I just heard the craziest rumor - that Alinea is opening in New York City (and I stress the 'crazy' and 'rumor'). I also just heard that Charlie Trotter signed his Manhattan lease, potentially opening in 2009 (not 'crazy' or 'rumor'). Who knows, maybe 2009 will be the year Chitown takes the Big Apple.
UPDATE 3.31.08: Time Out New York gets a letter from Grant Achatz who writes:
"The rumors started with good reason. We started aggressively looking for spaces in Manhattan about two months ago." Indeed they were close to signing a deal, when they decided not to sign the deal.
"New York carries that stigma of being the big pond. And of course chefs outside of the big pond, for whatever reason, feel they need to enter that arena to prove themselves. Basically that amounts to ego as the impetus for a New York opening. It didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t a good enough reason to open there. I kept asking myself what I had to prove, and to who."
But never say never. Achatz writes "I expect we will open in New York eventually. I love the city."