What’s New In New York City: Hot Hotels, Buzzy Restaurants, and the Broadway Shows Not to Miss

Highlights for 2024 include Jeremy Strong in an Ibsen drama and a new offering from James Beard–winning chef Andrew Carmellini.

Three waitstaff in white jackets prepare for service in a restaurant scene in Café Carmellini

James Beard–winning chef Andrew Carmellini has designed the menu at Café Carmellini in the Fifth Avenue Hotel.

Photo by William Abranowicz

Ask a New Yorker about their city’s headlines these days, and you might hear about congestion pricing (a fee for cars traveling south of 60th Street in Manhattan, meant to reduce traffic and eventually lead to cleaner air and streets). Or that the NYC/NJ area secured hosting (and bragging) rights for the 2026 FIFA Club World Cup. New York City is constantly in flux, with the highs and lows of any major metropolis, but growth and creativity march on in so many ways in 2024.

This spring, visitors can expect a robust performing and visual arts season: Broadway has dozens of new shows opening, several of which have enjoyed sold-out runs Off Broadway this winter. Alicia Keys appears to be everywhere, with a new musical about her teen years in Hell’s Kitchen and an exhibit with her husband, Swizz Beatz, at the Brooklyn Museum. Getting in and out of the city has become way better thanks to billions of dollars invested in area airports and train stations. Don’t just stop in Manhattan while you’re here: Boroughs are the place to be, as must-try Brooklyn restaurants proliferate, and Chicago-born comedy titan the Second City sets up shop in Williamsburg.

Here are some of the most exciting openings, changes, and must-dos across New York City this spring.

Hot new hotels to check into

This Mansion Junior Suite at the Fifth Avenue Hotel features a sitting area partitioned off by arched glass windows.

Suites at the Fifth Avenue Hotel comprise a king bed, a separate living room, and an entry foyer.

Courtesy of the Fifth Avenue Hotel

Post-pandemic NYC has enjoyed the rebirth of iconic hotels—first the Hotel Chelsea, and this summer, The Surrey will reopen as a Corinthia hotel, the first of its kind in North America. The former Relais & Châteaux property closed in 2020 due to the pandemic; before that—way before that—it was a famous Upper East Side residence hotel for celebs (think Bette Davis and JFK) who wanted discreet service and high-end amenities.

We’ve also been tracking the development of the evolving neighborhood NoMad (North of Madison Square Park), which has seen a hotel boom, most recently welcoming a Virgin Hotel and the city’s second Ritz-Carlton, Nicholas DeRenzo reported late last year. The NoMad hotel that has locals talking and visitors clamoring for photos is the 153-room Fifth Avenue Hotel, inside a landmark bank building and a new 24-story glass tower on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 28th Street. “Behind the hotel’s limestone facade is a maximalist riot of colors and textures that reference the go-for-broke exuberance of the late 19th-century Gilded Age,” says DeRenzo. Book it now.

The restaurants to plan a trip around

Within the Fifth Avenue Hotel is one of the city’s hottest tables: Café Carmellini, which gives off Old New York supper club vibes as a who’s-who-in-food crowd fills tufted banquettes. But “thank goodness that, for all its fanciness, it is also just a good time,” reports The New Yorker. The latest from James Beard–winning chef Andrew Carmellini marks his return to fine dining with plates of cannelloni with lobster and golden caviar and oysters a la pomme being ferried around by bow-tied servers. Reservations open up 14 days in advance.

Another reservation to book well in advance: Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi. Though it’s inside a rather stuffy spot at Lincoln Center, the vibrant menu, soundtrack, and spirit of the restaurant reflect the Afro-Caribbean–Bronx heritage of chef Kwame. The meals, meant to be shared, taste as if they’re cooked with love: braised oxtail, crispy okra, honeynut piri piri salad, and seafood boils unlike anywhere else in the city.

Another New York City icon, chef Marcus Samuelsson, will be on hand with his new restaurant Metropolis, located in the new Perelman Performing Arts Center NYC lobby. The James Beard–winning chef was inspired by the immigrant communities that make up neighborhoods across all five boroughs; expect dishes like Flushing-style oysters with XO sauce and oyster leaf, smoked hamachi tacos, and an aged Long Island duck with mole and winter plums.

Essential cultural happenings in 2024

The building housing the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, as seen from the Hudson River

The Whitney Biennial promises to be “a provocative yet intimate experience of distinct and disparate voices that collectively probe the cracks and fissures of the unfolding moment.”

Max Touhey/Max Touhey | www.metouhey.com

Download TodayTix now to reserve your seats for some of the high-wattage plays and musicals opening on the Great White Way in April; meanwhile, art scenes from the Bronx to Brooklyn are calling.

Theater, Off Broadway

Could nighttime at the Apollo get any bigger? Indeed. In February, the 90-year-old theater expanded by adding refurbished Victoria Theater to its footprint, including two new black box theaters. The Apollo is now akin to an arts campus in Harlem, says NYC Tourism, drawing dancers, spoken word artists, and ever more newcomers looking for their big break.

Off Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company is having a particularly star-studded spring/summer season. Sandra Oh appears in Lucy Kirkwood’s The Welkin, which is set in rural England in 1759 and follows 12 women as they decide the fate of a young woman who tries to escape execution by claiming she’s pregnant. Shayan Lotfi’s What Became of Us, meanwhile, is a play about immigration and diaspora, with one sibling who’s born in the old country and one who’s born in a new one. The show will feature two casts: First up is BD Wong and Rosalind Chao (May 17–June 15), followed by Shohreh Aghdashloo and Tony Shalhoub (June 10–29).

At once a romantic comedy and a candid look at disability and class in the United States, Laura Winters’ All of Me, presented by The New Group, is a love story between two characters who use mobility devices (he uses a wheelchair, she a scooter) and text-to-speech technology to communicate. Joining lead performers Madison Ferris and Danny J. Gomez is Kyra Sedgwick, who hasn’t been on the New York City stage in years.

Theater, Broadway

Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade, and the Greasers make their Broadway debut in The Outsiders, a musical adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s 1967 coming-of-age novel (opens April 11). Alicia Keys writes the lyrics and music for a more modern coming-of-age, about the superstar musician finding her voice in Hell’s Kitchen in the ‘90s, featuring new and familiar songs and an award-winning creative team (opens April 20). After an extended run at the Park Armory, the Sufjan Stevens–penned musical Illinoise (another coming-of-age story, sans dialogue, based on his 2005 concept album, Illinois) graduates to Broadway (opens April 24).

HBO watchers should book tickets now for An Enemy of the People, a Henrik Ibsen drama starring Succession’s Jeremy Strong as a small-town doctor trying (and failing) to convince locals of an impending environmental disaster. White Lotus’s Michael Imperioli co-stars as his chief antagonist: the mayor who’s also his brother (limited engagement through June 6). Steve Carell enters the Broadway ranks alongside Alfred Molina, Alison Pill, and Anika Noni Rose in the Chekhov comedy Uncle Vanya at Lincoln Center Theater. As Vulture puts it, expect to laugh and have an “existential crisis about climate change” (April 24–June 16).


The Second City finally arrives in NYC with a massive 12,000-square-foot venue in Williamsburg, complete with two cabaret-style theaters, a restaurant and bar, and training classrooms for budding comics and white-collar team bonding.

Visual art exhibits and installations

Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Dean) and Alicia Keys, life partners and giants in their industry, have amassed an incredible art collection over the years—works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lorna Simpson, and Kehinde Wiley among them. The Brooklyn Museum presents this selection, with special emphasis on Black diasporic artists, in the blockbuster exhibit “Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys” (through July 7).

The thoughtfully curated examination of “The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism,” now on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is New York City’s first museum survey of the subject since the late 1980s. With new context, the Met examines 1920s–40s Harlem and the early years of the Great Migration through 160 works—sculptures, paintings, photo and film, ephemera—paired with “portrayals of international African diasporan subjects by European counterparts ranging from Henri Matisse, Edvard Munch, and Pablo Picasso,” per the museum. Many of the works are on loan from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (through July 28).

The 81st Whitney Biennial—the longest-running survey of American contemporary art in the country—just returned March 20, showcasing 71 artists and collectives across the Whitney Museum, an artwork in its own right. Best to wander and let serendipity guide you (through Aug. 11).

Fun for the whole family

Blooming flowers and green grass and trees at the 'Wonderland: Curious Nature' exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden

Tickets to Wonderland: Curious Nature cost $35 for adults and $15 for children aged 2 to 12.

Photo by Marlon Co. Courtesy of NYC Tourism

There’s always something magical happening at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. This May, a sort of surrealist Alice in Wonderland takes over the garden as “Wonderland: Curious Naturepresents curiouser and curiouser installations by Yoko Ono, Oscar de la Renta, and more, along with afternoon tea parties and scavenger hunts led by the Cheshire Cat (May 18–Oct. 27).

The Intrepid Museum just debuted its biggest temporary exhibit ever, “Apollo: When We Went to the Moon,” using interactive media, photos, and artifacts from the Apollo program and NASA’s Moon to Mars mission (through Sept. 2).

5 reasons to visit Brooklyn ASAP

As Brooklyn-based curator Casey Burry prepares for the opening of her travel-inspired pop-up shop, Take Me With You, at the Ace Hotel Brooklyn, she encourages people to stick around BK and go a little deeper. “I just moved to the border of Columbia Waterfront/Red Hook, and although it’s a sleepy little enclave on the outskirts of Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Brooklyn Heights, the area feels culturally interesting,” says Burry. “When we go out with the kids, we make a reservation at Cafe Spaghetti, a new-yet-classic local Italian restaurant by chef Sal Lamboglia. Popina is also great Italian and has a happy hour pasta.”

“I’m excited for the next New York location of Cafe Gitane to open this spring. And I love just about everything happening at Pioneer Works. It’s an arts organization that is very science-forward and offers everything from quantum physics lectures to residency artist exhibitions to intimate concerts. I saw Sampha there in the fall, and it was very special.”

Fly into . . .

Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport, if routes allow. The former punch line of NYC airports has become one of the country’s best thanks to an $8 billion upgrade. Some AFAR editors opt to arrive at LaGuardia early just to take advantage of the new Chase Sapphire Lounge by the Club, which opened in January.

With reporting by Nicholas DeRenzo.

Laura Dannen Redman is Afar’s editor at large. She’s an award-winning journalist who can’t sit still and has called Singapore, Seattle, Australia, Boston, and the Jersey Shore home. She’s based in Brooklyn with her equally travel-happy husband and daughters.
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