by Andrea Doyle | March 02, 2015

No city in the world can match New York City's energy, excitement, and breadth of activities. Whether it's Broadway shows, live music, tours of museums and historical attractions, or cuisine from every world culture, there are endless opportunities for visiting groups.

"I am deeply gratified to see our tourism industry perform on all cylinders," says Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, New York City's official destination marketing organization. "Last year, we welcomed record international and domestic visitation to our city, while positively impacting our local economy."

He adds that his organization continues to showcase both the city's iconic attractions as well as the hidden gems throughout the five boroughs. Dan Schmitzer, an associate regional vice president at HelmsBriscoe, enlisted NYC & Company on behalf of one of his larger clients that will hold an annual conference in Manhattan this year. "NYC & Company was an outstanding resource in providing local insight to aid us in determining a terrific hotel property and recommending potential off-site event venues. They stayed involved in the process from the time we sent the initial RFP, conducted the site inspections, through the contract signing and even after," says Schmitzer. "I think some clients may have old perceptions about doing business in New York City, but we found hotels to be very responsive to our client RFPs, and rates were surprisingly more affordable than we expected. For this particular client, this is their first rotation into New York City, and it certainly won't be their last."

No matter how many times a group has met in New York City, there is always something new to see and experience.

"New York City has a way of bringing together attendees from around the world with this upbeat vibe and amazing attractions," says Katelyn Swick, group head of operations for Accucore Ltd. "It is a great location for corporate events as it offers both a stunning backdrop for the event but also a major hub for industry sectors."

Accucore's event, etailcoreLIVE, for ecommerce retailers across the U.S., will be held May 14-15 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The city's performance venues are legendary -- Broadway, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall. But beyond the shows themselves, it is possible for groups to enjoy a more special experience by arranging for them to explore the inner workings of these institutions. Karen Shackman, president of Shackman Associates, a New York City-based destination management and special events services company, often arranges behind-the-scenes looks at culinary establishments, theaters, and even shopping spots. "We'll take people into showrooms to meet designers or will offer backstage access and interaction with leading performers of Broadway shows," she says. "It's all about customizing the experience."


Always Evolving
Some remarkable changes are taking place in Lower Manhattan with the opening of One World Observatory in the new World Trade Center. From the 102nd floor, the viewing deck overlooks the National 9/11 Memorial Museum that opened last year. Visitors to the new museum enter through a glass pavilion located between the two memorial reflecting pools and descend into a vast underground hall with artifacts from the attack, and exhibit rooms, which focus on details of the day and its aftermath. The museum also includes a private space for 9/11 families and an elegant auditorium for lectures, film screenings, panel discussions, performances, and other programs.

The High Line, an elevated freight rail line that has been transformed into a public park on Manhattan's West Side, opened its third and final phase, The High Line at the Rail Yards, in September, extending the park from 30th Street to 34th Street. Twenty-two city blocks are now accessible to the public.

A first-time visit to the New York City area must include a trip to one of the world's most famous landmarks -- the Statue of Liberty. Statue Cruises is the official provider for Statue of Liberty tickets and offers ferries to see the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island, and Ellis Island.

For the golfers in the group, acclaimed instructor Michael Breed and his namesake golf academy will open at Trump's brand new Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. Breed joins Trump as the No. 1 golf instructor in the state of New York, and thirteenth on Golf Digest's list of "Top 50 Instructors in the U.S."

Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point is part of a city-funded redevelopment project. The 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course will be operated by the Trump Golf team and located in the Bronx, at the foot of the Whitestone Bridge, just minutes outside of Manhattan. The course is designed specifically to take advantage of views of the Manhattan skyline, the East River, and the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges.

 

STATE Grill and Bar, Patina Restaurant
Group's newest restaurant, located in
the lobby level of the renovated
Empire State Building

STATE Grill and Bar, a new upscale dining destination, recently opened on the street level of the Empire State Building for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with special event and private dining space for groups. Part of the Patina Restaurant Group, it emphasizes sourcing products from New York State's local farmers, purveyors, brewers, and winemakers.

STATE Grill and Bar also pays tribute to the Empire State Building's history and Art Deco design. The main 2,800 square-foot, street-level space features a central bar and lounge between a 95-seat dining room and open kitchen.  

In addition, a 6,400-square-foot downstairs space can accommodate up to 60 seated or 90 standing, reached via private elevator, featuring three versatile private event spaces separated by custom-built, sound-proof, power lift partitions. The restaurant's private dining rooms can be accessed through the restaurant and bar or through the Empire State Building's new concourse level lobby.