The "New" New York City: What's to Come?

In 2016, New York City welcomed 60.7 million visitors and marked the city’s sixth consecutive year of growth in tourism. To keep up with, and ultimately maintain, a growing influx of domestic and international travelers, New York City is reinventing itself. NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization for New York’s five boroughs, discussed the city’s future plans at a press conference attended by Travel Agent last week at The Whitby Hotel in Manhattan.

100 New York City-based travel, lifestyle and foreign media attended the conference hosted by NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon and Senior Vice President of Global Communications Chris Heywood. Dubbed “The ‘New’ New York City,’ Dixon and Heywood outlined the future of New York City, highlighting new developments including hotels, infrastructure, attractions, public art and major events.

Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company // Photo by Julienne Schaer

Hotels

With 113,000 rooms in active inventory and more than 24,000 rooms in the short- and long-term pipeline, Dixon said that New York City maintains the most active hotel pipeline in the United States. Since January 2017, the city has welcomed 12 new hotels - adding a total of 2,033 rooms to the city's active inventory.

Noteworthy hotel openings in 2017 include:

  • 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (opened February 2017)
    • Eco-luxury hotel with 194 rooms and suites
    • Boasts a seven-meter green wall that will grow over time in the hotel's lobby
    • Offers 100 percent wind power energy supply
  • The Whitby Hotel (debuted February 2017)
    • Boasts 86 individually designed bedrooms and suites, each with floor to ceiling windows, many with private terraces
    • 130-seat cinema and fully-equipped gym
  • 50 Bowery (opened May 2017)
    • The China Town hotel offers 229 rooms
    • Food & beverage handled by Three Kings Restaurant Group
  • MOXY NYC Times Square (coming August 2017)
    • 612-room hotel located at Seventh Avenue and 37th street
    • Indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge expected to have a carousel and mini putt golf
  • PUBLIC, an Ian Schrager Hotel (opened June 2017)
    • Affordable luxury with rates starting at $150 per night
    • 370 rooms
    • Rooftop bar and lounge with 360-degree panoramic views
  • The Hoxton Brooklyn (opening late 2017)
    • The U.K brand's first American outpost
    • 175 rooms
  • The Pod Brooklyn (opening July 2017)
    • First ever modular hotel in the heart of Williamsburg
    • Will offer guests a commual guest experience with an open air lobby and flexible work/lounge space
    • 254 rooms - each about 100 square feet - with queen and bunk bed configurations
  • The Pod Times Square (opening August 2017)
    • 527 rooms

According to NYC & Company, "the current pipeline, including 17 new entries and many updates, covers 143 projects across the five boroughs and represents the full spectrum of hotel experiences.” 

Infrastructure Investments

To better accommodate the growing number of visitors, New York City’s infrastructure is steadily on the rise; namely subway expansion projects, the addition of conveniently located charging ports throughout the city; and a collection of airport refurbishments.

On January 1, 2017, the MTA’s Second Avenue Subway opened to the public. As New York City’s first major expansion of the subway system in more than 50 years, the newly extended Q Line serves approximately 200,000 riders and reduces travel time by 10 minutes or more for riders traveling to and from the Upper East Side. The new subway station is lined with permanent public art installations celebrating the work of New York artists Chuck Close and Vik Muniz. “That alone is worth a trip underground,” Dixon said.

Additionally, more than 700 state-of-the-art LinkNYC kiosks have been installed throughout New York City’s five boroughs, offering high-speed Internet, phone calls and device charging. NYC & Company says that 7,500 kiosks are expected to be installed by 2024.

Travelers coming to and from New York in the coming years will soon see a transformed John F. Kennedy International Airport. A $10 billion investment will focus on expanding and connecting newer terminals, a complete redesign of the airport’s roadways, expansion of parking lots and taxiways, state-of-the-art security technology and more.

For pet lovers, the first phase of the ARK at JFK opened in February 2017. The 178,000-square-foot pet terminal provides fliers or travelers’ pets with pre and post-travel care, overnight kennels and special boarding assistance.

Attractions

The city’s many evolving neighborhoods continue to provide visitors with a range of diverse experiences and attractions. Over the next year, new attractions coming to Midtown include:

  • Gulliver’s Gate (opened May 9) – Now open in Times Square, Gulliver’s Gate showcases more than 300 miniature buildings and more than 1,000 model trains. The 2,000 square meter space will include 3D printed replicas of Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and parts of lower Manhattan.
  • National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey (debuting October 2017) – The interactive experience in Times Square will enable visitors to be transported to ocean scenes around the world through virtual technology.
  • NFL Experience Times Square: Expected to open in November 2018, the new 3,700 square meter NFL Times Square Experience will take visitors through a journey from football fan to player to Superbowl champion. The experience includes a 40-seat theater, interactive activities, stadium-style F&B offerings, and memorabilia on display from famous football players.

Upcoming developments in Staten Island’s North Shore - Destination St. George include:

  • Empire Outlets (coming mid-2018) – The outlets will offer guests 100 retail stores and a 190-room boutique hotel.
  • The New York Wheel  (June 2018) – The soon-to-be tallest observation wheel in the world will have 36 capsules and take guests on a 38-minute ride. “By the way, each capsule is the size of a New York City subway car, if you can imagine how large that is,” Dixon said. The wheel’s grounds will be home to a playground, outdoor beer garden and grain room hosting concerts, festivals and other events.

Perhaps the most exciting and visitor-oriented development coming to New York City is Hudson Yards – the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States. Hudson Yards will comprise 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space, including the City’s first Neiman Marcus department store, a 150-room Equinox Hotel, Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel, a new observation deck and a collection of restaurants.

Events

New York City's event calendar is a large contributor to growing tourism. The coming years will welcome a selection of blockbuster events to the five boroughs, including the International Indian Film Academy Festival (July 14-15, 2017), New York City ePrix (July 15-16, 2017), The Presidents Cup (September 25 - October 1, 2017), Leonard Bernstein at 100 (2017-2018), The 60th Annual Grammy Awards (2018) and World Pride (2019). 

To see what else is planned, visit www.nycgo.com

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