New York City: What’s Your View?
The energy of New York City is unlike any other, offering groups a bounty of ways to explore and enjoy all the experiences only the Big Apple could bring.
Each opportunity provides a different perspective on the destination's diverse population, vibrant attractions and bustling streets. So whether your groups are traversing their way through the city's five boroughs or venturing further afar, we take a look (literally) at a variety of different views your groups could appreciate during their visit. Photo ops abound!
IN THE CLOUDS
There's something otherworldly about getting a bird's-eye view of the most populous city in the U.S. For groups looking to be among the clouds, seek out one of NYC's stunning observatories and experiences.
Named the most Instagrammable place in the world by ELLE, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt offers groups six unique immersive and artistic experiences throughout three floors over 1,100 feet above the NYC streets. In addition to 80 miles of NYC and beyond as a backdrop, thrill seekers can brave the stunning view from Levitation—a glass-bottomed sky box, while those looking for a moment of serenity can find it with Yayoi Kusama's Reflect installation. Those with a playful spirit will enjoy the reflective floating orbs of Affinity.
If actual heights aren't your group's favorite but they still want the high-flying experience, a visit to the new RiseNY should do the trick. The experience begins with an immersive short film documenting the history of NYC before transitioning into engaging, interactive galleries highlighting iconic points in NYC's pop culture. Inside the RiseNY world-class flying theater, groups will get a soaring tour of the city that never sleeps, admiring landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Yankee Stadium, the Brooklyn Bridge and more.
With 9,500 square feet of unobstructed outdoor viewing space, the most of any New York observatory, Top of the Rock gives groups much to explore. While there, be sure to enjoy The Beam, a new attraction lifting visitors 12 feet into the air to recreate the iconic 1932 "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" photo of 11 ironworkers eating lunch upon a steel beam while 30 Rockefeller Plaza was under construction.
Groups also won't want to miss the multiple exhibits and unobstructed views at the Empire State Building Observatories and the chance to lean out over the city on angled glass outside the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere at Edge at Hudson Yards.
FROM THE AUDIENCE
The opportunity to bask in the beauty of a live performing arts experience is one every group should have the privilege to enjoy. Thankfully, New York City is full to the brim with ways to do just that!
As the New York City Ballet celebrates its 75th anniversary, groups are invited to Lincoln Center to be transported to a place of pure beauty and wonder as the artistry of the company's world-class dancers and musicians takes center stage. As their season continues to honor the arc of the company's expansive repertory works, they're welcoming back a well-loved revival and ushering in new entries and world premieres that are not to be missed.
Lincoln Center is also home to the Metropolitan Opera, a staple New York City experience. Showcasing a range of musical and production styles, the Met's spring season offers something for everyone to enjoy—from first-timers to seasoned aficionados. The spectacular lineup includes Bizet's Carmen and Verdi's La Forza del Destino, as well as a dozen popular revivals like Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Turandot, and Gounod's Roméo et Juliette. Also returning is the smash hit from last year, Kevin Put's The Hours.
Of course, no NYC trip is complete without a Broadway show. Consider fresh arrivals such as The Heart of Rock and Roll, a new musical inspired by the iconic songs of Huey Lewis and The News (premiering in March) or classics like Sweeney Todd and Spamalot. Don't forget Carnegie Hall, whose musical performances span three venues and whose private group tours, led by expert docents, bring history to life.
BESIDE THE WATER
Many will agree—it's hard to beat a water view! In New York City and beyond, groups will find a number of waterfront wonders, alongside a hefty dose of history.
Groups will find awe-inspiring sights at Intrepid Museum, which showcases history and STEM through technological marvels. Some highlights include: The first space shuttle and the world's fastest supersonic jet; America's only nuclear missile guided submarine available to the public; and over 25 different aircraft, all displayed in and around the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, a national historic landmark. Stories from the past, present and future are also examined through real missions in an immersive 4D theater, which recreates missions and the opportunity to explore the moon and beyond through virtual reality adventures and 3D films.
While not in NYC proper, incorporating a visit to Niagara Falls USA during your visit to the state is a must. Founded in 1886, Niagara Falls State Park is America's oldest state park and a popular point of interest, not to mention a newly opened $46 million Welcome Center. From thrilling water adventures to fascinating historical sites, there are a variety of things to do! Don't forget: Niagara Falls USA will be in the path of a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Niagara Falls State Park has many ideal viewpoints, including Prospect Point, Terrapin Point and an Observation Tower.
AT A WELCOMING TABLE
Of course, groups will need to refuel from all that adventure. Sink into the comfort and ease of a view from a booth, bar top or family-style dining table.
It's always five o' clock at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in Times Square, a place where groups of all kinds can kick back and enjoy the tropical vibes, no matter what time of year it is. This two-story tropical oasis will get groups to truly embrace a vacation state of mind—right in the middle of the concrete jungle. Options abound, from a sunrise breakfast to buffet stations and plated three-course meals. Don't forget the signature margaritas!
Feel like you're dining amongst family at Carmine's, with locations in the heart of Times Square and on the Upper West Side. With appetizers like Baked Clams, entrees like Penne Alla Vodka and dessert cocktails like a Café Affogato Martini, it's safe to say groups will leave satisfied and ready to take on the next adventure on their itinerary.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.
This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb '24 issue of Groups Today.
Photo Courtesy of SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, Evan Joseph/Matt Richie.