Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

Get Thee to a Monastery: Manhattan’s Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park

January 30, 2017 in Museums | Comments (0)

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The Cloisters, Manhattan, NYC. Photo courtesy of Urban.

On the northern fringes of Manhattan there exists an almost mystical park that is resoundingly deserving of a visit. Known as the Cloisters, or more correctly, Fort Tryon Park, this unique site is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Fort Tryon Park is perched on a hill overlooking the meandering Hudson River, far from the hustle and bustle of the usual Manhattan atmosphere.  The Cloisters occupies four of the parks 67 acres, and is dedicated to showcasing the incredible artwork, architecture and gardens of the medieval period in Europe.

Architect Charles Collens was asked to design the museum in the early 1930s to house John D. Rockefeller’s famous collection of medieval art which he has acquired from American sculptor and collector George Gray Bernard in 1925 and promptly donated to the Met. Collens was not only inspired by medieval architecture, but several original cloisters from French monasteries where shipped to the US and, stone by stone, were incorporated into Collens’ design.

Today the museum features many aspects of medieval European monastic architecture, including stained-glass windows, sculptures, column capitals, medieval portals, and exquisite gardens which were planted according to information kept in manuscripts from that era.

The museum houses over 2,000 incredible works of art, and between the gardens, the architecture and the view, it is a joy to visit.

The Queen of New York is Worth a Visit

January 5, 2017 in Museums | Comments (0)

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The Queens Museum. Photo by Schapsis.

The Queens Museum is a hidden gem of amazing exhibits worth a visit. At the moment, there are four temporary exhibitions we think will excite and entertain.

•    Its About Us: A New Yorkers Exhibition- Running for only one month, from December 15 to January 15, this exhibit features the creations of participants of museum workshops during 2016, including Experimental Watercolor, Collective Storytelling, Photobook Storytelling, Drawing Sound, Basic Sculpture, Basic Digital Photography, Drawing Journal, Spanish for Mandarin Speakers, Advanced Silkscreen, and Design Thinking.
•    Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art- From September 18 2016 until February 19, 2017, the QM is showing a retrospective of Ukeles art which explores issues related to the role of women in society, cultures of work and labor, and urban and community resilience.  Perhaps this artist is best know at the official, unsalaried Artist-in-Residence and New York’s Department of Sanitation, a distinction she has had for over 36 years.
•    Nonstop Metropolis: The Remix- From April 10 2016 until January 22, 2017 the QM has created a multi-facete project together with the writer, historian and activist Rebecca Solnit. Solnit has written 15 books which discuss the connections between the environment, landscape, community, art, politics, stories and hope.
•    A Passion for Tiffany Lamps- Journey with Austrian immigrants Dr. Egon and Hildegard Neustadt as they assemble the largest collection of Tiffany Lamps in the world. It all began in 1935, when the newly married couple purchased their first Tiffany lamp in a secondhand shop in Greenwich Village for $12.50. Over the next 50 years the couple acquired over 200 lamps of every kind. The QM has a special fondness for Tiffany lamps because the company’s glass furnace, bronze foundry, and workshops were housed in Corona, Queens, only two miles from the museum.

This is certainly worth a trip to the QM, yes?

The 9/11 Memorial: Honor Their Memory with Acts of Compassion

December 5, 2014 in Museums | Comments (0)

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Twin Towers Memorial

9/11 Memorial Photo by Svein-Magne Tunli

The sights and sounds of September 11, 2001 will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of all those old enough to have understood the events of that dreadful and fateful day. On that day 2, 983 people lost their lives when terrorists with horrifyingly murderous intent smashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York; the Pentagon in Washington DC; and a thwarted third attack which took the lives of all aboard Flight 93.

In honor of their memory and the loved ones they left behind, a memorial has been established on the site where the Twin Towers once stood. In their place are twin memorial pools with the names of the murdered are stencil-cut into the bronze panels surrounding the reflecting pools. Each pool covers almost an acre in area and are the biggest manmade waterfalls in all of North America.

A few steps away from the actual memorial there is also a museum. Unlike the memorial, which is free to visitors, the museum charges an entrance fee.  The museum tells the story of 9/11 using multi-media displays, archives, narratives and an artifact collection. Guided tours are available, and films, lectures and other special events take place at the museum.

If you can visit the museum, it is highly recommended. But if you can’t, there are still many ways to take the event and create something positive. During this holiday season those at the 9/11 Memorial are asking people to become part of their #2983 Campaign. The goal is to have the community at large help to complete at least 2,983 acts of compassion, gratitude and service as a tribute to each one of those lost in the attacks. If you would like to become part of this worthwhile undertaking, visit the 9/11 Memorial website.

Great Activities to do this Fall: Admission Free!

October 8, 2013 in Museums | Comments (0)

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Hispanic Society of America Museum

Hispanic Society of America Museum

Want to explore some of New York’s most fascinating sights without spending a dime? Here is a brief sampling of a much longer list of great things to do without breaking the bank.

•    Hispanic Society of America Museum & Library- Go and see America’s largest collection of Spanish art and more than over 600, 000 rare books and manuscripts. An upcoming gallery talk will be presented on October 19, at 11am. Located on Audubon Terrace between 155 and 156 Streets. Call for more information: 212-926-2234.

•    National Museum of the American Indian This excellent collection of Native American art focuses more on the culture rather than history of America’s indigenous population. In honor of Halloween come celebrate Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead – 2013 on November 2, 2013 at 12 pm. The museum is located on the south side of Bowling Green, in lower Manhattan, adjacent to the northeast corner of Battery Park. Call 212-514-3758 for more information.

•    Sony Wonder Technology Lab- Take the kids to a place they will love, and so will you. Explore 21 exhibit areas and 69 interactive stations found in this 14,000 square foot museum. Sony Wonder Technology Lab is located in the Sony Plaza at 56th Street and Madison Avenue. For more information call (212) 833-8100.

El Museo del Barrio Brings Latino Culture to Life

April 4, 2013 in Museums | Comments (0)

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El Museo del Barrio is New York City’s leading Latino cultural depository, welcoming all visitors from all cultures to explore and discover the unique and exciting world of Latin America and the

El Museo del Barrio

El Museo del Barrio

Caribbean right here in the Big Apple.

Located at 1230 Fifth Avenue (at 104th Street), the museum has been housed in the almost 100-year-old historic Heckscher Building since the fall of 1977, about eight years after artist/educator Rafael Montañez Ortiz was appointed to create educational materials to introduce into New York City school District 4 on the culture, folklore, history and art of Puerto Rico. Instead of creating curricula, Ortiz instead conceived the idea of El Museo del Barrio. In the following Ortiz introduced the idea of the museum to Puerto Rican artists:

“The Museo del Barrio is its title: a neighborhood museum of Puerto Rican culture. . .” El Museo del Barrio receives its primary funding from the Board of Education from 1969 until 1974. Montañez Ortiz stated, “The cultural disenfranchisement I experience as a Puerto Rican has prompted me to seek a practical alternative to the orthodox museum, which fails to meet my needs for an authentic ethnic experience. To afford me and others the opportunity to establish living connections with our own culture, I founded El Museo del Barrio”

A visit to the unique El Museo del Barrio is sure to be a fun, eye-opening experience.

Open Wednesday thru Saturday 11am-6pm. Closed on New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
For more information call: 212-831-7272

Free Music on Fridays at the American Folk Art Museum

March 7, 2013 in Museums | Comments (0)

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Every Friday at 5:30pm until 7:30pm the American Folk Art Museum will present free live music with a cash wine bar to help enjoy the good vibes. Musician who would like to perform at this venue

Free Music on Fridays at the American Folk Art Musem

Free Music on Fridays at the American Folk Art Musem

are invited to contact Lara Ewen. She will examine your special sound and contact you if she believes you will fit into the program. Send an email to:

The collection at the museum includes objects of the highest quality dating from the 18th century until today. The focus of the collection is to increase the appreciation of traditional folk art and creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists from the US and elsewhere.

The American Folk Art Museum is located at at 2 Lincoln Square, at Columbus Avenue and 66th Street. The hours are: Tuesday–Saturday: 12pm–7:30 pm; Sunday:12pm–6:00 pm; closed on Mondays.

The upcoming schedule of free performances is:

  • March 8: Kevin Johnston, Michael Patrick Flanagan Smith, and Casey Shea
  • March 15: Ari Swan, Ellen Adams, and Andy Fitzpatrick
  • March 22: Scott Rudd, Adam Day, and Abby Ahmad
  • March 29: Jeremiah Birnbaum, Caleb Caudle, and Haley Dreis


The New York Botanical Garden

February 21, 2013 in Museums | Comments (0)

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Orchids at the New York Botanical Garden

Orchids at the New York Botanical Garden

Hidden away in a beautiful corner of New York City at 2900 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx, is an amazing place for all those in love with the plant kingdom, The New York Botanical Garden.

Just 20 minutes from the Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, this center for all things green will surprise you with the wealth of things there to do and to see. Right now there are three exhibits and special events of interest:

•    Tropical Paradise from January 19 until February 24, 2013: Feel like you are on vacation to a tropical paradise while still in New York, in the middle of the winter.
•    Manolo Valdés: Monumental Sculpture: Until May 26, 2013: Seven huge sculptures by the famed Spanish artist are on exhibit, highlighting to observers the connection between art and nature.
•    Magnificent Trees: November 17, 2012 until April 14, 2013: Incomparable photography that highlights the beauty of the Botanical Garden’s trees by landscape photographer and member of the Board of Advisors Larry Lederman. The photographs accumulated over the years as Larry explored the Gardens throughout the years and seasons.

Aside from the special events the Garden is involved in crucial issues affecting all of us every day, including: conservation, research, education and much more. So treat yourself to a wonderful exploration of the diversity of the plant world at the New York Botanical Garden.

Visit the Feds and See the Vault

December 3, 2012 in Culture and History,Museums,Tourism | Comments (0)

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Have you ever thought of visiting New York’s branch of the Federal Reserve Bank? It is completely free and well worth the effort of joining a guided tour in order to see the high-security vault. Behind that impregnable door lies over 10, 000 tons of gold reserves, safely stowed 80 feet underground. For those on the tour only a small percentage of that mass of precious metal will be on view. To book your free tour, which is the only way to get a glimpse of the vault, you will need to reserve about 6 weeks in advance of your planned visit. The tour can accommodate up to 25 visitors, takes about 45 minutes, and begins several times during the day between 11:15am and 3:00pm. A visit can be reserved as far as 90 days in advance.

New York Federal Reserve Bank Vault

Self-guided visits are also possible and also need to be booked ahead on-line, and do not include a visit to the vault, but does enable you to see the Museum of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which has an interesting display of the history of money. Self-guided tours are usually available with only one day’s notice.

Sackler Center Celebrating Five Years of Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum

April 18, 2012 in Art,Culture and History,Museums | Comments (0)

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Judy Chicago at The Dinner Party

The Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is celebrating its 5th anniversary this week by holding an extraordinary banquet with some of the world’s greatest women of the past three thousand years invited.

The celebratory banquet is wonderful installation artwork produced on a grand scale, created by Judy Chicago. The decorative sculpture, “The Dinner Party,” is a huge, triangular table set to host 39 special guests, 13 women from each of the past three millennia on each side. From legendary, primordial goddesses, to women from the Middle Ages and up until the 20th century, included are such luminaries as Queen Elizabeth I, Sacajawea and Emily Dickenson. An additional 999 names are inscribed in gold leaf on the tiled floor.

Curator of the Sackler Center, Catherine Morris explained why an additional fourth side to the table will be symbolically presented during the anniversary celebrations:
“The question I often get when giving tours of ‘The Dinner Party’ is ‘who would be there today, who would we add?'”

In response to this question 15 contemporary women will be honored on Wednesday at the center’s first-ever First Awards, all first in their specialties and fields.

The honorees are, in part, Sandra Day O’Conner, the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court; Toni Morrison, the first African-American woman to be honored with the Nobel Prize for literature; the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation Wilma Pearl Mankiller (who died in 2010); and Muriel Siebert, the first woman to have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Sackler Center is largely the result of the efforts of its chief benefactor, Elizabeth Sackler. The 8,000-square-feet Center’s main aim is to raise awareness and appreciation of feminist art.

“There is a serious underrepresentation of women and feminist artists in museums and galleries globally,” said Sackler. Sackler donated Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” to the museum, where it makes its permanent home when it is not on tour.

“The center’s purpose is not to resolve the use of the word feminism,” Sackler said. “It is a place where people can come to have dialogues about the meaning of feminism, reminding us of women’s contributions in the past, marking women’s achievements in the present, and inspiring contributions in the future.”

Lewis Chessmen at The Cloisters

December 12, 2011 in Museums | Comments (0)

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A Bit of Medieval Europe in New York

In upper Manhattan there is a less well-known branch of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, called The Cloisters. This fascinating building is dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, and the structure itself is an example of that, as it was assembled from both the domestic and religious elements that date back to the twelfth through fifteenth centuries.

The Cloisters and its surrounding gardens are located in Fort Tryon Park, in the northernmost end of Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River on the west. A visit there is like visiting a medieval European monastery, but without the monks. In place of the monks you will find about three thousand artworks dating from as long ago as the ninth century, and no more recent than the sixteenth century.

The Cloisters is easy to get to by bus, car or subway, and from April through October the Trie Café offers light meals and snacks which are served outdoors in the French medieval Trie Cloister. If you visit now until April 22 you will be treated to a unique exhibit of what are most likely the most famous chess pieces in the world, the Lewis Chessmen. These carved ivory chessmen were discovered in 1831 on the Isle of

12th Century Lewis Chessmen

Lewis off the coast of Scotland, and date from the twelfth century.  The chessmen rarely leave their home in the British Museum, but for this exhibit over thirty of the chessmen are on display, representing the largest assembly of these unique objects outside of the United Kingdom.

What helped to make these chessmen so famous is that replicas of them were used in the famous “Chess Game” scene in one of the Harry Potter movies, only enlarged to the size of people.

Check out The Cloisters and the Lewis Chessmen; It’s like a visit it Europe of the Middle Ages.