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Doyers Street Mural
Photograph: Courtesy Chinatown BID/Partnership

Time Out New York's 10 most-read news stories of 2021

Revisit this year's top headlines.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times—it was 2021.

This year saw the re-opening of New York City, a long period of near-normalcy where we could once again return to restaurants, clubs and Broadway. But by the tail-end of the year, we went back to being holed up in our apartments with the arrival of Omicron.

RECOMMENDED: 22 things we're looking forward to in 2022

Across these past 12 months, we've worked hard to keep New Yorkers informed and when we look back at Time Out New York's most-read stories of 2021, it's clear that this year brought a ton of change to NYC. But 2021 also gave us a chance to travel and start living our lives again.

We invite you to take a look back at the New York City news stories that were shared far and wide in 2021. These are the headlines that New Yorkers couldn't stop clicking this year:

10. A first look at Margaritaville, the massive new resort coming to Times Square

New Yorkers were intrigued (or maybe horrified) that a tropical oasis for Parrotheads was opening in arguably the most urban area in the country. The 32-story hotel on Seventh Avenue at 40th Street, which opened in July, has five restaurants and bars and a year-round, outdoor heated pool in case visitors to the biggest city in the U.S. want to catch some rays and ... beach vibes? While the hotel itself offers comfortable lodgings, the menus got a rough review on Eater and there's an egregious moment of kitsch—the massive 32-foot replica of the iconic Statue of Liberty holding a huge margarita in place of her torch.

9. The 10 best things about living in NYC, according to New Yorkers

NYC may be a difficult place to live at times, but New Yorkers love their city and being able to express how is a joy. Reddit users shared their favorite parts of living here, saying it can be a fantastic place for introverts, it's good for small interactions with the city’s cast of colorful characters and we have whatever our stomachs desire. 

8. These are the worst subway stations, according to New Yorkers

We still like to complain, though—New Yorkers also shared their opinions of the worst subway stations in NYC when reporter Michael Gold asked Twitter. It was a practice in commiseration when they answered with 14th Street-Union Square, Times Square-42nd St, the Lexington Avenue stations and 34th St-Herald Square stations. Turns out filth, crowding and awful architecture make for pretty terrible experiences underground.

7. You'll soon be able to fly from NYC to Paris for $139

After over a year at home, readers were excited about a cheap flight to Paris. The discount long-haul airline French Bee started running direct flights between Newark Liberty International Airport and Paris Orly Airport for just $139. New Yorkers wanted to jump on that deal and fast.

6. The famous heated igloos are back at 230 Fifth rooftop

Our readers absolutely love heated igloos, even before the pandemic started. 230 Fifth has consistently delivered the warm and glowy experience of drinking cocktails and eating fondue inside these bubbles for years. It also helps that the view atop 230 Fifth is beautiful. When we announced their return, New Yorkers raced to find out more.

5. These are the new most expensive neighborhoods in NYC

Finding out which neighborhoods have earned the title of "most expensive" is how we like to keep tabs on things here in NYC. In recent years, we've seen Hudson Yards rise to the top, with Tribeca, Noho and others following closely behind. But Brooklyn neighborhoods like Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill have infiltrated the rankings.

4. Legal weed in NYC: Everything you need to know about marijuana in NYC

After years of failed attempts at making weed legal in New York, it finally happened in April this year. And while it was a major win for advocates and those who partake, there were and still are a lot of questions floating around as to how it can be used, where it can be used, when it will be available to purchase legally and what it might be like when dispensaries open here. 

3. This spectacular floating pool now has a home in the East River

Another long-proposed idea came closer to fruition this year. The plus-shaped swimming pool designed to let people swim in filtered water in the middle of the East River finally secured an official spot: on the Lower East Side waterfront just north of the Manhattan Bridge. The pool not only looks cool, but it even filters river water for swimmers' use. There's more that needs to be done before it can be built, but this major step forward was a noteworthy feat.

2. A new indoor amusement park is opening on Long Island in 2022

Empire Adventure Park is opening a family entertainment center at Samanea New York, a mall in Westbury that's less than an hour drive from midtown Manhattan. It'll have trampolines, ninja obstacle courses, a ropes course, climbing walls, augmented reality games and over 10 safe and thrilling indoor attractions. But what really stands out is its sheer size. It's planned to stretch across 35,572 square feet. Impressive!

1. 10 amazing hidden streets in NYC to visit right now

The best is right here in NYC, under our noses. In April, we highlighted 10 cool secret or hidden streets like Washington Mews and Doyers Street that don't get a ton of foot traffic compared to the streets that surround them. These lesser-known places have survived decades (and centuries in some cases) of change and still offer a sense of wonder and discovery to New Yorkers. That's why this post was our most-read article this year!

Honorable mention: New Yorkers say goodbye to the city's most infamously chaotic McDonald's

While it didn't make our top 10 most-read articles, our article about the closure of the McDonald's off West Third Street and Sixth Avenue did bonkers. Our writer Christina Izzo described the place as "a burger-time breather in between hoop battles at The Cage, a chicken-nugget balm to late nights out at the Blue Note or Comedy Cellar and a hot-mess alternative to the long lines at Joe's Pizza." It was infamous and worthy of a formal "goodbye."

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