23 Reasons We’re Looking Forward to 2023

nycgo staff

If you joined us in achieving NYC goals in 2022, you may have sampled ceviche at Contento, whipped out your jazz hands at the new Museum of Broadway and traded feather boas with fellow Harry Styles fans at Madison Square Garden. This year we’ve got a new batch of openings, festivals, exhibits and pop-idol concerts to look forward to, taking place across the five boroughs.

We’ve already started making plans; join us to see what’s on the horizon for 2023.

1. Hip-hop is officially 50 but as energized as ever.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the world's great cultural movements—invented, of course, in NYC. On August 11, 1973, Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc, spun records at his sister’s birthday party in the rec room of a Bronx apartment complex, laying the foundation for a genre that would go on to change quite literally everything. Celebrations, concerts, exhibitions and the like will be a big part of the next 12 months; indeed, the mayor announced a 50-event initiative in conjunction with the Universal Hip Hop Museum. Stay tuned for more details.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, The Vanishing American (1994). Courtesy, Whitney Museum of American Art

2. A groundbreaking Native American artist gets a dazzling retrospective.

The Whitney presents a new show by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Memory Map, which opens April 19. The multimedia exhibition includes painting and sculpture from the artist’s nearly 50-year-long career, addressing land and habitation, Indigenous culture and other issues that are at the fore of the culture today.

We all know December can be a bit hectic, so we won’t hold it against you if you haven’t yet been to this international bathhouse that opened in Brooklyn last month. Its 50,000 square feet hold rooms with eye-popping designs—from the mosaics of the hammams to the other-worldly curvature of the infrared sauna—and spa experiences from all corners of the world: the venik platza ritual of the Russian banyas, the soothing pools of a Japanese onsen, the cleansing power of the Turkish and Moroccan hammams; and a Himalayan salt room. Finish off with a bite at Ren restaurant, run by chef Shaun Hergatt.

Closing reception for “LIT: Are We Not a Shining Light?” Photo: Jenna Bascom. Courtesy, NYCxDESIGN

4. NYC x Design is back to inspire us.

The festival (May 18–25) celebrates the creativity of designers across the five boroughs with pop-up exhibitions, installations, studio crawls and curated events. Last year audiences were invited to large-scale shows like Melt, which featured experimental designers turning living room essentials into abstract but functional works of art. Expect similarly inventive expressions of everything under the design umbrella at this year’s event.

Untitled 01 from “Constructed Realities," Abraham Oghobase (2019–2022). Courtesy, Abraham Oghobase/MoMA

5. MoMA approaches new photography in a new way. 

Seven artists who “explore the image as a social medium” are this year’s choice for MoMA’s New Photography (May 18–September 16), an annual exhibition featuring multiple contemporary photographers. This year the decades-only series turns its focus to specific international art movements, exploring Lagos, Nigeria, through the lens of photographers who have a close link to that city.

6. The Long Island Rail Road’s Grand Central Madison Terminal (finally) opens.

The biggest expansion of the LIRR in 112 years brings it to the east side of Manhattan, which should help ease subway and train congestion in and around Penn Station. This will amount to a less stressful commute even if you not coming from Long Island. The new terminal also includes 25 new retail fronts, art installations and will get you to JFK in a quick 40 minutes. We’ll take it!

7. MoMA PS1 will warm up again come summertime.

After taking last season off to “reimagine” the annual outdoor music series, MoMA PS1 is set to bring back Warm Up to their courtyard this summer. The Queens museum is not only home to some of the best contemporary art in the City but also the place to catch up-and-coming musical artists before they skyrocket to fame (see Cardi B and Lizzo). Bonus: this outdoor dance party is always accompanied by tasty bites and refreshments for purchase and a large-scale immersive installation.

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Apollo and Victoria Theater marquees. Photo: Shahar Azran

8. The Apollo makes room for more artists and performers.

The beauty of the once-derelict Victoria Theater, on a stretch of 125th Street formerly known as Opera Row, is being brought back to life as a new addition to the Apollo. The project, currently scheduled for public debut in fall 2023, is set to restore the original facade of the Victoria—which opened in 1917 as a Vaudeville house and theater (and closed, after a few incarnations, in 1997)—and create two new performing arts theaters and office space for cultural programming and staff. Check the website for updates on the progress and any shows scheduled as well for the Apollo’s other events.

9. A slice of LA hits NYC at the Met’s Rooftop Garden.

Artist Lauren Halsey’s interpretation of her home in South Central LA comes to life as a site-specific architectural structure. In an interview with the New York Times, Halsey describes her installation as a “remix of and sampling of Pharaonic architectural symbols—the sphinx, columns, pavers.” Her work, The Eastside of South Central Los Angeles Hieroglyph Prototype Architecture (I), was delayed a year for logistical reasons; it will be on display April 18 to October 22.

10. There will be some (March) madness at the sporting arenas.

Madison Square Garden gets another turn at hosting an NCAA Men's Basketball East Regional (March 23 & 25), your chance to see top teams trying to earn the right to make the Final Four. Also, for those yearning to bring back the buzz of soccer still in the air from the 2022 World Cup (did we mention the next one of those will be taking place in the US in 2026, with some of the matches at MetLife Stadium?), it is the month to make a trip to Yankee Stadium or Red Bull Arena. The former hosts Major League Soccer’s New York City FC; the latter, the same league’s New York Red Bulls. Both of their home seasons kick off in March.

Courtesy, New York International Children’s Film Festival

11. Find movies galore at the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

Since 1997, this event has been transporting both the young and young at heart to fanciful Claymation worlds, the sizzling 2-D feasts of Studio Ghibli and into the lives of real kids via thoughtful documentaries. NYICFF, held this year March 3–19, has presented plenty of Oscar-nominated films and shorts over the years and is known for its mission to help children understand themselves and the world around them, introducing subjects that are complex, comedic or sometimes both.

Courtesy, Bad Cinderella

12. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Emerald Fennel’s Bad Cinderella comes to Broadway.

While Lloyd Webber is no stranger to Broadway, you’ve never met this Cinderella before. With a book penned by Emmy- and Oscar-winning screenwriter Emerald Fennel (Killing Eve and Promising Young Woman), Bad Cinderella, which begins previews February 17, goes after beauty standards and gender roles in the uproarious way only a song titled “Buns and Roses” could.

13. Governors Ball will again rule Queens.

NYC’s answer to Coachella heads to Flushing Meadows Corona Park for its three-day (June 9–11) music festival featuring today’s top artists. Previous headliners have included J. Cole, The Strokes, Drake and Billie Eilish, and this year’s edition will be equally stacked: Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo, Odesza and Haim will be among those performing. Whether you’re going for the whole weekend or grabbing a day pass to see a favorite artist, be sure to sign up for notifications of when those tickets drop—they sell out quickly.

Westminster Dog Show. Photo: Jen Davis

14. The pups will show up and show out at the Westminster Dog Show.

For the first time in the City since 2019, you will be able to watch poised pooches in the fur, so to speak, at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (May 8–9). This year not only marks its NYC return but its move to Queens, at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Will Frenchie the bulldog defend his title as Best in Show? Will justice ever be dealt to golden retrievers, who have never won in the show’s 146 years? (Don’t even get us started on the indignities routinely given to dachshunds.)

15. We’re ready for another year of great live music and big-name stars.

If you managed to get tickets to Taylor Swift, congratulations (also, do you know someone at Ticketmaster?). If not, know that there’s no shortage of stars on the NYC concert calendar. Blink 182 (May 19) and Paramore (May 30–31) are among the pop-punk acts to play Madison Square Garden, where you also find only-one-name-required heavy hitters such as Bruce (April 1), Janet (May 9–10), and SZA (March 4–5). A few other highlights: Elvis Costello stages a 10-show run in February at Gramercy Theater; Jill Scott does a few nights at Kings Theater (March 23–24); and actor-singer Maya Hawke, of Stranger Things fame, performs at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (May 13).

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"M Train on Route to Manhattan Approaches the Williamsburg Bridge," Richard Estes (1995). Courtesy, Louis K. Meisel Gallery

16. The museum of the City of New York hits the century mark.

Founded in 1923, the institution is preparing a series of exhibitions both at the museum and beyond to celebrate the its impact on the way we look at New York City. Programming includes This Is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture, which documents the passage of time and the influence of “the most-watched place on the planet.”

17. It takes a Village to host Manhattan’s first Wegmans.

The space that housed the East Village’s giant Kmart at Astor Place is being transformed into an 82,000-square-foot Wegmans grocery store, much to the delight of the grocer’s cultlike fans. If you’re familiar with the chain, you already know why it’s so beloved: not just for those cakes and subs—sorry, heroes—but also for the excellent customer service. Look for it in the second half of 2023. If you need us then, we’ll be at the omakase counter.

Courtesy, Empellon

18. Alex Stupak’s Mischa opens this winter.

Stupak, chef and mastermind behind contemporary Mexican restaurant group Empellon, turns his attention to New American cuisine in his first commercial departure from Mexican food. His take includes hummus made of black chickpeas, dry-aged hot dogs and the odd Ukrainian touch in homage to his heritage. Stay tuned for opening information, and read Stupak’s November update for good measure too.

Century 21. Photo: Will Steacy

19. Shoppers will hail the return of clothing retailer Century 21.

If shopping hasn’t been the same for you since the retail giant shuttered its four-floor flagship of deals across the street from the World Trade Center, you are not alone. In spring 2023, the store returns in partnership with experiences company Legends to create an elevated and streamlined shopping experience.

20. The Bronx Children’s Museum has a new forever home.

After a decade-plus of the big purple school bus cruising all over the borough to reach children in their neighborhoods, the Bronx Children’s Museum opened its doors in December to its new permanent space on the Harlem River. The museum invites both children and their parents to explore their urban community, the nature around it and the cultural history of the Bronx. And don’t worry, the plans are for the bus to still be mobile.

Aaron Judge. Courtesy, New York Yankees

21. We’ll look for magic, and magic numbers, this baseball season.

Sixty-two has a new resonance, after Aaron Judge set the AL record by hitting that many home runs last year for the Yankees. Can he top it? He’ll likely be more focused on working with ace pitcher Gerrit Cole to get the team to the World Series; it’s been since 2009, after all (a lifetime in Yankee years). As for their Queens counterparts, ’62 also looms large; it was the Mets first season, when they lost a record 120 games. They’ve come a long way, and with the majors’ highest payroll (an estimated $350 million)—thanks in part to adding Cy Young winner Justin Verlander to a team with stars Edwin Diaz and Francisco Lindor—they expect nothing less than a title themselves. Subway Series, anyone?*

22. A food hall in Chelsea will set the standard for gourmet.

More than a dozen food vendors are headed to the Chelsea waterfront in early 2023 thanks to the James Beard Foundation’s food hall at Pier 57. If the recipients of the foundation’s coveted culinary awards are anything to go by, these curated vendor stalls will provide plenty of tasty reasons to visit. The 16,000-square-foot location will feature a rotating roster of NYC-based chefs and restaurateurs.

Courtesy, Virgin Hotel

23. A hotel rooftop will be your new favorite place to take pictures.

The 38-story boutique Virgin Hotel is set to open in February in NoMad (or Gramercy or Flatiron, if you have a bone to pick with developers). Whether you’re booking one of the 460 rooms or a day pass to take a dip in the rooftop pool, this hotel is poised to impress. Have a cocktail at the Sky Lounge with views of the Empire State Building, or head below the hotel to Swingers, a cross between indoor mini golf course and happening nightspot.

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*Though the interleague games the teams play against each other are now colloquially known as the Subway Series, the term more specifically refers to a World Series meeting between two NYC teams, which last happened in 2000. Also, don’t forget about seeing the Brooklyn Cyclones or Staten Island FerryHawks, the City’s minor league and independent league baseball teams, respectively.


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