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Sept
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Portable Performance Festival @ 18th & Union

A storytelling fest in the CD 🎙️

Six Things: New York City

After more than two years of pandemic closures, one of the world’s great cultural capitals is back in full swing. 🗽

July 15, 2022

📸: Chintan Pandya and Roni Mazumdar of Dhamaka / Clay Williams

Read on for six places to put on your must-do list in New York City this year.

The hotel 🏨

Ace Hotel Brooklyn
📷: Steven Kent Johnson

There’s always something new happening in New York City’s hotel scene, and the past year was no different. The new ModernHaus in SoHo, with its original Alexander Calders and Harland Millers decorating the 114 guest rooms, was the site of many a staycation during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the highly anticipated, 83-room Aman New York, opening later this year in the iconic Crown Building on Fifth Avenue, is expected to be an urban oasis like no other in Manhattan. For a different perspective on the city, head across the East River to the Ace Hotel Brooklyn. The Seattle-born hotel group built its reputation on revitalizing neighborhoods with social spaces where locals can work and play—a concept that feels relevant all over again, now that more people than ever are opting for the digital nomad life. The Roman and Williams-designed lobby, clad in midcentury-inspired furnishings and concrete walls, is giving New Yorkers a handsome gathering place in a still-emerging corner of Boerum Hill. The 287 guest rooms are signature Ace, with their minimalistic interiors and turntables with vinyl collections.

The park 🌳

Little Island, Hudson River
📷: Getty

Despite the density and costliness of Manhattan real estate, the city continues to find ways to incorporate green spaces into the urban jungle. One of the most significant newcomers is Little Island, a 2.4-acre floating park in Hudson River Park with 35 species of trees and close to 300 grass varieties. On sunny days, you’ll find New Yorkers and tourists walking up and down the winding paths of the diminutive park, which has playful little items like dance chimes built into the pavement; pretty carved wooden benches for sitting are scattered throughout. Little Island has a river-facing amphitheater that’s expected to launch its summer programming schedule by mid-May. Just next door, Google just debuted its New York City campus along Pier 57, and with it, a two-acre rooftop park that’s open to the public, with a food hall and a venue for outdoor screenings.

The meal 🍛

Selection of food at Dhamaka
📷: Adam Friedlander

Manhattan has plenty of temples to gastronomy to choose from, but Dhamaka in the Lower East Side is one of those perfect places for a dinner that’s both casual and delicious, while still offering something that feels exciting. Dhamaka was created by chef Chintan Pandya and restaurateur Roni Mazumdar, the team behind New York City’s hit southern Indian-inspired Semma (also worth checking out). Located at the reimagined Essex Market in a brightly colored dining room, Dhamaka excels in street foods originating in India, like papdi chaat, a northern Indian snack composed of fried flour crisps, tamarind and yogurt. Don’t miss ordering from the grilled menu—ajwani paneer tikka, a tender housemade cheese, is a standout—and large main dishes for sharing like murgh kofta, a minced chicken curry with spices in a tomato gravy.

The exhibit 👚

From Virgil Abloh: ‘Figures of Speech'
📷: Brooklyn Museum

In late 2021, the fashion world mourned the loss of Virgil Abloh, the artist and designer who died of cancer at just 41 years old. Abloh, who was Louis Vuitton’s first Black menswear artistic director, is widely known for having reshaped perspectives on fashion, and his work will be showcased at the Brooklyn Museum this summer with an exhibit titled “Virgil Abloh: ‘Figures of Speech.’” The show, which opens July 1, 2022 and runs through Jan. 29, 2023, is the first public compendium of Abloh’s work, and was developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. It will feature works the artist’s two-decade career, including collaborations with such creatives as architect Rem Koolhaas and Takashi Murakami, and works from his own fashion label, Off-White.

The bar 🍸

📷: The Overstory

What The Overstory lacks in size it makes up for in style and show-stopping views of the city. Located on the 64th floor of art deco building 70 Pine in the Financial District, the Overstory is where bar director Harrison Ginsberg’s cocktails, such as a Terroir Old Fashioned (reposado tequila, palo santo and locally-sourced Tilden sea salt), are served in a sleek space with white walls and art deco-inspired curves. But don’t expect to be able to just walk in on any given night: The secret’s out, so you’ll have to reserve a seat in advance. On those balmy Manhattan summer nights, try for a spot on the terrace.

The theater 🎭

The Apollo
📷: Getty

Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater has been—and remains—a hotbed of creativity in America. It’s where Ella Fitzgerald first launched her career back in 1934. In September 2019, Ta-Nehisi Coates became the theater’s first-ever artist-in-residence, and he’s taken the stage to have thought-provoking conversations with such cultural icons as Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of the Grammy Award-winning Roots. Some of the more popular regular shows include Amateur Night, a decades-old competition for emerging talent that helped to launch the careers of such artists as Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo. And watch this space: The nearby Victoria Theater, a 1917 vaudeville house, will transform into two venues and host performances starting in early 2023, thanks to a partnership with the Apollo and the State of New York.

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Jennifer Flowers is a writer and editor based in Seattle and New York City. Her work can be found in AFAR, Bloomberg Businessweek, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, The Wall Street Journal among other publications.

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