NYC & Company Unveils New “Unlock NYC” Campaign to Inspire and Stimulate Winter Travel to New York City

Hidden Spaces within Iconic Places

The Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems at the American Museum of Natural History is like window-shopping on another world-ascends a short staircase and you’re surrounded by sparkling jewels. Looking for a rock of your own? The Diamond District is a short subway ride away.

Everyone knows about the Christmas Spectacular, but did you know that there’s an actual apartment inside Radio City Music Hall? Take the tour and you’ll be shown its fireplace, mahogany walls and 20-foot ceilings. Then you can dream of moving in.

Shhh…share a secret at NYC’s classic Grand Central Terminal. Downstairs at the “whispering wall,” your words will travel loud and clear, even above the bustle of the hub’s midday rush. Our suggestion for what to say? “Meet me at the Campbell Apartment.”

Isamu Noguchi is known for sculpture like his famed glass-topped coffee table. But perhaps his greatest work of art is the Noguchi Museum, the serene and reflective space he designed in Long Island City, Queens, to showcase his greatest hits. Visit on a wintry day to experience the artist’s quiet sensibilities and snow-covered garden. If you’re not already a minimalist, you will be when you leave.

Everyone knows about the spectacular views from the Empire State Building, but few know that the observation deck is open late—very late. Once everyone else has turned in, head up at midnight and take in the City shining below you. Don’t forget to Instagram it.

The Staten Island Ferry has enclosed seating, runs 24/7 and, best of all, is free. Take a night sightseeing cruise: grab a coffee or beer (sold on board), curl up by the big picture windows and watch the City skyline sail by. Disembark in St. George, and stay for a drink or a meal.

You don’t have to stay at the Plaza Hotel to experience its extravagance. The palatial hotel’s restored Palm Court is open to all until midnight. Having a refined cocktail and some quiet conversation under the stained-glass ceiling is one way to savor a taste of the high life.

Cinematic City

Spend a day Holly Golightly style, straight out of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961): romp through Central Park and the New York Public Library. You may even feel daring enough to bring your morning Danish into Tiffany & Co.

Master of the Universe or not, you can’t help but feel like a high roller when you eat at the ‘21′ Club, where all men must wear jackets. Take Gordon Gekko’s advice and treat yourself to the steak tartare, like in Wall Street (1987).

You too can go to Christie’s and bid on something fancy the way Samantha does in Sex and the City (2008). Even if you don’t quite have the budget to engage in a bidding war, it’s worth visiting to see the vibrant Sol LeWitt mural and glimpse high society in action.

In The Wiz (1978), Dorothy—as played by Diana Ross—finds herself in a part of Oz called Munchkinland. You might recognize the backdrop as the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. While you’re in the park, catch some nearby prime attractions like the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Museum.

Film buffs who want to visit multiple locations from the silver screen can get a great overview with On Location Tours‘ NYC TV & Movie Tour. See over 40 sites from current and classic productions like Trainwreck, Spider-Man and When Harry Met Sally—and become part of a living movie montage.

Calling all romantics (and neurotic intellectuals): you can make yourself a part of the most iconic shot from Manhattan (1979). Talk all night with someone special on a bench right beneath the Queensboro Bridge; you’ll find choice seats where Sutton Square meets Riverview Terrace. Come in the early morning and you’ll feel like you have the City all to yourself—it’s pretty enough to be a movie poster.

Of all the ghoul-hunting buddy comedies starring Bill Murray, Ghostbusters (1984) is inarguably the most NYC-centric. Locations include Tavern on the Green, the recently reopened restaurant with stunning views of wintry Central Park. You won’t see any ghosts, but ask any New Yorker—there’s always a chance you might run into Bill Murray.

Experience the magic of a glamorous night at the Metropolitan Opera—à la Nicholas Cage and Cher in Moonstruck (1987). Feel resplendent in your formal wear as you pass beneath its chandeliers and climb its majestic stairways.

Visit the Waldorf Astoria, like James Earl Jones in Coming to America (1988), and it’s not hard to feel like royalty for a day. The drinks at the hotel’s Bull & Bear Bar are exquisite and, unlike Zamunda, they exist.

Swagger down 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, like a disco don, and enjoy a stack of two piping-hot slices from Lenny’s Pizza—following John Travolta’s steps in Saturday Night Fever (1977). We’ll leave the choice of wearing bell-bottoms up to you.

Eats, Treats & Secret Menus

Settle into the warmth of a modern Greenwich Village classic: Minetta Tavern. The plush red booths and elegant lighting appeal to celebrities and moguls. You can feel like an A-lister too—just order the celebrated Black Label burger. No tables available at dinner? Try weekend brunch, when reservations are easier to score.

The opulent decor at Midtown‘s Russian Tea Room is the stuff of legend: antique samovars, a golden tree with Venetian glass eggs and a nearly 20-foot bear-shaped aquarium. Kids will love watching the fish; bring them along for Children’s Tea, which comes at a surprisingly affordable price.

As its name suggests, contemporary art museum MoMA PS1, in Long Island City, Queens, used to be a schoolhouse. On-site eatery M. Wells Dinette conveys the nostalgia of eating in a cafeteria, but it’s safe to say your lunch lady never served haute cuisine like beef tartare, sweetbreads and a spaghetti Bolognese sandwich.

As soon as you bite into a charred slice from a real Brooklyn coal oven, it hits you: you’ve never had pizza like this before. Three of the best places to savor the genuine article are Totonno’s, in Coney Island, and Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s, both in DUMBO. They only sell whole pies, so invite someone special along to share it.

Step into Nom Wah Tea Parlor, NYC’s first dim sum restaurant, for a trip back in time. Then open the door onto Doyers Street, one of Chinatown‘s prettiest thoroughfares, where you’ll be transported by the Chinese characters on storefronts and the aromas of Cantonese cooking. Keep the evening going by getting cozy next door at hidden cocktail bar Apothéke and ordering up an Old-Fashioned.

For a taste of history, venture to Delmonico’s, where none other than President Lincoln loved to eat mashed potatoes smothered in cheese and bread crumbs—a dish you can still order today. After, repair to the Dingle Whiskey Bar at Fraunces Tavern, the site where George Washington bade farewell to his troops.

Zabb Elee, in Jackson Heights, Queens, earned a Michelin star for its Thai game, but for those in the know, the scene is at its downstairs sake bar. Order a drink and relax over beautiful small plates like the chili garlic pasta with shrimp tempura—just the sort of spice to warm you on a winter’s night.

Roberta’s, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, is famous for its innovative cuisine and hipper-than-thou clientele, but the secret’s out. If you really want to impress a special someone, make reservations at Blanca, the intimate restaurant inside Roberta’s. But be sure to book well ahead—there are only 12 seats.

Sam’s Soul Food, on the South Bronx’s historic Grand Concourse, is more than just a restaurant. Run for more than 15 years by Ghana native Samuel Amoah, the welcoming spot exudes warmth and often includes music spun by DJ Hollywood, an influential figure in hip-hop. You may even see the likes of Grandmaster Flash or DJ Kool Herc drop by.

Stores with Stories

Anyone with a serious shoe fetish already knows about Saks Fifth Avenue‘s monumental array of heels. For everyone else: the department store’s shoe floor is so big it has its own zip code (10022-SHOE). Our advice? Stake a claim on some couch space and bring on the shoe buffet.

Museum-quality couture displays will lure you into Bergdorf Goodman, Midtown‘s landmark high-end department store. As if the exclusive designer collections weren’t enough, warming up in the penthouse salon and spa will make you want to stay all day.

For more than a century, Macy’s flagship in Herald Square has been synonymous with shopping. Its wooden escalators are a nod to that rich history—and a 10% in-store discount for tourists is a fine excuse to ride them.

Discover Brooklyn boutiques with a stroll along Atlantic Avenue. Find vintage housewares at Collier West, stylish men’s threads at Hollander & Lexer, designer labels at Barneys and a variety of Middle Eastern delicacies at Sahadi’s. Then cozy up at Absolute Coffee to recap the day over a hot beverage.

It’s hard to wander through Flatiron luxury emporium ABC Carpet & Home without wanting to redesign your whole living room. Don’t worry: you don’t have to jam a new armoire into your suitcase—they ship. Better yet? Browse the company’s outlet in the Bronx for discounts.

At downtown’s Brookfield Place, high-end stores like Hermès, Bottega Veneta and DVF make even window shopping a pleasure. Finish your night with a glass of wine and buzzed-about cuisine at Parm or Le District. It’s the perfect stop for a bit of retail (and food) therapy.

Find a new date-night outfit you don’t hate at Forever 21 in Times Square. If you have second thoughts about it, you can always come back—the store’s open until 2am. As a bonus, the famed lights of the area’s billboards will add dazzle to your evening.

First, stop for a hot drink at Eataly‘s Caffè Lavazza. Next, peruse the emporium’s fantastic selection of imported Italian foods. Pick out some tasty gifts for your friends and family back home. (Just remember to keep some for yourself.)

Who doesn’t want to get down with Williamsburg’s infamous indie rockers? Immerse yourself in music at record shop Rough Trade. Discover rare vinyl, CDs and books about music. Afterward, you’ll be ready to play a set at Brooklyn Bowl.

Century 21 is jammed with on brands at off prices, and some locations are open as late as 10pm—and as early as 7:45am. (Jet lag, anyone?) Hunt for only-in-NYC bargains in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and come out feeling like a conquering hero.

Broadway & Beyond

Didn’t buy your Broadway tickets in advance? Don’t worry: show up early at a Broadway theater’s box office and you could score great same-day seats once it opens. They’re called “rush tickets,” and almost every show has them. You’ll be close enough to reach out and touch the stars.

Free on Wednesday afternoon? You can often get better seats for a matinee show, even when it comes to a huge hit. And when it’s time for the next act, your whole evening is free to settle in for a leisurely meal on Restaurant Row. A show and dinner can be even more fun than dinner and a show.

Imagine yourself wearing a red pea coat and holding an umbrella at a Broadway theater, as if you’re Mary Poppins. With a behind-the-scenes tour of the New Amsterdam Theatre, home to Disney productions including the current show, Aladdin, you’re guaranteed a magical time.

Warm up with a play, concert, reading or dance performance at BAM, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, whose stages have hosted the likes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mary J. Blige and Jimmy Kimmel. A note for the civic-minded: BAM’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is NYC’s largest.

Hang out by the stage door after a performance, and you just might get an autograph or picture with a star. Just imagine you and Bruce Willis (who’s starring in Misery) getting your selfie on.  Step into Sardi’s during the post-theater rush and find yourself surrounded by nearly 90 years’ worth of theater history, autographed caricatures and, often, Broadway actors dining after a night of work.

Go to the Belasco Theatre—where Blackbird, with Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels, starts showing in February—and legend has it you may just see the ghost of its namesake playwright, David Belasco, roaming the premises.  There’s more to NYC Theater than just Broadway: the City has plenty of gorgeous, notable stages. Among them are Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre, Staten Island’s St. George Theatre and the United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights. Check their lineups for upcoming concerts and productions, and spend an evening steeped in historic glamour.

Immerse yourself in downtown cool at Joe’s Pub, attached to the Public Theater. The performances in the cozy, intimate space veer more toward cabaret and music than straight plays or musicals, and you might see a star on the rise. Then head to the bars and restaurants of the East Village, one of the City’s most bustling neighborhoods for nightlife.

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