(4/12-4/18) Looking for what to do in NYC during corona? There's more to do in the city now than there's been in months, including the reopening of many of the city's cultural destinations. Governor Cuomo has greenlighted New York City restaurants to reopen for indoor dining, expanded now to 50% capacity indoors. Read on for more in-person reopenings and other things to do in NYC this week!
4/20 in NYC
Munchies Specials. Photo: Miss Lilys.
In light of the recent legalization news, this year's 4/20 may be particularly big in NYC. To celebrate 4/20, celebrated Caribbean oasis with authentic Jamaican fare Miss Lily's 7A will be opening early. They'll have a menu of "Munchies Specials" from 3-6pm, including their most beloved dishes like jerk grilled wings and hot pepper shrimp (above). The full lineup includes:
- Jerk Grilled Wings ($1 each)
- Hot Pepper Shrimp ($2 each)
- Jerk Pork Spare Ribs ($3 each)
- Banana Pudding ($5)
- Rum Punches ($9)
Also for 4/20, The Standard, High Line will celebrate 4/20 with Pix on the Plaza, the Standard's outdoor movie series, screening the cult classic film Dazed and Confused. In partnership with MedMen. Bar Manager Will Talbott will feature a specialty cocktail, L-I-V-I-N, a nod to the classic film, with gin, strawberry, grapefruit, kombucha...and a little something extra. Guests can also expect a CBD giveaway from MedMed, in addition to movie candy, free popcorn, and the full dinner menu from The Standard Grill. Reservations are encouraged and can be booked here, 21+.
This Week's Behind The Experience Video
What kind of spy would you be? Would you have the nerve? Find out right here in NYC. Behind The Experience takes you behind the scenes of SPYSCAPE, an immersive espionage experience in midtown. We share some secrets, like the story of the double agent assigned to find himself and why New York is where it all began, and tell you about a perfect idea for a first date.
WHAT TO DO IN NYC DURING COVID
Despite the coronavirus, there's still plenty to do—safely—in the city. Stay in the loop with:
ART IN THE GARDEN PERFORMANCES
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is adding to an already colorful experience with pop up music and dance on spring weekends. The shows are free with garden admission (while you're there you'll find 12 different kinds of cherry trees in bloom).
OPENING! KUSAMA: COSMIC NATURE
One of the most popular artists in the world is now on view in the Bronx. Japanese pioneer Yayoi Kusama shares her lifelong fascination with nature at the New York Botanical Garden. Monumental floral sculptures and immersive works inspired by plants and flowers are waiting. (Plus there are worse times of year to find yourself in a botanical garden.)
COMEDY & KARAOKE
Catch some laughs and sing, too. Every Thursday night Comedy Nite Live is doing stand-up at midtown's RPM Underground. You've seen the performers on Late Night TV, Comedy Central, Netflix, Amazon, and more comedy clubs than you can shake a laugh track at. Your ticket comes with the chance to show off your pipes in a private karaoke room after the show. City Guide readers can get in at a discount—use the promo CITYGUIDE and take $5 off.
AN UNDERGROUND CABARET
Pictured: Ben Franklin. Photo by Giles Clement.
Downtown Brooklyn's DeKalb Stage has launched the Underground Cabaret, A Circus & Burlesque Speakeasy Spectacular. Live aerialists, burlesque, and variety performers can all be found, enhanced by a three-course dinner from Mediterranean restaurant Miznon. It's on Thursday and Saturday evenings, now through the end of May.
El Museo del Barrio is getting you ready for the weekend. In collaboration with The Bronx Brewery and The Salsa Project, find a Jueves Social salsa night en el patio of the brewery. DJ Jayboogie will be spinning the classics through the night. Per COVID, attendance will be limited, but you can always tune in on El Museo's Instagram and check out the party remotely.
THE BRONX NIGHT MARKET IS BACK
Fordham Plaza hosts the popular Bronx Night Market series, which features artisan vendors, family activities, and free admission. There's great food, too, with 20+ spots to buy everything from lobster rolls to yakitori to tostones—with cocktails to accompany. Celebrate culture and cuisine every Saturday from now through November. Hours are noon to 7pm.
A JAZZ FEST RETURNS
Image: BRIC TV.
For the 22nd year, the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival celebrates the musical legacy of its home borough. Starting Friday and running through April 30th, look for a blend of in-person, livestream, and pre-recorded music. Performances are hosted by restaurants and cultural institutions in Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, East New York, and Gowanus. Pictured above is Gerry Eastman, whose Trio plays the Williamsburg Music Center.
William Parker, photo by Jimmy Katz.
A new season of the Walk With The Wind jazz concert series is starting up. There's a new location, Summit Rock in Central Park's Seneca Village, and a new inspiration: the legacy of late congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. Socially distant audiences will gather for the likes of the William Parker Trio (William Parker pictured above). This weekend's shows:
April 24: Marquis Hill Quartet with Joel Ross, Jeremiah Hunt, Marvin Bugulu Smith
April 25: Michael Thomas Quartet with Michael Rodriguez, Edward Perez, Johnathan Blake
LIVE PERFORMANCE RETURNS...
Photo by Robert Altman.
The Guggenheim's performing arts series Works & Process is bringing back live shows and you can't ask for a more epic setting—right inside the spiral of the Guggenheim's rotunda. Choose from 12 one-night-only Works & Process commissions developed in bubble residencies. In addition, through April 19th, Works & Process will present surprise daytime performances in the rotunda. Glimmerglass Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Opera, and The Santa Fe Opera are among the arts groups that will be presenting.
...INCLUDING LIVE THEATRE
The Daryl Roth Theatre has returned to live performance. The first production up is the socially distanced experience Blindness, based on the novel by Nobel Laureate José Saramago. Immersive sound design, lighting, and atmosphere bring viewers into the surreal story, which tells of a world changed in the blink of an eye by a global pandemic. The show runs through September 5th.
Casa Del Toro in Hell's Kitchen is known for imaginative Mexican cooking in a vibrant setting. Every weekend going forward they'll be adding to the atmosphere with live aerialist performances. NYC-based dancer Eliana Wenick will be giving three shows Friday and Saturday nights starting at 7:45pm. Regional signatures, Oaxacan-inspired tacos, and sophisticated craft cocktails complete the experience.
Adam Pass/City Winery.
It's taken a year longer than expected, but City Winery's expansive Pier 57 location in Hudson River Park is at last open for live music. Limited to 25% capacity, intimate shows feature upcoming guests like Rufus Wainwright, Patti Smith, Steve Earle, Raul Malo, Joan Osborne, and Keb' Mo'. Full safety precautions will be in effect.
Bushwick's take on a dearly departed Wisconsin supper club, The Turk’s Inn is gradually reopening. First steps include a series of outdoor concerts on the Kismet Garden rooftop. The Sultan Room Under The Stars open-air shows kick off next Wednesday with local rockers Native Sun. This weekend you can also catch the first of a series of Sultan Sundays day parties on the roof; local DJs will set the tone. Additional entertainment can be find indoors and along the new street café.
As of Friday, you can enjoy a relaxed, Baja California-inspired scene in NoMad. The team behind cocktail lair Patent Pending is dropping a plant-centric menu inspired by the Mexican coast. Think stuffed poblano tacos, posole, and cocktails that pay homage to the botanicals of Baja. Seeyamañana is starting off at limited capacity so reservations for now are prix fixe only.
THE RETURN OF CHARLIE PALMER
What was once Aureole New York at One Bryant Park is now Charlie Palmer Steak NYC. This modern American steakhouse will serve specialties like Porterhouses and Wagyu A5 Miyazaki striploin with luxurious add-ons like Hudson Valley foie gras, lobster tails, and blue cheese. There are seafood picks and steakhouse classic sides, too, and a wine cellar that's 10,000 bottles strong. Lunch and dinner prix fixes are available, in addition to happy hour, and there is both indoor and outdoor seating.
THE FUTURE OF FASHION
Luxury NYC-based womenswear brand Maison De Papillon reimagines the future of fashion with Project Gaia NYC, their brand-new Flatiron District flagship. A carefully curated lineup connects artisans sharing the brand's ethos of sustainability and philanthropy. Look for thoughtful approaches to apparel, homeware, and everything in between.
OUTDOOR WORKOUTS ARE BACK!
Start working on that pandemic body now. For a limited time, guests can experience a signature 45-minute Fhitting Room workout combining HIIT, cardio, and strength training on the stunning Showfields rooftop in NoHo. Workouts are taught by FHITpros and Fhitting Room is bringing the kettlebells (please bring your own mat and water). Also bring Bluetooth headphones and you can move along to a silent disco playlist. All safety protocols will be followed and class sizes will be strictly limited. Available Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Reserve your spot here.
FREE CHEESECAKE FROM JUNIOR'S
Photo: Junior’s Restaurant.
Brooklyn's legendary Junior’s Restaurant is offering mini cupcake-size versions of its iconic cheesecake free for anyone who shows their COVID-19 vaccination record card. Through Memorial Day, just stop by the diner's landmark location in Downtown Brooklyn and get your jab rewarded (one per visitor). Best known for its homemade cheesecake, Junior’s also offers a full diner-style menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, steaks, and seafood. They're also in the spring holiday spirit, right now offering an Easter Egg Cheesecake ($66), available for next-day shipping nationwide through Goldbelly.
THE RETURN OF LIVE COMEDY
I guess we're all overdue for a few laughs? Midtown West comedy favorite Broadway Comedy Club is back with live entertainment and shows are selling out already. (Capacity is limited, as they work to keep events safe.) Red Room and Main Room events are already filling out the calendar, mixing in headliners and up and comers.
INTREPID IS BACK!
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is again welcoming visitors. This National Historic Landmark, which served tours of duty in World War II and the Vietnam War, will be following full COVID safety requirements as it reopens. In addition to Enterprise—the world’s first space shuttle—you can explore the entire historic aircraft collection on the flight deck and in the hangar deck. The museum also took advantage of some down time to open up new spaces and experiences, including the bomb elevator and the ship’s pilot escalator.
TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
Merchants House Parlor by Denis Vlasov. Photo courtesy Merchant's House Museum.
Built in 1832, the East Village's Merchant’s House was home to a prosperous merchant family and their Irish servants for almost a century. Miraculously, the house still retains the family's original furnishings and personal possessions. Stop by for a rare and intimate glimpse of domestic life in New York City from 1835 to 1865. During COVID times, the Merchant's House Museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays only, noon to 5pm. Admission is $15 and advanced ticket purchase is recommended.
NEW ART AT THE WHITNEY
Julie Mehretu, Stadia II, 2004. Ink and acrylic on canvas. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; gift of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn and A.W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund 2004.50. Photograph courtesy the Carnegie Museum. © Julie Mehretu.
A vibrant new show of paintings and works on paper is now open at the Whitney Museum of American Art. This mid-career survey of artist Julie Mehretu is her most comprehensive overview to date, covering explorations of abstraction, architecture, landscape, and figuration.
NEW AUTHENTIC MEXICAN
Kuxe is the word for corn in the indigenous language Totonac, spoken by a native group that can be found in Puebla, Mexico. Celebrating that local cuisine, this Village newcomer from chef Julian Medina and restaurateur Louis Skibar serves “cocina de pueblo”—hometown cooking—with Mexican spirits to match. Traditional and modern techniques come together in an array of standout tacos.
Uptown favorite Ribbon 72 is back with indoor dining, on top of delivery and pickup options. There's a ton to choose from, including 90-minute bottomless brunches on Saturday and Sunday ($49.99) that include entree options like quinoa bowls, chicken 'n' waffles, eggs Benedict, challah French toast, or chilaquiles rojo.
A CHICKEN SANDWICH TO DIE FOR
At the newly opened SoHo ghost kitchen Butterfunk Biscuit, Top Chef's Chris Scott is serving sandwiches using a biscuit recipe that has been in his family for at least four generations. A standout on the menu is the Crispy Fried Chicken Biscuit ($12) above, made with Chef Scott’s famous lemonade buttermilk chicken. It's topped with whipped pimento cheese, hot honey, and bread 'n' butter pickles, making for some ultimate comfort food to go.
A NEW HAPPY HOUR
Photo by Laura Jane Brett.
Upbeat hand roll and ramen spot Hachi Maki recently debuted on the Upper West Side. Now they've added a daily happy hour special. Stop by between 4 and 6pm and get some great deals on drinks: $6 draft beers, $7 Brooklyn Kura sake on tap or select wines, and $9 specialty cocktails. There are bites to match, like $1 Sushikins sushi bombs and the restaurant’s signature Nori Everything Chips ($5), which are served with caramelized onion tuna dip. Pictured above is some very tempting karaage, Japanese fried chicken.
FRICK MADISON LAUNCHES
Room 24: Four grand panels of Fragonard’s series The Progress of Love are shown together at Frick Madison in a gallery illuminated by one of Marcel Breuer’s trapezoidal windows. This view shows two of the 1771–72 paintings, with two later overdoors visible in the next gallery. Photo: Joe Coscia.
Like so many this pandemic year, The Frick Collection got the itch to renovate. While its historic home is getting spruced up, the art has taken up residence in the modern confines of the former Met Breuer. A two-year run here has begun, with a chronological and geographic survey representing the likes of Bellini, Gainsborough, Goya, Rembrandt, Titian, Velázquez, and Vermeer.
DIA CHELSEA IS BACK
Lucy Raven, Ready Mix, 2021. Installation view, Dia Chelsea, New York. © Lucy Raven. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York.
Following a two-year renovation, Dia Chelsea rejoins the city's culture options on Friday. (Among the improvements, admission is now free for all; to maintain social distances, you'll need to reserve in advance.) The first exhibition up is by Lucy Raven. One gallery holds a kinetic light sculpture and a second features a film shot over two years at a concrete plant in Bellevue, Idaho.
A BRAND-NEW TAPROOM
Photo by Sydney Butler.
Craft beer for someone besides beer bros is the concept behind TALEA. Two female brewers came together to produce these fruit-forward, low-bitterness beers. Their new taproom is now open in Williamsburg. (It's the opposite of the dank, dark space you might find the beer bros congregating in.) There's coffee and tea in the morning, followed by beer, wine, cocktails, and snacks. Look for beer flights, beer cocktails, guided tastings, and light bites like cheese and charcuterie plates. Seating is both indoor and out and draft and canned beer are available to go. (BTW, the pronunciation is "tuh-lay-uh.")
CALDER AT THE MOMA
Installation view of Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 14, 2021–August 7, 2021 © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Robert Gerhardt.
Alexander Calder was one of the most beloved sculptors of the 20th century. His ever-changing works reward reflection and a new exhibition at the MoMA provides the space and setting for it. Early wire and wood figures, works on paper, jewelry, mobiles in motion, and monumental abstract sculptures are all on display, showing off the artist's range. Rarely seen works are also installed, including the large-scale Man-Eater with Pennants, on view in the Sculpture Garden for the first time in more than half a century.
A NEW IMMERSIVE ART EXPERIENCE
Head to the historic boiler room of Chelsea Market to experience the immersive art space ARTECHOUSE. The 2021 exhibition season kicked off on March 1st with Geometric Properties. Patterns get a cinematic touch as math artist Julius Horsthuis presents a new reality. Commissioned for ARTECHOUSE NYC, Geometric Properties is the first solo exhibition of Horsthuis's work in New York City. His previous work has been featured in the Academy Award winning Manchester by the Sea (2016) and VFX-breakthrough film Koning van Katoren (2012). The installation is open to all ages and will be on view until September 6th. ARTECHOUSE NYC is open with limited capacity and protocols in place to ensure the safety and health of visitors.
THE QUEENS DRIVE-IN
After a sold-out run in the fall, the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park will once again be hosting movies on the very big screen. Tickets remain for coming attractions like The Shining, The Road Warrior, Dune, The Big Lebowski, and double features like Escape from New York + RoboCop and North by Northwest + From Russia with Love. Concessions from Queens Night Market vendors are happening as well. Gas up for some vintage entertainment!
PRIME VIEWS ARE BACK
Photo: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge.
Harriet's Rooftop & Lounge is back in its 10th floor oasis at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. You can enjoy seasonal bites and signature cocktails against a backdrop of skyline, running along the East River from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Statue of Liberty. The perfect escape.
GAME OF 1000 BOXES
Part game show, part audio-visual thrill ride, Game of 1000 Boxes is the city's brand-new social gaming experience. Gather up your best team of four and head to Midtown West to test wits, instincts, and button-finger agility. 360-degree digital projections make for a highly participatory show and no two are the same. At the end of the show, the winning team gets a mystery box and—more importantly—bragging rights. Right now the venue is in previews and tickets are discounted. On April 9th, Game of 1000 Boxes goes live!
Your own private pool room is a perfect solution to pandemic constraints. In addition to three locations in Brooklyn, the pool lounge company Sharks has dropped a new space in Rockefeller Center. "The Rock Room" is on the concourse level, just down from the Top of the Rock ticketing center. The room is completely private, accommodating up to four guests at a time (more if you arrange things ahead of time). They'll hook you up with cues, chalk, balls, and a Bose Bluetooth speaker. The space is also outfitted with an 8-foot pool table, a lounge area, a flat screen, a mini fridge for BYOB stocking, and a sanitization station. One hour is $50; you can also opt for private lessons.
Niki de Saint Phalle. Last Night I Had a Dream. 1968–88. Painted polyester. Overall dimensions variable. Photo: Laurent Condominas. 2021 Niki Charitable Art Foundation.
MoMA PS1 presents Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life, the first New York museum show of the work of visionary feminist artist Niki de Saint Phalle (American and French, 1930-2002). Sculpture, prints, drawings, jewelry, film, and archival materials will also be on display in a play, exuberant show that also connects to Saint Phalle's engagement with social and political issues.
Casual Brazilian spot Santo Brúklin in Carroll Gardens is putting its backyard to good use. Every Tuesday is Movie Night, with snack platters and unlimited popcorn. If Sundays are more your speed, Santo Brúklin serves its brunch menu from 11am-5pm along with an all-day feijoada (Brazilian pork and black beans stew) option as well. The latter pairs perfectly with bottomless mimosas and caipirinhas. But then again, doesn't everything?
ESTAMOS BIEN–LA TRIENAL 20/21
Joey Terrill, Black Jack 8, 2008, mixed media on canvas. Courtesy the artist.
El Museo del Barrio, the first museum in the country dedicated to Latino art and culture, launches a brand-new exhibition on Saturday. Estamos Bien–La Trienal 20/21 is the museum's first national survey of Latinx art. The selections highlight 42 artists and collectives from across the US and Puerto Rico.
KAWS: WHAT PARTY
JAPAN SOCIETY REOPENS
For the first time since COVID, the elegant galleries of Japan Society have reopened to the public. The first exhibition up is a celebration of the resilient spirit of Japanese craftsmanship through woodworking tools, architectural patterns, and models. When Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan will be on display through July 11th; admission is free for the balance of March.
New interactive art on Williamsburg's waterfront. Jen Lewin, Reflect at Domino Park, Brooklyn, March 2021. Artwork 2021 Jen Lewin. Drone footage by Demian Neufeld, Ryders Alley Media @rydersalleymedia & Matt Emmi @mattemmi. Editing by Joshua Pullar @joshuapullar.
The Brooklyn waterfront is the home of the city's newest interactive art installation. Jen Lewin's Reflect shines with platforms that interact with your steps. Step and you'll trigger splashes of light that create an ever-changing composition. The installation can found in Williamsburg's Domino Park, free and open to the public daily from 8am-10pm.
A RAMEN POP UP
Good Ramen To Eat brings the Upper West Side a night market experience with just the nourishment a cold evening is calling for. This "tachigui-style" pop up is fully heated, with socially distant high top tables. (Delivery and take out are available as well.) In addition to fresh-made noodles and soup you can dip into cocktails like the Tokyo Drift with lemongrass mizu shochu, Midori, triple sec, and lime.
CHELSEA MARKET ACTIVATIONS
Chelsea Market is launching new activations for the weeks ahead. On Chelsea Market’s 16th Street heated outdoor dining area, select Saturdays from 11am-2pm will see a series of Build NYC interactive stations, with playful challenges for New Yorkers of all ages.
GOYA AT THE MET
There's nothing like greenery to break up winter (and that's to say nothing of South of France vibes) as they're sharing at the newest location of Maman, Maman King. The ninth location of the café, restaurant, and event space has dropped a garden oasis in Hudson Square. Home of the Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookie (one of Oprah’s Favorite Things), Maman King also serves farm-fresh salads, quiches, sandwiches, soups, pastries, and desserts. Happy hour cocktails are available in the bar area, including location-exclusive temptations like takes on hot spiced apple cider, Irish coffee, and spiked hot chocolate.
If you're looking for a getaway without running up the mileage, head out to Brooklyn's Industry City for a range of possibilities. On top of drinks, bites, shopping, and ice skating, you can also groove to live music. Look for live Latin music from Cuarteto Guataca (above) at Sahadi’s outdoor seating in Courtyard 3/4, in addition to sets of live bossa nova and jazz.
MRS. MAISEL'S MARVELOUS TOUR OF NEW YORK CITY
Beat The Bomb, an immersive video game experience based in Dumbo, Brooklyn is opening up with new experiences and safety measures. The ultimate social distancing activity, Beat The Bomb is perfect for families, small groups, learning pods and quaranteams who are looking for a new kind of challenge—kind of like an escape room. The hour-long experience features a series of four games broken out into different rooms, allowing for a unique flow that separates groups for better distancing. The goal: earn time on the bomb clock by beating levels. Then disarm the paint bomb before time runs out… or GET BLASTED! (PPE has always been a part of the experience, but it's really coming in handy now.) beatthebomb.com
Don't miss Beat The Bomb's Pro League Open, the company's first live-action esports competition. The tournament is open to any four-person team that visits Beat The Bomb in April. The team that's the fastest to disarm the World's Largest Paint Bomb will be declared the winner and receive a $1,000 cash grand prize! Throughout April, four-player teams who Beat The Bomb will compete to qualify for the Open. The top eight teams will be invited to compete in a live, bracket-style tournament on Thursday, May 6 at 6pm. The tournament will also be streamed on Beat The Bomb's Instagram, TikTok, and Twitch channels.
WHAT TO DO IN NYC DURING COVID
Despite the coronavirus, there's still plenty to do in the city. Stay in the loop with:
Ahead of an in-person reopening, UN Visitors Services is presenting virtual tours and briefings, hosted by the UN's legendary multilingual tour guides. Online visitors can learn about the organization's roles and can get insider angles on famous spaces like the General Assembly Hall and Security Council. Tours are available for groups or "UN Kids." visit.un.org
YANKEE STADIUM VIRTUAL TOURS
Yankees Stadium holds many stories inside its walls. Experience the historic team’s history from your own grandstands with Yankee Stadium Tours' new virtual visits. The Yankees are holding tours twice a week, every Tuesday at noon and every Thursday at 2pm, for about half an hour each. You can reserve a spot here, and prepare to learn more about New York. The tour features iconic sites like Monument Park, essentially the Yankees’ Hall of Fame, honoring the franchise's greatest players, managers, and coaches. You can also get a peek at the New York Yankees Museum, which features historic jerseys, baseballs, and more detailing the Yankees history. Book now, as tours are quickly reaching capacity.
BUT STILL, IT TURNS
Photo by Curran Hatleberg.
The International Center of Photography (ICP) is reopened with new exhibition But Still, It Turns: Recent Photography from the World. Guest curated by photographer Paul Graham, the show brings together nine contemporary photographers working in a lyrical documentary mode, drawing on life as it is "in all its ambiguity and wonder." The exhibition has recently been extended to August 15th.
HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE CITY?
City Guide brings you “Everything to Do NYC,” a community of people helping each other get everything we can from the city. Looking for a restaurant? Ask ETD. Want to share a great find? Let us know about it. It’s your go-to group for how to get everything you can from everything in New York. facebook.com/groups/everythingtodonyc
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square invites guests of all ages to experience the unbelievable mysteries of our world. Home to rare artifacts and thrilling interactive exhibits, this one-of-a-kind attraction is perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in the unusual, the unexpected, and the unbelievable. Hours have just been updated to 7 days a week, 11am-6pm (the last ticket is sold one hour prior to closing). For a safe experience, new initiatives include enhanced cleaning and disinfecting schedules; hand sanitizer stations throughout the attraction; limited capacity; face coverings required for all guests and staff; new signage; and temperature checks for staff. In addition, interactive exhibits will remain closed until it's safe for them to open. ripleysnewyork.com
Top of the Rock, a stunning perch atop Rockefeller Center, offers wholly unobstructed views of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the rivers, and all of Central Park (its size can only truly be appreciated when seen from above). The Grand Viewing Deck on the 69th floor offers unparalleled views of the city and the 70th Floor is an open-air perch with completely unobstructed views—no glass or anything. Top of the Rock reopened to the pubic on Thursday, August 6th. Social distancing is easier here: Top of the Rock has more open-air viewing space than any other observation deck in New York City. New hours for the Observation Deck are daily 1-9pm; guests will enter from West 50th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Aves., and proceed with timed tickets to the glass stairs upon entry. Visitors without a pre-purchased ticket will be directed to the box office. Capacity will be limited, masks are required, and hand sanitizer is available throughout the attraction. topoftherocknyc.com
The west side's beloved elevated park, The High Line, is open albeit with capacity at the park greatly reduced. Free timed-entry tickets are opened every two weeks on Mondays. A limited number of walk-up passes will also be available at the entrance, but advance planning is recommended. Traffic will only flow in one direction, starting at Gansevoort Street. All visitors must enter at the southern end of the High Line, at Gansevoort Street and Washington Street, and move northwards. In this first reopening phase, the High Line will be open only to 23rd Street. Citywide safety protocols will also apply here, including the requirement of wearing a mask or face covering and maintaining 6-foot social distancing. thehighline.org
Hershey's Chocolate World is the place to go in NYC when your sweet tooth starts kicking in. Located in the heart of Times Square, the newly reopened store features chocolate experiences for everyone to enjoy. At Hershey's Kitchens Bakery indulge in a chocolate-filled brownie or peanut butter blossom cookie. Relax with a refreshing Hershey's chocolate spritzer or warm up with a Hershey's melted hot chocolate. If you can't make it to the Hershey chocolate factory tour in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Hershey's Chocolate World in Times Square is the next best stop. Hours are now 11am-7pm. hersheys.com
Benjamin Prime combines modern elegance with traditional steakhouse classics, while also showcasing signature standouts from highly regarded sister property Benjamin Steakhouse. After perfecting both steakhouse and seafood concepts in their arsenal, Benjamin Restaurant Group is highlighting the grill at Prime, serving up USDA prime dry aged steaks and succulent seafood in unique ways. As of Wednesday, July 8th they are open again for outdoor dining! Hours are 11:30am-10pm on the weeknights and 4-10pm on Saturdays. Don't miss the return of the Power Lunch Menu, weekdays from 11:30am-4pm; Just $39 covers an appetizer like crab cake or lobster bisque, followed by entrees like a USDA Prime junior New York sirloin, and desserts like a classic New York cheesecake.
Havana Central’s all-day menu boasts the best in Cuban cooking. Dig into classic dishes like Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, jerk-seasoned chicken wings, "ropa vieja" beef stew, mango salmon, and vegetarian paella. You can once again enjoy it in person, as outdoor dining comes to Times Square (tables available on a first-come, first-served basis). You can also dive into this great cuisine with pick up and contactless delivery. Cuban family meals, grocery boxes (fruit, chicken, and vegetables, order by 5pm Wednesday for pickup after 1pm on Friday), and Caribbean cocktails to go are all also available—12oz and 32oz mojitos are highlights (tropical flavors optional). Note that Havana Central has expanded its delivery zone: covering 16th to 79th Sts., both east side and west. havanacentral.alohaorderonline.com
Statue Cruises is once again out and about in New York Harbor. Tickets may be purchased in advance (strongly encouraged) from the Statue Cruises website or at Gangway 5 in Battery Park. Statue Cruises is encouraging social distancing to the greatest extent possible, reducing the capacity on board vessels by 50%, requiring all employees and guests to wear face masks at all times, ensuring thorough deep cleaning of vessels throughout each day, requiring daily temperature checks of all Statue Cruises personnel, utilizing contactless payment systems, providing sanitizer stations on both vessels and the islands, and much more. With the season of giving here, Statue Cruises is giving back to first responders and the frontlines. Statue Cruises has launched First Responder Fridays where firefighters, police officers, EMTs, doctors, nurses, and hospital workers will be able to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on Fridays through February for free. statuecruises.com
IT'S ALL HAPPENING AT THE ZOOS
Photo: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
COVID couldn't stop New York's zoos—the Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and the most famous of all, the Bronx Zoo. (Famous for a good reason—there are 8,000 animals there, spread across a habitat that includes 265 acres of hardwood forest). Guest health and safety are the top priority, with social distancing, limited capacity, one-way paths through the park, and touchless interactions. Open exhibits at the Bronx Zoo include the African Plains, African Wild Dogs, American Bison, Baboon Reserve, Big Bears, Birds of Prey, Children's Zoo, Himalayan Highlands, Sea Lion Pool, Tiger Mountain, and the Wild Asia Monorail. Visit the Bronx Zoo's Know Before You Go section to learn more. You'll need to get your ticket in advance (no tickets will be sold at the gates). A touchless entry will let you in, but you must have a face covering, and follow spacing markers to ensure social distancing. bronxzoo.com
TALKS, LECTURES, AND EVENTS
Thought Gallery has hundreds of livestream talks, lectures, performances, and more. Check out sessions with celebs, live concerts, and opportunities to learn the latest on everything from science to philosophy to social justice.
VIRTUAL ESCAPE ROOM
Missing escape room adventures? NYC fave The Escape Game has some great play-at-home editions including Unlocked: The Heist—Vol. 1: Chasing Hahn, which includes all the pieces of the original mission kit, ready for play in quarantine. They've also just launched a new series, The Escape Game Remote Adventures. These are escape games you play with your friends, family, and co-workers on Zoom from anywhere in the world. Players progress through the room using an online clue bank, a live Game Guide, and a 360-degree view of the room. theescapegame.com/remote-adventures
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