What’s New, Interesting and Awesome for Groups in New York City

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What’s New, Interesting and Awesome for Groups in New York City

By Michael Pinchera | Apr 16, 2021

It cannot be denied that New York City has experienced impressive growth in its meeting and event offerings over the past few years. One high-profile project is the multibillion-dollar Hudson Yards, which premiered in 2019 with residences, hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment—a ready-built neighborhood. However, it kept on growing last year as the vibrant and unique elements of Hudson Yards continued to go online with Edge, the Western Hemisphere’s tallest observation deck. Just above that deck, on the 101st floor, planners can find the 10,000-square-foot Peak restaurant, bar and event space, which opened in March.

Of course, most meeting and event business was sidelined last spring, with the pandemic shuttering venues and in-person activities worldwide. As a result, New York City, which in a typical year welcomes more than 50 million visitors, saw—as did most major cities—hotel occupancy rates plummet. The good news? As coronavirus vaccinations have increased, business restrictions are lifted (partially or fully) and people have become accustomed to new safety measures, travelers are returning to the Big Apple.

“With vaccine distribution accelerating across the country and positive developments including the resumption of meetings and conferences here in New York City, there is growing optimism as we kick off the spring season,” says Fred Dixon (MPI Greater New York Chapter), president and CEO of NYC & Company and co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition.

Just last month, the city’s hotels hit 47 percent occupancy, according to STR—the highest level in almost a year—and state regulators permitted in-person catered events to welcome 50 percent of venue capacity (up to 150 people).

“From corporate meetings to innovative arts and cultural performances, it has been reassuring to see restrictions lifting and in-person events beginning to resume in New York City.”

In fact, some live events have already resumed or will soon, such as New York Knicks basketball games and baseball from the Yankees and Mets. The city’s much-loved Shakespeare in the Park will resume this summer.

“From corporate meetings to innovative arts and cultural performances, it has been reassuring to see restrictions lifting and in-person events beginning to resume in New York City,” says Jerry Cito (MPI Greater New York Chapter), NYC & Company executive vice president, convention development. “With new developments and openings still to come this year including the expansion of our world-class Javits Convention Center, there will be more reasons than ever for planners and delegates to Make it NYC.”

The Javits Center, located next to the aforementioned Hudson Yards and currently serving the community as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site, is nearing the completion of an enormous, US$1.5 billion renovation. When completed later this year, the total meeting space will be 1.2 million square feet larger—five times the previous size—including a 54,000-square-foot special event space, a rooftop pavilion suitable for up to 1,500 guests and a one-acre rooftop farm for sustainable onsite catering that can generate 40,000 pounds of fresh produce annually. In addition, the site boasts New York City’s largest rooftop solar generator, saving an estimated 1.3 million pounds of carbon per year.

Another recent green effort at the Javits Center that has doubled as an important business resource during the pandemic: last year, the property opened a state-of-the-art broadcast studio for virtual and hybrid events.

Other property openings in the city in 2021 include the following.

·       This spring, Aman New York opens in the heart of Manhattan, overlooking Central Park, at The Crown Building—previously the original home of the Museum of Modern Art. The 83-room property will offer 7,000 square feet of outdoor dining space and a spa that stretches across three floors.[BP1] 

·       Another springtime debut, but one borough south, is the 287-room Ace Hotel Brooklyn.

·       In the NoMad neighborhood (North of Madison Square Park), The Fifth Avenue Hotel opens this year with 153 guest rooms and suites across two buildings—a new, 24-story tower and a 113-year-old former bank building.

·       Another welcome addition in NoMad is the 500-room Virgin Hotel New York City, which opens later this year on Broadway.

·       The luxury Pendry Manhattan West debuts this summer with 164 guest rooms and “equal parts Manhattan energy and California ease.”

·       With 36,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, the Graduate Roosevelt Island, located on the Cornell Tech Campus, is slated to open this summer.

“While there are challenges ahead, we know the meeting industry will be critical to long-term economic recovery and we remain committed to doing all we can as the industry continues to safely restart business,” Dixon says.

Getting to Know the Big Apple

To assist planners who are unable or uncomfortable traveling right now, here’s a roundup of New York City venues that offer virtual tours.

The All In NYC Webinar Series explores the added value the destination brings to tech, medical and association meetings as well as unconventional venues and more.

In search of venues specializing in broadcast options for virtual or hybrid meetings? Head over to NYC & Company’s page dedicated to those spaces.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash



Michael Pinchera

Michael Pinchera is an award-winning writer and editor for The Meeting Professional as well as a speaker, technologist and contributor to business, academic and pop culture publications since 1997. Read more of his work at www.whatmemeworry.com.