Top Travel News from NYC

New York is feeling the luxury love lately. Here's our roundup of what's on about town.

It's not like New York doesn't have its share of world-class chefs and five-star restaurants…but every now and then, it's good to hear that one of our own has been recognized by one of the top foodie groups in the world: The French Chef Association, Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, recently gathered in Lyon, France  to introduce the year's new members, adding InterContinental New York Barclay's Executive Chef Serge Devesa, to its ranks, which includes such masters as Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert. The induction ceremony takes place annually when each year, master French chefs from around the world gather to initiate the next generation with a private ceremony, followed by a dinner of fine food prepared by local chefs. In 2013, 30 new chefs were inducted in a ceremony in Lyons, France. Six of the new inductees, including Marseille native, Chef Serge Devesa, reside in the United States.  (Tip: Foodies who go to the Barclay Bar & Grill on Fridays can try Chef Devesa's Bouillabaisse Marseille, which we hear is a treat.) Maître Cuisiniers de France over 60 years old, and membership as Master Chef is one of that country's highest honors.

Foodies in New York City will want to check out the Taste of the Lower East Side on Thursday, April 25. The annual food and drink festival benefits the Grand Street Settlement, and the all-you-can-eat tasting extravaganza will be held at the 82Mercer events space. Gourmands and gourmets alike will be able to sample bites from nearly 50 LES restaurants, cafes and bars, city website Gothamist is reporting, including institutions like Russ & Daughters, wd-50 and Kuma Inn and newcomers like L'Apicio, Pig & Khao and Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria. Speaking of the drinks, a three-hour open bar comes with each ticket, with specialty cocktails plus wine and beer all available. Bonus: To further benefit the settlement, a Silent Auction includes items like designer shoes, signed guitars and dinner parties with local celebrity chefs. Interested parties have two options for tickets: The $195 General Admission ticket gives visitors three hours of access to all the goodies; $300 VIP tickets gets extra-hungry guests inside the foodie fest an hour early, guaranteeing they'll get to try the hot-ticket food items before they run out. 

For one of those "Only in New York, kids" moments, art (and performance art) fans should head over to the Museum of Modern Art, where they can see a most unusual "exhibit": Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton is "performing" in a piece called "The Maybe" that is simply Swinton sleeping in a glass box. According to the Huffington Post, the first performance was held over the weekend, and the museum won't say if there's a schedule for when exactly it will come back for six other performances. (There is nothing on MoMA's official website.) On Monday, the display drew a line of spectators that wound through a whole second-floor gallery into a museum hallway. This is not the first time Swinton has participated in an event like this: In 1995, she also starred in a glass box at London's Serpentine Gallery – seven days, eight hours a day – in an exhibition seen by 22,000 people. The next year, she repeated the spectacle at the Museo Barracco in Rome. While we all wait to see when "The Maybe" will return to MoMA, visitors can get tickets and more information at And if Swinton isn't "on" during a convenient time for visitors, perhaps they'll enjoy seeing Edvard Munch's The Scream? 

Soccer is chic in New York again, and Yankee Stadium is getting in on the increased interest: City website Gothamist is reporting that several European teams will play each other in "friendly matches" in late spring. Chelsea will play Manchester City on May 25, just one week after the end of the Premier League. The teams currently sit in second (MCFC) and third (Chelsea) place in England and feature the likes of Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard, Sergio Aguero, and Joe Hart. The second match up is more international, with Spain taking on Ireland on June 11. And, the site notes, Spain's credentials are unmatched in world soccer: The country is ranked #1 in the world, holding the current World Cup title and the last two European championships. Ireland, meanwhile, had a "weak showing" at Euro 2012 and narrowly missed out on qualifying for the last World Cup. Tickets go on sale Wednesday at 10AM ET for the general public at Yankees season ticket licensees have access to a pre-sale starting tomorrow. Tickets to both games will only be available in a bundle at first - with the cheapest bundle in the "Terrace/Grandstand" level coming in at $112.50. Those with a taste for prawn sandwiches (we've been told they're a staple of the Chelsea game day experience!) may choose to cough up for one of the Legends Club bundles, which top out at $829 a person.

Great news for theater fans and Shakespeare-philes alike: Those perpetually star-crossed lovers are coming back to Broadway in a fresh new production of Romeo and Juliet courtesy of British director David Leveaux, who was last represented on the main stem by the revival of Arcadia a few years back. Notably, as the New York Times and other sources are reporting, this production will present Shakespeare’s teenage duo as an interracial couple: Orlando Bloom, who made his London stage debut in 2007 after his breakthrough role as Legolas in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, will play Romeo. Condola Rashad, a Tony nominee for Stick Fly and about to open in The Trip to Bountiful, will be Juliet. The play is to begin previews Aug. 24 for a Sept. 19 opening at the Richard Rodgers Theater. Jayne Houdyshell will play the Nurse and Joe Morton will be Lord Capulet, with additional casting to be announced. And for those who prefer New York City's Off-Broadway vibe, indie film darling Elizabeth Olsen will also be starring in a production of Romeo and Juliet right around the same time at Classic Stage Company. (And while Olsen has come to fame in Hollywood, she's no theater neophyte, having worked twice as an understudy in the 2009 Broadway play Impressionism and in the 2008 Off Broadway play “Dust.”)

We're still waiting for summer (heck, even spring would be welcome at this point!), but some venues throughout New York City are already getting into the warmer spirit: The Roosevelt Hotel will re-open its rooftop doors at mad46 – the hotel’s lounge atop the 19th floor – on April 17 for its sixth season. mad46 is located at the corner of Madison and 46th and is open Wednesday through Friday from 5 - 10 p.m.; returning to six days a week on Monday, May 6 from 5 p.m. to midnight. An exclusive elevator, accessible from the 46th Street entrance, ascends directly to the open-air loft where mad46 welcomes patrons to an official re-opening party on April 25, 5 - 8 p.m. Themed events through the season range from weekly happy hours and a Kentucky Derby bash complete with projector screens of the race, to the Summer Movie Nights where can guests watch films or just look over the skyline of the city. mad46's signature drink list includes the patron-favorite Mad Mojito, complete with a white-chocolate stick and shaved coconut. Executive Chef Robert Hohmann – who joined the hotel team earlier this year – recently revitalized all hotel menus with appetizers ranging from mini Kobe burgers topped with melted cheese and fresh guacamole to savory wings and fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza. And when it gets to warm (we can't wait!), guests can retire to the air-conditioned lounge, perfect for private parties, rainy afternoons or just escaping the summer heat.

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