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Five-Borough Guide

Photo: Julienne Schaer
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New York City is made up of five boroughs, each offering diverse areas for attendees to explore and opportunities for planners to create one-of-a-kind events.

The Bronx

You’ll find bustle in NYC’s northernmost borough, along with a lush landscape—a quarter of the Bronx is parkland, including Van Cortlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park.

Many of this borough’s most popular attractions make use of ample outdoor space. Wave Hill, the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo are among its most enchanting draws. Joining their ranks is the High Bridge, which features spectacular views of the Harlem River. NYC’s oldest standing span, it was completed in 1848 and recently reopened after 40 years. A mecca for baseball fans, Yankee Stadium is home to the legendary team and 27-time World Series champions. Even during the off-season, groups can enjoy stadium tours and special events at NYY Steak, a classic steakhouse overlooking the Great Hall.

If gothic poetry is more your speed, visit the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, where the author spent his final years; then head to the Bronx’s oldest building, the Van Cortlandt House Museum, a restored Georgian-style mansion built in 1748 and set in the sprawling park by the same name. 

Foodies rejoice on Arthur Avenue—the Bronx’s Little Italy, with restaurants and markets peddling prosciutto di Parma and mozzarella di bufala—while the South Bronx’s soul food and City Island’s seafood draw their own devotees.

The historic Bronx Opera House, a venue dating back to 1913, has been restored as a 60-room boutique hotel. The Opera House Hotel features two function rooms with state-of-the-art business services for small meetings.

More to Do:
Bronx Museum of the Arts
Situated in a diverse neighborhood along Grand Concourse, this contemporary art museum excels at showcasing emerging artists from many cultural backgrounds, as well as art in which the Bronx plays a central role. There is a café on-site, and the museum can be rented out for receptions, seated dinners and conferences. 

Hush Hip Hop Tours
Welcoming hip-hop devotees and neophytes alike, these bus tours trace the history of the genre by visiting seminal sites throughout the borough, including the “Bronx Walk of Fame.” Each tour is led by a musician who covers the basics of the art form while weaving in personal anecdotes and a classic hip-hop soundtrack. 

Woodlawn Cemetery
Many notable New Yorkers, including Miles Davis, Irving Berlin and Herman Melville, are laid to rest in this National Historic Landmark that opened in 1863. The 400-acre cemetery is open seven days a week, and guided tours include themed experiences like “jazz greats” and “eccentric New Yorkers.” 
 

Brooklyn

In recent years, Brooklyn has earned a reputation as a hub for the hip. But there’s much more to the City’s most populous borough than craft cocktails, boutique hotels and cutting-edge cuisine.  

Brooklyn’s rich cultural history shines through classic brownstone architecture, generations-old businesses and landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and Coney Island. Witness the renaissance of Downtown Brooklyn, whose art scene spans genres from the classic to the experimental. BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) features award-winning performances and film screenings, while Barclays Center hosts Nets basketball, Islanders hockey and some of the hottest concerts in town. For a history fix, head to the Brooklyn Historical Society or its new satellite location in the warehouse complex of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The exhibit, entitled Waterfront, explores the environmental, economical and immigrant history of the Brooklyn shoreline. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is a Revolutionary War–era shipbuilding facility in the midst of major rebirth as an industrial hub. Its legacy is chronicled in the exhibit Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past, Present and Future

Work up an appetite by exploring the lush expanse of Prospect Park; then dig into the borough’s robust dining scene, anchored by legendary spots like Junior’s Restaurant & Bakery and the 130-year-old Peter Luger Steak House. Joining Luger’s porterhouse and Junior’s cheesecake as neighborhood culinary icons are the Galilean-flavored Middle Eastern fare of Bay Ridge’s Tanoreen and the locally sourced and organic Italian eats of Brooklyn Heights’ Bevacco.

Brooklyn is also home to some of the City’s newest and most modern accommodations. Following a full renovation and redesign, the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge offers a sleek, contemporary interior rivaled only by its desirable location. In the heart of Downtown Brooklyn, Even Hotel offers a wellness-oriented experience featuring ample natural light, in-room fitness areas and delicious healthy eats. In the heart of Williamsburg’s dining and nightlife, the William Vale Hotel is a four-star property featuring expansive public green space, a terrace connected to every room, a 60-foot swimming pool and a rooftop bar with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.  

More to Do: 
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
This lush 52-acre property is conveniently located next to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum. The glass-walled Palm House and breathtaking Atrium are available for private events. 

Luna Park at Coney Island
Treat attendees to an epic event at world-famous Coney Island, where they can enjoy walks on the boardwalk, dips in the Atlantic Ocean, carnival rides and games, including the famed Cyclone roller coaster. Full catering packages are available. 

A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours
This insider’s guide to the borough is best known for its pizza tours, but the company’s recently introduced chocolate tours are also a hit. Tours depart from Manhattan. 
 

Manhattan

Though the smallest of the boroughs, Manhattan is the beating heart of the City with recognizable landmarks at every turn: the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, One World Trade Center, Grand Central Terminal and Central Park among them.

Flagship stores like Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s draw shoppers in droves, while historic eateries like Katz’s Deli, ‘21’ Club and Tavern on the Green exceed even lofty expectations. Midtown gleams with Times Square’s bright lights and Broadway’s gilded theater houses; a bit farther uptown are the historic Beacon Theatre—a treasure of the vaudeville days—and Lincoln Center for critically acclaimed music, ballet, opera and theater. Pass the majestic former mansions of early-20th-century industry magnates to head across town, where you’ll find the Met Fifth Avenue, the modern-minded Met Breuer, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Farther north, find Harlem’s rich tapestry of jazz clubs, historic churches, nightlife and food. 

Downtown is a world of its own: the still-gritty East Village entertainment scene; the West Village’s cozy corner cafés and rich LGBTQ history; and the chic cobblestone-paved Meatpacking District—complete with dining, shopping and the elevated High Line park. At the lower tip of the island, you’ll discover historic sites such as Federal Hall on Wall Street and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, plus more to do (and eat) in cultural outposts like Chinatown and Little Italy.  

More to Do:
Empire State Building Experience
Attendees can take in the whole glittering city from the top of NYC’s legendary art deco skyscraper. Tickets are available to both the open-air observatory (86th floor) and top deck (102nd floor). 

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
This aircraft carrier turned floating museum at Pier 86 houses military aircraft, a submarine and the space shuttle Enterprise. Sunset views and unique spaces make it a popular choice for private events. 

Taste Harlem Food and Culture Tours
Delegates can sample dishes from the Caribbean, Africa and Italy while taking in Harlem’s distinctive architecture and rich cultural landscape. 

Whitney Museum of American Art
This institution for contemporary American art is a landmark of the Meatpacking District. The striking modern structure overlooking the Hudson River provides an unforgettable backdrop for any occasion. 
 

Queens

Queens is, by many accounts, the most culturally diverse place in the world. To test that theory, hop a quick 7-train subway ride from Midtown Manhattan to Astoria, Flushing or Jackson Heights—and bring a big appetite.  

In each Queens neighborhood, you’ll find a different cultural feast; Turkish, Korean, Greek, Thai, Indian, Egyptian, Ecuadorean, Chinese, Cuban and Mexican cuisines are among its edible offerings. Besides its gastronomical riches, Queens has no shortage of notable sights: a defining feature of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the Unisphere, a stainless-steel sculpture of the globe 120 feet in diameter, is a lasting legacy of the 1964–65 World’s Fair. The park also has a wealth of family-friendly attractions, including the New York Hall of Science and Queens Museum

Sports fans should flock to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open since 1978, and Citi Field, which replaced Shea Stadium as the home of the New York Mets in 2009. Long Island City, once a Queens manufacturing hub, has transformed over recent years into a flourishing arts-oriented waterfront neighborhood. Among its cultural anchors are the open-air Socrates Sculpture Park and Noguchi Museum, the latter dedicated to the legacy of sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi.

Queens offers easy subway access to Manhattan, along with a range of accommodations. Long Island City alone has more than 30 hotels, many overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Familiar chains like Courtyard and Aloft join boutique properties like the Boro Hotel, an eclectic modern oasis whose rooftop event space features 360-degree views. The City’s two major airports, JFK and LaGuardia, are also located in Queens. Many area hotels have recently added amenities like yoga and spas to encourage longer-term stays in this eclectic and bustling borough.  

More to Do: 
Louis Armstrong House Museum
The Corona home of the legendary jazz trumpeter has been immaculately preserved as an intimate tribute to his life and legacy. Group tours for up to 40 people can be accommodated. 

MoMA PS 1
The Long Island City branch of the Museum of Modern Art showcases contemporary and experimental works and offers six different event spaces. 
 

Staten Island

Staten Island is easily accessible via the Staten Island Ferry; free rides depart from Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. Your destination is St. George Terminal on the North Shore of Staten Island—an area undergoing major developments including the addition of retail outlets, a hotel and a massive observation wheel.  

A mile’s walk from the ferry terminal is the newly opened National Lighthouse Museum, displaying nautical artifacts and exhibits. Just down the road is the waterfront stadium of minor league baseball’s Staten Island Yankees. The past is preserved at the jewel-like St. George Theatre, which dates back to 1929 and hosts music, comedy and plays year-round. Farther inland, light rail and public buses help visitors explore more early-American history. The Conference House on the island’s southern shore is a pre–Revolutionary War site, famous as the location where Ben Franklin and John Adams met with the British to attempt to negotiate an end to the conflict. And once a retirement home for naval personnel, Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden now consists of several museums, maritime collections and greenways. 

Staten Island hotels are conveniently located near Newark Liberty International Airport, the City’s third major flight hub. The Hilton Garden Inn Staten Island sits on a 415-acre wildlife preserve and offers upscale lodging, dining and a rooftop bar and event space with floor-to-ceiling windows.

More to Do:
Historic Richmond Town
The colonial era comes to life in this sprawling complex, home to more than 30 original and renewed structures and available for corporate retreats. 


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