New York City’s iconic status, coupled with its world-class museums, attractions and a favourable exchange rate, has led to a growth in tourism that shows no sign of abating.

Here’s our guide to what’s new in the Big Apple.

 

Hotels

New York has suffered from a shortage of hotel development in the wake of September 11, leading visitors to book in quieter periods such as August and January – but even these periods are seeing 100% occupancy in many hotels.

Over the next couple of years many hotels will open, delivering about 3,500 rooms by the end of this year and more than 13,000 new or renovated rooms by 2010.

This year will see a number of properties opening, including The Sheraton Four Points (250 rooms) and Fairfield Inn (250 rooms) at Eighth Avenue and 40th Street, the Sheraton Soho Village (152 rooms) and two properties from the Lam Group.

The Plaza will reopen in October with 282 rooms and Thompson’s long-awaited 6 Columbus should finally open this month. The Pod Hotel opened in February with 347 rooms and Ian Shrager recently launched the Gramercy Park Hotel.

 

Nightlife

New shows coming to Broadway include The Young Frankenstein (November 8) and The Little Mermaid (December 6). Grease opened on August 19.

Clubbers might like to try out the Gansevoort Spa and Lounge in the trendy Meatpacking District. Located in the Hotel Gansevoort it is the country’s first spa/bar hybrid. At night the spa is transformed into an exclusive bar and lounge.

New bars include Tillman’s Bar and Lounge (165 West 26th Street), with waitresses in cigarette-girl get-ups and a roaring fire. The Rose Bar (2 Lexington Avenue), at the renovated Gramercy Park Hotel, is the place to show off that little Donna Karan outfit and matching Jimmy Choo’s that you picked up in SoHo.

 

Dining

Top chefs making waves this year include Michael Anthony at the Gramercy Tavern, David Cheng at the Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Gordon Ramsey’s outpost in The London NYC hotel.

The Russian Tea Rooms can now be found on 150 West 57th Street and other openings include the Cafe Grumpy in Chelsea, Dieci and Westville East in the East Village, Max in TriBeCa and Keith McNally’s Italian eatery Morandi. However, if you want to eat with New Yorkers head for Brooklyn.

 

Galleries and museums

The Museum of Contemporary Art will reopen on December 1 and the Age of Rembrandt exhibition will open at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 18. The Drawings by George Seurat opens at the Museum of Modern Art on October 28.

More than 120 arts organisations will gather in Battery Park for CultureFest, a free weekend festival on October 13 and 14 offering a glimpse of upcoming programmes with live performances and the best of New York’s food.

 

Neighbourhood flavours

New York is made up of five boroughs and those who want a more eclectic experience should venture off the island of Manhattan. Forget the Meatpacking District and take the last exit to Brooklyn.

The two most accessible areas are Williamsburg and the Brooklyn Heights/Brooklyn Bridge, both of which are a short subway ride from Manhattan.

When the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott opened in 1998 it was the first hotel to open there in more than 60 years. Located walking distance from the bridge, there are nine subway lines within a block’s walk. Some rooms even have views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and the Statue of Liberty.

The restaurants are full of Manhattanites escaping the overpriced establishments across the East River. Brooklyn has some fine museums and cutting-edge boutiques, and for a unique Americana experience there is also Coney Island.

The Bronx is home to a number of top attractions, including the Bronx Zoo, and the stunning 250-acre New York Botanical Garden, which includes more than 40 acres of city forest.

The Bronx is also home to the Yankee Stadium, and its Wave Hill neighbourhood has superb views of the Hudson River and Mark Twain’s former mansion.