Bill Phelps
The Big Apple has ripened and is more sumptuous than ever before
The Big Apple has ripened and is more sumptuous than ever before
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The New New York

A funny thing is happening in Gotham. Right in the middle of a giant turndown, the city continues to reinvent itself on a grand scale.

By Victoria De Silverio

August 3rd, 2009

Rumors spread that the city would revert to the crime-ridden patterns of the ’70s. It hasn’t. Or that with the steady drumroll of businesses closing in every neighborhood, some essential lifeblood would disappear. Not happening. And while here at Sherman’s Travel we mourn all (well, most) of the restaurants and cultural venues that haven’t survived the last year in our hometown, there is still reason to celebrate. Despite the continuing struggles of New York City’s main engines of finance, media, and real estate, new places are flourishing.

We set out to find the cream of this crop, and after much heated debate, selected our favorites to keep the list manageable. We focused our attention on Manhattan, though scrappy reinvention is happening in all five boroughs. And the picks are not just new, as in hot-this-season-but-soon-to-be-forgotten. They are redefining life for NYC and its landscape – like the Standard Hotel, whose ambitious design instantly became a new icon in the skyline, and Minetta Tavern, a reinvention of an old warhorse that is now heralded as the city’s best steak house (which is saying something).

Huge civic and cultural projects have reached fruition (just in time to jolt us out of our collective slump) and range from the snazzy revamp of Lincoln Center to two state-of-the-art baseball stadiums. Distinctive new green spaces such as High Line park, born atop a dormant railroad viaduct, create oases amid the buzz. This fall – the ideal time of year to visit – Manhattan’s theaters, music venues, and museums will, as ever, unveil a generous array of offerings. Standouts on the list include a fresh play by David Mamet, a new maestro at the Philharmonic, and a rock club where fine wines rule.

As much as New York City’s denizens welcome the new, they are equally, if not more, taken with the old. So our story includes some historic treasures like Grand Central’s Oyster Bar and the Staten Island Ferry that are essential to the rich mix that helps define Gotham.

Yes, the city’s financial sector is still regrouping, but in New York there is no such thing as backing down. This famously resilient city is in a constant state of reinvention and even with this current challenge, the best is still rising to the top.

View our New York City Slideshow by photographer Bill Phelps for glimpses of the shiny new side of the Big Apple.

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