Another year has come and gone in NYC — and lucky for us, it’s been filled with endless entertainment, fantastic meals and drinks, and copious amounts of culture.

When we were making this list last year, NYC was experiencing another COVID setback with rates rising again, events canceled and businesses temporarily closing. And though there’s been a small increase again this year, 2022 definitely saw the city coming back to life like never before. 

The year marked firsts — from NYC’s Japan Parade to amazing restaurant openings to new food halls to tons of funky & fabulous roller rinks. And it finally saw classic events like the Coney Island Mermaid Parade and West Indian Day Parade & Carnival returning in their full glory (with beloved NYC department Century 21 to come next year!).

Now, it’s time for our personal favorites of 2022; and here’s to 2023!

The Secret NYC Team 2022.

Claire Leaden, East Coast Managing Editor

Favorite 2022 NYC event you went to: Though a bit outside the city, I ended up going to Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience twice & enjoyed it just as much both times! It was nice to spend time outdoors in the cooler months, and the forest was truly transformed with all of the magical lighting & special effects. The props & set pieces were unreal and really whisked you away to the HP world!

Favorite NYC restaurant or bar of 2022: I had been wanting to go to Maison Premiere in Williamsburg for a while and finally got there this summer – the atmosphere was immaculate & I treated myself to the Old King Cole martini served tableside, plus the oyster selection was amazing.

And then, one of the best dining experiences I had overall, was also in Brooklyn at the vastly unique Honey Badger. The menu changes daily and you never know what you’re going to get until you arrive — plus everything is locally sourced, foraged and fresh (oh, and the presentation is unbelievable). The owners & chefs are so talented & it’s truly a meal I will never ever forget!

Honey Badger, Brooklyn.

Favorite thing you watched: I also loved the very-popular Severance and The White Lotus season 2; but another show I really liked that didn’t get quite as much hype was The After Party (Apple+). Fun murder mystery, stellar cast, cool elements like each episode mimicking a different film type (from noir to animation).

Favorite thing you read or listened to: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue or Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl.

Favorite SNYC moment: Our coverage of NYC’s new “Little Paris” neighborhood was really fun — we caught onto it when it was first being developed and our TikTok on it really blew up. Though it has a small footprint, it was fun to fully take in the historic architecture and quaint small shops there, and I really admire what the business owners are trying to do with putting the French parts of NYC a little more on the map.

What three things will you always remember 2022 in NYC by?

  1. The awesome local business owners we’ve met from Jerell at Jerell’s BTR BRGR to Janie at Alimama. Love the opportunity to connect with the community & everyone is always super supportive & fans of SNYC, which is thrilling.
  2. A dear friend moved back to the city after being away for two years so it was so special to reconnect with her (& her two children now!) and have her close by again.
  3. Got married right at the beginning of 2022 so will always remember that (though not directly in NYC, lots of people who have been a part of my NYC journey were there)!

Justine Golata, Staff Writer

Favorite NYC event you went to: I think I have to say that my favorite event was going to the Swingers mini golf opening. I fortunately work with the best people and it’s easy to have fun while on the job. Definitely recommend the spot for anyone looking for group activities. Plus, you get a free shot when you get a hole in one!

Oh, and I can’t forget about glamping on Governors Island. Waking up to a view of the Statue of Liberty silhouetted by the sunrise—I mean how can you beat that?

Favorite NYC restaurant or bar: This question will never get easy! I have a ton of highlights from this year, including an unforgettable meal at Tuome and the Minus Three cocktail at Pine & Poke (it has avocado in it!). But if I have to choose my most favorite, I’m going with a bakery instead—I mean they’re like the restaurants of bread, so it has to count right? I haven’t stopped dreaming about Le Framboise Croissant from L’appartement 4F since the moment I bit into it.

Favorite thing you watched: I’m the biggest binger you’ll meet, so I watch A LOT of shows. I’m talking allll the corny reality tv shows. You name it, I’ve seen it! But a standout from the year would have to be Firefly Lane. I just got so attached to the characters!

Favorite thing you read or listened to: I recently went home for the holidays and came across this old NYT article I saved from 2020. It’s from Michael Wilson titled, “What New Yorkers Miss: The Met, Subways, Hugs, Crowds, ‘Just Everything.’” He has a line in it that has stuck with me over the years that reads: “The lockdown has made everyone into tourists.” I’m reminded that there is so much magic in the smallest pleasures that happen on a daily occurrence in NYC, from smiles with strangers or catching the subway just in time that we can so easily take for granted.

I may live here, but I feel like a tourist every day with the never-ending surprises the city presents me with—and I wouldn’t want it any other way. We throw a lot of shade at tourists, but there’s something special about finding delight in every new corner. How splendid to feel so entranced by a city you call home. It’s a read that I think will always be a favorite of mine.

And of course, I have to shout out SZA for SOS…duh.

Favorite SNYC moment: This year has been full of many milestones for SNYC, but I think my favorite is when I came across a random TikTok about someone saying they always check our site and socials. Makes me very happy to know our audience is engaging with the content we’re working to put out for them. It was a really cool moment.

What three things will you always remember 2022 in NYC by?

  1. The moment I came to the awesome realization that when I come home from vacation, I’m going back to a place that is other people’s dream vacation.
  2. Forming everlasting connections with local spots that we’ve collaborated with over this year. (ie. Hole in the WallMaman, etc.).
  3. The incredible growth we’ve had at SNYC that has introduced me to the most wonderful people.

Dan Shure, Video Producer (Events)

Favorite NYC event you went to: KATE by Kate Berlant at the Connelly Theatre.

Favorite NYC restaurant or bar: Hidden Leaf (get the Lamb Cumin Dumplings)

Favorite thing you watched: Severance (Apple+)

Favorite thing you listened to: Hippo Campus, LP3

Favorite SNYC moment or story: Getting to read everyone’s #toasttoNYC for the Maker’s Mark collaboration.

What three things will you always remember 2022 in NYC by?

  1. The reign of both Pasta Louise AND Cafe Spaghetti?
  2. Looking for a new apartment for way too long.
  3. And starting to work at Secret NYC!

Brianna Perry, Staff Writer

Favorite NYC event you went to: I’m a huuuuge concert person and two shows I went to this year that I haven’t stopped thinking about are Rüfüs Du Sol at Forest Hills and Sigur Rós at Beacon Theatre. When I tell you Sigur Rós makes me feel like I’m floating on the most ethereal cloud of warm, fuzzy, goosebump perfection, I’m not kidding. I was basically a puddle of emotions the entire show. And don’t even get me started on Rüfüs’ Innerbloom…because I won’t be able to stop.

Favorite NYC restaurant or bar: The Wiggle Room in the East Village–I’m a sucker for a disco ball and the music was heavenly. Plus, the Hot Lava cocktail was to die for. Literal *chef’s kiss*

And Astoria’s Agnanti for sure deserves a shout out—from the service to the ambiance to the food, it was all amazing–my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Order the salmon and the shrimp kataifi, you won’t regret it.

Favorite thing you watched: For sure Severance–me and my boyfriend made it a tradition to order Tufino (our go-to spot for pizza in Astoria) and watch Severance every Friday night. And though I was super late to the party, I also watched Lena Dunham’s Girls for the first time this year and couldn’t. stop. watching. it. I’m a sucker for anything that’s based in NYC.

Favorite thing you read or listened to: My sister suggested I read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and wow, I literally couldn’t put it down. Though sometimes I had to because it was such a heavy (but phenomenal) read. Made me feel all the feels.

Favorite SNYC moment or story: Reaching my one year anniversary with Secret NYC and growing closer to my amazing team along the way!

What three things will you always remember 2022 in NYC by?

  1. Skipping down the NYC streets countless times buzzing with various post-show jitters and loving every single second of how damn busy the city streets are even at 3 a.m.
  2. Forming tons of new friendships.
  3. Stumbling into and discovering places I never knew existed and realizing how it’s truly impossible to ever get sick of this city.

Corey Fuller, SEO Writer

Favorite NYC event you went to: Either Alesso opening night of new Brooklyn Mirage or Governor’s Ball at Citi Field

Favorite NYC restaurant or bar: S’MAC (buff mac and cheese)–/embed

Favorite thing you watched: Atlanta (FX/Hulu)

Favorite thing you read or listened to: Actual Life 3, Fred Again…

Favorite SNYC moment: I would say my favorite Secret NYC moment this year was our sticker project. The idea of being able to see our brand out in the “wild” representing all the cool stuff we stand for is really awesome. There’s nothing better than seeing our iconic shade of yellow on a window front, to be honest.

What three things will you always remember 2022 in NYC by?

  1. Moving here in February and living my first year in NYC!
  2. Countless nights until 4 a.m. at The Brooklyn Mirage.
  3. Starting at Secret NYC and meeting the amazing team!!

Liz Ramanand, Events Content Creator

Favorite NYC event you went to: It’s a toss up between these two incredible Brooklyn events: Seeing Anthrax at Coney Island Amphitheater—an added bonus was seeing Chuck D of Public Enemy who came out onstage! Going to Stranger Things: The Experience over the summer! (It was my first time at Brooklyn Navy Yard!)

Favorite NYC restaurant or bar: One of my favorite spots is Om Wok (Northern Blvd in Queens), they won the Momo Crawl in Jackson Heights and for good reason. They have the best beef momos I have ever had (their veggie + chicken momos are also yummy).

Best Bar Ever = Duff’s in Brooklyn — (this one’s for the metal heads!) You get beer, wine, normal liquor selections, water and soda. No frills and no fancy cocktails. Crack a cold one, listen to metal, look at all of the amazing band memorabilia on the wall. It’s one of my favorite bars (and places in general) in the world.

*Honorable mention for non-alcoholic bevs at USA Brooklyn Delicatessen (at the new Times Sq location). I still think about the refreshing homemade Vegan Egg Cream (made with oat milk, it tastes like a fizzy liquid creamsicle). For the chocoholics, their rich homemade hot chocolate is basically drinkable chocolate ganache!

Favorite thing you watched: I can’t explain it, but season 2 of Bridgerton had a chokehold on me. I’ve become fully invested in Hulu’s Only Murders In The Building and also enjoyed The Watcher on Netflix.

Favorite thing you listened to: I can’t deny Beyonce’s Renaissance and Belgian artist, Stromae had a new album Multitude which was uplifting! I’m also a big metal and rock fan, the self-titled Zeal & Ardor album will haunt my mind and eardrums well beyond 2022!

Favorite SNYC moment or story: One of the best parts about this job is learning from my talented and fun colleagues (two out of many examples below):

What three things will you always remember 2022 in NYC by?

  1. Waiting 20 years to see Rage Against the Machine (attended the incredible shows at MSG)!
  2. Northern Blvd in Queens celebrating after Argentina won the World Cup! (The World Cup final in general is something to talk about for years to come).
  3. Becoming the Events Writer at Secret NYC.

Maryea Rogers, Junior Videographer

Favorite NYC event you went to: Stranger Things: The Experience. I never watched the show but once I became a part of this experience I binged it and now I CANNOT WAIT until the next season is released & I totally get the hype now!

Favorite NYC restaurant or bar: There is only one particular restaurant that comes to mind for this and that is Nura in Greenpoint. Aside from the immaculate decor, the food haunts my dreams in the best possible way. I always recommend friends to get the bread basket, which comes with a variety of perfect dips. All of their dishes are meant to be shared but I could eat the prawns and the Green Chorizo lamb kofta all by myself.

Favorite thing you watched: Not to be cliche but Wednesday on Netflix was amazing & of course I’m waiting for the next Stranger Things.

Favorite thing you read or listened to: I’m a big fantasy book buff so I read the Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff in roughly a month.

Favorite SNYC moment: I would say the very first video I ever did for SNYC was a huge moment for me as a content creator. It was on Particular Matters at The Shed and it hit over a million views in less than 24 hours & it was featured in the New York Times as well.

What three things will you always remember 2022 in NYC by?

  1. Starting my job with SNYC.
  2. Exploring the city in ways I never did in the entire 12 years of living here.
  3. Filming & watching shuffle battles at Brooklyn Mirage & being out till sunrise with my friends.