NEW YORK The sluggish economy of the past year did little to slow the growth of New York's hotels, restaurants, drinking spots, and event spaces. In addition to our Best of 2010 feature, we've reviewed the year's most notable venue openings, looking back at the last 12 months for sites that added new and flexible amenities for planners and marketers in the city.
1. Javits Center North
Originally envisioned during former governor George Pataki's administration, this expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center opened in July, adding 100,000 square feet to the city's major trade show facility. Although the long-awaited pavilion debuted with little fanfare, the site is impressive, providing column-free, modern, and polished space with its own set of loading docks, dedicated restrooms and food service areas, and a ceiling that is 25 feet high at its lowest point. And with the extension, Javits has begun work on the much-needed repairs to the original center.
2. New Meadowlands Stadium
Not only did the completion of the New Meadowlands Stadium add multiple facilities for large events to the the New York metropolitan area, the brand-new home of the New York Giants and Jets will bring the 2014 Super Bowl to the region. Within the complex are numerous spaces, including two 30,000-square-foot mezzanine clubs, a 20,280-square-foot hall, and a 280,000-square-foot plaza.
3. Broadway Pedestrian Plazas
Less than a year after opening them, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in February that the car-free zones around Times Square, Herald Square, and the Flatiron building would remain permanent fixtures. While making some of the busiest sections of the city easier to navigate, the closed stretches of road are also a boon to marketers for publicity stunts, small pop-ups, and flash mobs.
4. & 5. Andaz Wall Street & Andaz 5th Avenue
The Hyatt Hotel group made a big splash this year with the opening of its two Andaz properties, the first local outposts of the hospitality corporation's new boutique brand. Both the downtown and Midtown locations are in convenient areas not yet crowded with hotels and, as well as offering business-friendly restaurants and bars, provide a new style of meeting space where the function rooms are centered around a communal kitchen and lounge.
Designed to match the sleek architecture of the new Alexandria Center for Life Science—a campus for biotechnology firms, science research labs, and pharmaceutical companies—this stylish meeting space has more than just a pretty face. Functional decorative touches include power connections embedded into the surface of the conference desks and tables, walls mounted with oversize whiteboards, and open communal kitchen areas that serve as informal gathering points. The flexible 16,000-square-foot Apella offers 10 different rooms for meetings and events.
7. Bowlmor Lanes Times Square
It's hard to miss the mammoth bowling facility that opened last month: Measuring 90,000 square feet, the newest Bowlmor Lanes is largest location of Tom Shannon's national chain and one of the biggest venues to open in New York in 2010. The site, which occupies two floors inside the former New York Times building, is built for events, with 50 lanes divided between seven sections—all of which are available for private groups—three lounges, and a dedicated room for banquets and receptions.
8. 82 Mercer
Once home to manufacturers, SoHo landmark building 82 Mercer relaunched as a dedicated event space in late January and has since hosted a number of events, including shows and presentations during New York Fashion Week, a tasting during the New York City Wine & Food Festival, and the Whitney Museum of American Art's Art Party. The venue's 25,000 square feet of space sit on one floor, making it one of SoHo's roomiest sites for corporate and nonprofit functions.
9. Lincoln Ristorante
Jonathan Benno and the Patina Restaurant Group's venture was one of the most talked-about restaurant openings this year, drawing attention from foodies, architects, and theater-goers. Designed by Diller, Scofio & Renfro, the new addition to Lincoln Center's campus is a striking, glass-enclosed pavilion, topped with a 7,200-square-foot curved, sloping roof. With a 111-seat dining room, 44-seat lounge, outdoor seating for 28, and a 16-seat private dining room, Lincoln is suitable for pretheater entertaining, client meetings, and events.
10. New York Stock Exchange
The city's financial hub was previously only offered to companies listed on the exchange, but earlier this year the New York Stock Exchange opened up its landmark building to outside parties for event rentals. Corporate and nonprofit planners now have access to the trading floor, seventh-floor dining room, lounge, and card room, as well as the plaza out front.