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New York: Big Apple Bargains for the New Year

By: Virgin Atlantic

December 3, 2019

New York Theatre District © Wikimedia Commons

New York Theatre District © Wikimedia Commons

For a city as wallet-busting as New York, it pays to visit at a traditionally quiet time of year

During the low season months of January and February visitor numbers to the city tend to slump a bit, so you can often find some fantastic deals including theatre and restaurant savings across all five boroughs.

For early 2020, the official tourist body NYC & Company will launch three separate money-saving events to encourage travel during the quieter months: NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week, all of which run from 21 January––9 February. We take a look at the essentials, plus a few highlights of each promotion.

NYC Restaurant Week

  • NYC Restaurant Week happens twice a year and is a great way to experience the city’s fine dining scene at an affordable price. Hundreds of participating restaurants offer good value, fixed price menus for lunch and/or dinner, giving visitors on all budgets the chance to discover incredible restaurants that may otherwise be out of reach. (Saturdays are excluded.)
  • Two-course lunch menus (USD $26) offer a minimum of three choices each for starters and mains, while the three-course dinner menus (USD $42) provide three starter and main course selections and a minimum of two desserts. On average, this represents savings of around 20–50% off the regular menu prices.
  • Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are strongly advised if you have your heart set on a particular restaurant. Check out who’s participating before you arrive in the Big Apple (many venues are still to be unveiled) and make a note to reserve your table when the booking system opens on 8 January 2020.
  • Our top tip: The first week of Restaurant ‘Week’ (it actually runs for three weeks) is always the busiest, so skip to the final week if you’re having trouble scoring a table at your most-wanted venue during the first few days.
  • Our highlights: You can’t beat a New York classic, and they don’t come more traditional than the Capital Grille Wall Street, a steakhouse and seafood specialist spread over three levels of the historic Equitable Life building in the Financial District. Restaurant Week lunch and dinner menus include their signature dry-aged steaks, as well as the house favourite New England clam chowder and burgers with parmesan truffle fries. There’s probably no destination in the world as exciting as NYC when it comes to trying new food. If you’re not already familiar with contemporary Korean cuisine, get yourself over to Hanjan in the Flatiron District, where dishes inspired by Korean street markets are served in a bustling, laid-back setting. Menu highlights range from gochugaru cured cod roe with seaweed, to wild Japanese yellowtail sashimi and black sesame ice cream. New York City is home to some of the best Italian restaurants in the world, including several Restaurant Week participants. Across the East River in Williamsburg, Brooklyn lies Antiqua Pesa, an outpost of the famous family-run restaurant in Rome known for serving reworked traditional recipes. Open for dinner only during the promotion, you can expect simple Italian classics cooked to perfection including porchetta, pasta and tiramisù.

NYC Broadway Week

  • After eating your way around town, a night at the theatre is on the cards. NYC Broadway Week gives you 2-for-1 ticket deals at numerous shows, with 50% off the price of each ticket when a minimum of two tickets are purchased.
  • Special occasion? The deal also gives you the option to upgrade your seat to be closer to the stage or a better view than standard-priced tickets. These upgraded seats also come with a 50% discount, plus a USD$20 flat fee.
  • Running concurrently is NYC Off-Broadway Week, for those seeking cult favourites, innovative shows and new works in more intimate venues.
  • Like Restaurant Week, the full list of shows will be revealed when booking opens on 8 January, but some of those already announced include the 2019 Tony Award-winning Ain’t Too Proud–The Life and Times of the Temptations, including the hits Just my Imagination and My Girl, along with perennial family favourite The Lion King featuring new songs by Elton John, and Academy Award-winning director Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.

NYC Must-See Week

  • If you’re not as familiar with Must-See Week as you are with the two above, it’s a similar format to Broadway Week but for some of the city’s best experiences, attractions, museums, tours and performing arts such as ballet, magic shows and circuses.
  • Participating venues, landmarks and attractions will offer two-person admission for the price of one ticket, when two people visit the same attraction at the same time. Visit NYC & Company for more information and booking codes.
  • Some of New York’s most popular museums and galleries will be taking part, including the 9/11 Tribute Museum, the fantastic Whitney Museum of American Art, which specialises in 20th century and contemporary art, and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, home to the space shuttle Enterprise and the famous aircraft carrier Intrepid.
  • Want a bird’s-eye view? Get bargain entry to the One World Observatory, where a glass Sky Pod whisks you up 102 storeys in 47 seconds, to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. If you want to see One World Trade Center and the rest of the Downtown skyline, the 86th-floor Empire State Building Observatory is also taking part. We say do both!
  • Other must-see highlights include tours of NYC landmarks like Yankee Stadium, NBC Studios, Madison Square Garden, the United Nations headquarters, and Radio City Music Hall; the new National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, a virtual, interactive underwater experience, and some wintry fun at the world’s best known public ice-skating venue: The Rink at Rockefeller Center.

Whizz up to the top of the One World Observatory as part of NYC Must-See Week 2020 © Pixabay

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