What’s New in NYC This Summer

Whether it’s the opening of the new Aman, the Basquiat exhibit everyone’s talking about, or the return of NYC Pride March, there are plenty of reasons to visit NYC now.

What’s New in NYC This Summer

Hebru Brantley’s Flyboy greets visitors entering the lobby at Graduate Roosevelt Island.

Photo by Steve Freihon Photography

Summer Fridays can’t come soon enough. New Yorkers have been waiting to get back outside with a vengeance, whether it’s to neighborhood hop by ferry or enjoy rooftop views of Manhattan at a terrific new Williamsburg restaurant. Why not join them?

Our NYC-based editors deliver the latest and greatest reasons to visit the city this summer.

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The new Aman New York, set to open in August 2022, will be a destination unto itself.

Courtesy of Aman New York

New NYC hotels to get excited about

As AFAR senior editor Lyndsey Matthews reported earlier this week, “Despite the pandemic, more than two dozen new hotels opened across New York City in 2021. Of those, the most exciting openings are now welcoming travelers to explore parts of the city they couldn’t access before—like the Casa Cipriani at a historic ferry terminal in the Financial District—or perhaps never considered venturing to (Roosevelt Island, we’re looking at you).

“Of course, New York’s great revival isn’t just about the hotel openings we’ve curated here. There are currently more than 50 other new hotels actively in the pipeline, according to data gathered by the city’s tourism board. In the coming months, Washington Heights will get the Radio Hotel, the shuttered NoMad Hotel will be reborn as the Ned near the upcoming Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, and the storied Chelsea Hotel will finish its transformation from a residence hotel into a boutique hotel this summer.

As for the (very highly) anticipated arrival of the new Aman New York? It finally has an opening date: August 2, 2022. Reservations begin July 25.

Read on for the full story on new hotel openings in NYC.

Restaurant(s) to plan a trip around

If you follow anyone in the NYC food world on Instagram, chances are you saw Laser Wolf Brooklyn in their stories last month. Set on the rooftop of the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg, this new charcoal-grill restaurant is a riff on an Israel-style shipudiya (“skewer house”) as well as Lazar Wolf, the butcher in Fiddler on the Roof. Better still: It’s the product of a very high-profile collaboration between some of the most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs in the United States: Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook of Zahav (Philadelphia’s CookNSolo) and Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of Alla Vita and Girl and the Goat (Chicago’s Boka Restaurant Group).

Come for a memorable meal, stay for the views of the Manhattan skyline.

Opening soon (we hope!) . . . A Singaporean-style hawker center will open within blocks of Times Square this summer, with Singapore’s own KF Seetoh—whose Makansutra guide is akin to a food-stall Michelin guide—advising. Expect 18 street-food vendors in this urban food hall, including Douglas Ng of Fishball Story, Chris Hooi of Dragon Phoenix, and Ah Tai, known for his Hainanese chicken rice. (Yes, this is the continuation of the Anthony Bourdain project from several years ago, but smaller and relocated to Midtown, on Sixth Avenue between 50th and 51st streets.)

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Laser Wolf is an Israeli restaurant with a Williamsburg vibe.

Photo by Michael Persico

Hot tickets to buy now

Visual art The personal life of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is on full display in King Pleasure, a raw and rare collection of more than 200 artworks from his estate—177 never seen before—curated by Basquiat’s sisters. Race and self-identity loom large in this very intimate show of paintings, home movies, drawings, photos, toys, and more, all housed in the landmark Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea. The exhibit closes June 30 and we’re already sad about it.

In brief . . .

Theater After a bout of COVID delayed the opening of Macbeth on Broadway, Daniel Craig is now onstage in the title role, with Ruth Negga as Lady Macbeth and director Sam Gold (Fun Home, Othello) serving up all kinds of power-hungry, bloodthirsty (and splattery) drama to help distract from the IRL news cycle.

In brief . . .

  • Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne, and Darren Criss are actors possessed in this quicksilver revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo.
  • Six the musical—about the six wives of Henry VIII—is a high-energy, sequin-filled celebration of strong women that feels like a 90-minute pop concert.
  • Pulitzer Prize–winning A Strange Loop is now the most Tony-nominated show of the season with 11 nods, including best musical. We have tickets for next week, woo!

Proud of Pride in NYC

Plan to be here for what will surely be a buoyant NYC Pride March on June 26, and check out the latest in queer fine dining when HAGS opens in the East Village.

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Block off an afternoon to hang around Governors Island at the new QC Spa.

Courtesy of QC Spa

Where to relax and rejuvenate

It’s been nearly 20 years since New York City repurposed Governors Island—a former Army and Coast Guard base just a five-minute ferry ride from the southern tip of Manhattan—into a public park. Since 2005, the island has welcomed guests for numerous concerts and festivals, the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party, and even overnight stays at the Collective Governors Island glamping resort. Now you can add “relax at a day spa” to your list of reasons to visit Governors Island. The QC NY spa opened in March in restored army barrack buildings, with multiple relaxation rooms, saunas, a café, and two outdoor heated pools.

Before you leave NYC, book a 50-minute healthy glow facial at the Babor Signature Spa in the Dominick hotel. This is the first U.S. branch of the signature German spa, known for relying on vegan, reef-safe, natural products; the facial skips hyaluronic acids and uses kale clay green masks and red maple bark. It smells fantastic and you look five years younger when you’re done.

The latest in COVID precautions

There’s something ironic about watching New Yorkers shed their winter clothes while their faces remain firmly, resolutely covered to stave off the latest wave of COVID. Good neighbors—and visitors—still wear their masks on public transit, in museums and theaters (basically in indoor public spaces), and outdoors in a crowd. It’s also good form to test yourself for COVID within 72 hours (PCR) or 24 hours (rapid/antigen) of visiting. Pop-up COVID test tents exist all over the city, making it simple to get checked. Follow nyc.gov for the latest in variant news and transmissions.

One thing to bring

Might we recommend a new set of N95 or KN95 masks? AFAR favorites include the Evolvetogether KN95s, our go-tos for long-haul flights—they’re very breathable and have a flat fit—and the five-ply Maskc KN95s, which are soft yet fit securely and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Evolvetogether KN95 face masks

Buy now: $15 for a five-pack, evolvetogether.com

Maskc KN95 face masks

Buy now: from $36 for a 10-pack, shopmaskc.com

Read on for the six best face masks for travel.

Laura Dannen Redman is the digital content director of AFAR based in Brooklyn, New York. She’s an award-winning journalist who can’t sit still and has called Singapore, Seattle, Australia, Boston, and the Jersey Shore home.
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