social distance signage, and much more.