The new in New York for spring

For The Baltimore Sun
What's new in New York City?

What's current in the rest of the world is so five minutes ago in New York.

The city that operates a season or two ahead of the rest of the world is constantly reinventing itself, debuting the newest sights, sounds, tastes and thrills. To keep up, even the mainstays must hit their refresh buttons constantly. How can anyone stay on top of it all?

The short answer is, you probably can't, but that doesn't stop you from trying. Sound exhausting? Relax, we've done the legwork for you and uncovered some of the best of what's new to do, see, taste, hear and buy this spring in New York. But hurry, because by tomorrow, it'll be yesterday's news.

See Your City. There are so many neighborhoods in New York, and each has its own distinctive character. Within them, the vibe often varies block by block. Which makes it confusing to know just where to go, even if you live here. To help, NYC & Company has launched See Your City, an insiders' guide to the best attractions of New York's diverse neighborhoods and boroughs. (nycgo.com/seeyourcity)

Whitney Museum reopening. Closed since October in preparation for moving to chic new digs downtown, the Whitney Museum of American Art's new nine-story building, in the Meatpacking District between the High Line and the Hudson River, debuts May 1. The new location, with expansive gallery space indoors and out, allows the museum to exhibit more of its collection and new exhibitions all at once. There's also a spiffy street-level restaurant and café, both by acclaimed restaurateur Danny Meyer. (99 Gansevoort St., whitney.org)

One World Observatory. The city's newest wow-factor destination is the One World Observatory, a three-story observation deck that occupies the top three floors of One World Trade Center. Visitors are greeted in their own language by a high-tech video board in the Welcome Center before moving to the pre-show, Voices of the Building, featuring first-person accounts describing the rise of One World Trade Center. Next, they enter Sky Pods, ascending to the top of the building in under 60 seconds, while being entertained by floor-to-ceiling LED TVs simulating the evolution of New York's skyline. On the 102nd floor is a 3D theater experience of present-day life in New York City. But nothing can top those panoramic views. Tickets ($26-$32) on sale now for May 29 opening. (oneworldobservatory.com)

The Polo Bar. Ralph Lauren's first New York City restaurant, the Polo Bar, is located next door to his new flagship store. Before you can even enter the bar, you must be cleared by the preppy "reservationists" — aka bouncers — guarding the door. After a Prince of Wales cocktail (a rye-Champagne concoction), you'll be escorted downstairs to the dining room, which has a hunt club motif and classic American fare. Oh, and plan to dine in the off-hours, unless your name is Donald, Woody or Martha. (1 E. 55th St., ralphlauren.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=54938256)

Peter Pan on Broadway. Never want to grow up? Figure out how, and exactly what inspired writer J.M. Barrie, in "Finding Neverland," the new Peter Pan-inspired Broadway musical starring "Frasier" lead actor Kelsey Grammer and "Glee" star Matthew Morrison. (findingneverlandthemusical.com)

Rainbow Room reborn. You too can dance with the stars — on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center. The Rainbow Room, the spot that defined elegant American dining and dancing, has reopened after a five-year hiatus. Along with an uber-glam restaurant, there's a cocktail bar with an outdoor wrap-around terrace featuring 360-degree views. It's the perfect spot to propose, well, anything. (30 Rockefeller Center, rainbowroom.com)

Mad Men. Get groovy at the new "Mad Men" exhibit, which features large-scale sets of Don Draper's office and the kitchen from the Draper home. It also includes more than 25 costumes, props, video clips, advertising art and personal notes from series creator Matthew Weiner. Through June 14 at Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. When you're done, check out the "selfie bench" in front of the Time-Life Building, where visitors can sit beside a silhouette of Don Draper that mimics the show's logo. (movingimage.us)

Design Museum reopens. Use a special pen to virtually collect and save items you see at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the only U.S. museum devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Recently reopened after a makeover that integrated a new range of interactive capabilities, the museum allows visitors to use high-definition touch-screen tables and play in an interactive immersion room. (2 E. 91 St., cooperhewitt.org)

Bjork and Yoko Ono. The Museum of Modern Art's new Bjork exhibit, on display through June 27, explores the singer's career, featuring music, costumes, stage props and interactive audio. Starting May 17, the museum launches its Yoko Ono exhibit, "One Woman Show, 1960-1971," which features her artwork, performances, audio recordings and films. (11 W. 53 St., moma.org)

Dirt for dinner. After a nine-month hiatus, Dirt Candy, the Michelin-rated vegetarian eatery, has moved to the Lower East Side. Try to grab a seat at the Chef's Bar for a close-up view of the making of Brussels Sprouts Tacos and Jalapeno Hush Puppies. (86 Allen St., dirtcandynyc.com)

A new Knick. Time Square's new Knickerbocker hotel, located in a storied circa-1906 Beaux Arts building, offers guests an unconventional experience catering to their individual needs. With rates beginning at $695 a night, you can expect to be very comfortable. (6 Times Square at Broadway and 42 Street, theknickerbocker.com)

Trump golf course. The Bronx's new 18-hole Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point is New York City's only tournament-quality golf course. Designed by Jack Nicklaus with greens that offer sweeping views of Manhattan, bridges and the East River, it is open to the public and includes a driving range and clubhouse with snack bar. (trumpferrypoint.com)

Brooklyn's Basquiat. In its continuing exhibition, "Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks," the Brooklyn Museum features 160 pages from the notebooks of internationally renowned graffitist, painter and musician Jean-Michel Basquiat. On display through Aug. 23 are the Brooklyn native's personal writings on racism and power structures, along with sketches intended for unconventional canvases, spanning subway walls to sweatshirts. (200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn; brooklynmuseum.org)

New York, New York. Where else to commemorate the centennial of singing legend Frank Sinatra? The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has organized a nostalgic multimedia exhibition recollecting the story of his life as an actor and singer. On display are letters, photos, interviews and concert footage. Through Sept 4. (40 Lincoln Center Plaza, nypl.org/sinatra)

Mario Batali tour. Walks of NY, one of the city's best-rated tour companies, has added several new tours, including the three-hour Mario Batali Culinary Tour. Here is access to the chef's New York restaurants and visits to his preferred suppliers, including butchers, cheesemakers and specialty food shops in the city. Tours start at $69 and include tastings. (walksofnewyork.com)

Snips of strips. Society of Illustrators is showing "Alt-Weekly Comics," a retrospective of the comics of the alternative weekly newspaper world. Expressing political and cultural points of view underrepresented in the mainstream press, the collection also includes original art from "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening's "Life In Hell" comic strip. Through May 2. (128 E. 63rd St., societyillustrators.org)

New York Spring Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall featuring the famous Rockettes, produced in part by Harvey Weinstein, also stages a 26-foot-tall, electronically operated puppet model of the Statue of Liberty and other New York sites, as well as songs by famous pop artists. (1260 Avenue of the Americas, rockettes.com)

King again. One of the original "Loew's WonderTheaters," the circa-1929 Kings Theatre, reopened in February after an extensive renovation. Its opening-season performance lineup includes Crosby, Stills and Nash, Fantasia and Gladys Knight. (1027 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, kingstheatre.com)

Kindergarten humor. "Application Pending," a play written by "Saturday Night Live" actor Andy Sandberg and comedian Greg Edwards and starring Christina Bianco, is a hilarious one-woman show about the cutthroat world of private school admissions. (applicationpendingplay.com)

Political theater. "Clinton the Musical" explores the Jekyll-and-Hyde personas of the 42nd U.S. president and first lady Hillary, taking on the historical events that occurred during his presidency. (clintonthemusical.com)

Queen's Sculpture Center unveiled its newly expanded gallery space, enclosed courtyard for outdoor exhibitions and events, and new interior programming space. (sculpture-center.org)

"Say it with a Black Rose." Baltimore native Steve Pulimood's cutting-edge Room East gallery is exhibiting the unconventional architectural painter Alison Veit, whose work includes materials like cement and ink. Through May 10. (roomeast.com)

Shack attack. If you're ready to move beyond the Shake Shack trend, Harlem's LoLo's Seafood Shack's curated cuisine draws from the entire Atlantic Coast region, with a few twists on Caribbean fare. (lolosseafoodshack.com)

Glass houses. The Tour takes place in a custom-built motor coach that offers street-facing views through floor-to-ceiling glass on a tour of New York City's neighborhoods and landmarks. (thetournyc.com)

New edition. The New York Edition hotel opens May 11 in the city's landmark Clock Tower building in the Flatiron District. Overlooking Madison Square Park, each posh room has killer views. (www.editionhotels.com/new-york/the-hotel)

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