The “New” Midtown Manhattan

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Midtown Manhattan, meetings
An inside look at the new National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey

New attractions lend a theme park feel to Midtown Manhattan.

Attendees can’t get enough of Midtown Manhattan. Now, a variety of new attractions—many of them feeling more theme park than big city—are opening in the area within 10 blocks of Times Square. The group experience has been reimagined, with good, clean fun as the focal point.

Lovers of intrigue now have the just-opened Skyscape, the largest interactive spy museum in the world, where they can try their hands at hacking, code breaking and espionage. Skyscape features 60,000 sf of meeting space and a “situation room” ideal for board meetings. It is located on 8th Avenue between 54th and 55th Streets.

For nature-lovers, the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey Experience on West 44th Street transports visitors on an underwater journey (without getting wet, of course). Immersive technology lets them play with sea lions or get up close to humpback whales. Also on West 44th Street is Gulliver’s Gate, an exhibit featuring miniature 3-D replicas of iconic global landmarks from all over the world. The diverse collection includes the Hoover Dam, the Colosseum in Rome, the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China.

The new NFL Experience in the heart of legendary Times Square has a 4-D theater accommodating up to 250 people, three meeting spaces totaling 6,000 sf of space and a meeting room that can seat up 150 attendees. The just-opened The 27,000-sf Opry City Stage, a few blocks away at 1604 Broadway, Is the first-ever satellite location of country music’s Grand Ole Opry, with four floors of music and food. The main space is modeled on the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. There are free performances by local country musicians throughout the day in the main space, as well as special concerts by big-name stars. Opry City Stage can accommodate 500 attendees for events.

The most talked-about new special event venue is the Ziegfield Ballroom on West 54th Street, one of the largest ballrooms in the city and capable of accommodating 1,200. This Art Deco space draws its inspiration from the 1930s luxury cruise liner, the SS Normandie.

Also in Midtown, one of the city’s most popular museums, The Museum of Modern Art (known as MOMA), is undergoing a three-year renovation with the first phase now complete. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (known for the High Line and the Lincoln Center renovation), in collaboration with Gensler, the project will increase the gallery space increase by 30 percent. The fully renovated space will be completed in 2019.

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