Site of the 1939/’40 and 1964/’65 world’s fairs, Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens has group-capable venues including Arthur Ashe Stadium, home of U.S. Open tennis; Citi Field, home of baseball’s New York Mets; and the Queens Theatre.

Housed in the NYC Building from the first World’s Fair, the Queens Museum features the Panorama of the City of New York. Updated five times since 1964, this scaled model of NYC features approximately 895,000 miniature buildings.  

Departing from Breezy Point, seasonal charters with American Princess Cruises reveal the city’s majestic waterways, including seal, dolphin and whale-watching adventures.

Facing the Long Island Sound, peninsular Fort Totten Park is a sprawling former U.S. Army base featuring Civil War fortifications (guided tours available) and evocative event space at the 1887 Castle.

Bronx treasures include the 1843 Wave Hill House. Formerly inhabited by the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Twain, this 28-acre clifftop estate, overlooking the Hudson, accommodates meetings and events for up to 175 people.

The 250-acre New York Botanical Garden, now exhibiting 20-plus Dale Chihuly glass installations through October, includes large-scale event venues such as the Victorian-style Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Options at the adjacent Bronx Zoo include receptions for 80 in the Congo Gorilla Forest, and soon, a 400-foot zipline experience over the Bronx River.

Yankee Stadium flexibly hosts up to 10,000 people, while celebrity-led Hush Hip Hop Tours showcase Bronx sites from hip-hop’s founding days.

Staten Island’s star is destined to rise with the projected spring 2018 opening of the New York Wheel, the world’s tallest observation wheel.  

Accessed from Lower Manhattan via the Staten Island Ferry, the LED-lit 60-story wheel, featuring 36 subway car-size pods, forms part of the $1.2 billion redevelopment of the North Shore waterfront as “Destination St. George.” The new Empire Outlets retail complex will incorporate F&B concepts, 20,000 square feet of event space and a 190-room boutique hotel with rooftop lounge.

Existing St. George attractions include Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home of the Staten Island Yankees; 1929 St. George Theater; and nearby Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden.

Opened in 1833 as a haven for retired sailors, this National Historic Landmark is ideal for groups. Rental venues on the 83-acre campus include the 686-seat Music Hall (1892), enchanting walled New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden and exhibit-rich Staten Island Museum.

Island Hopping

With memorable visits including the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Long Island Aquarium, Long Island was my first-ever meetings FAM.

Other enduring favorites include the 269-room Garden City Hotel, offering 30,000 square feet of space, and Manhattan-style Polo Steakhouse. The nation’s first dedicated conference center hotel, 187-room Glen Cove Mansion Hotel & Conference Center, offers 29,500 square feet of IACC-certified space.

The Gilded-Age collection includes 32-room Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate (1919); 1924 Chelsea Mansion; Old Westbury Gardens (1906); Nassau County Museum of Art, formerly the Frick Estate; and Vanderbilt Museum, with its fascinating Marine Museum and domed Planetarium.

“Long Island has evolved into a premier, stand-alone destination complemented by our easy access to the nation’s business capital,” said Discover Long Island President & CEO Kristen Jarnagin. “Combining pristine beaches, an award-winning wine country, revolutionary history and endless shopping and culinary options, Long Island is a supreme ‘bleisure’ travel destination.”

Westchester Wonders

Steeped in history, rich in arts and culture, and an F&B magnet, NYC’s northern neighbor is another treasured go-to.

Exceptional hospitality at every touch point, customized conference planning, locally sourced F&B and dynamic amenities and activities on 114 acres make 369-room Doral Arrowwood Resort, offering 70,000 square feet of IACC-certified space, a standout in Westchester’s conference center collection. Tours of the newly reopened outdoor sculpture gardens surrounding PepsiCo’s nearby corporate headquarters are also “a must.”

“With our tourism industry thriving, many properties have undergone significant renovations to keep up with the demand,” said Natasha Caputo, director, Westchester County Tourism & Film. “Whether seeking tranquil scenery along the Hudson River or a happening city vibe, meeting and event professionals should look no further than Westchester County.”

The bureau’s partnership with Metro-North Railroad makes customized group travel from Grand Central Station to primary destinations like historic Tarrytown a snap.

Tour-capable Gilded-Age mansions in this former “Millionaire’s Colony” include John D. Rockefeller’s Kykuit and Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. The fairytale hilltop 33-room Castle on the Hudson is an exclusive buyout address, while event-capable Lyndhurst is a Gothic masterpiece on 67 riverfront acres.