As a New Yorker, I spend a lot of time in the City’s prolific museums (mind you, generally on the museum’s “free days,” but still). And by now I certainly have my favorites (and a couple of least favorites). I won’t be including the Louis Armstrong House Museum, because I used to work there (but that doesn’t mean I don’t love ’em!). Here are my Top 5 New York City Museums, starting with…
The Museum of Arts and Design is really, really funky. That’s really all I can say about it. It’s certainly a wonderful time – they have a fantastic collection of works of design, fantastic temporary exhibits – but they are simply very, very strange. The acronym MAD is quite appropriate for them.
I like the Brooklyn Museum because it mixes the old and the new – a bit of contemporary art, a bit of classical and Egyptian art. It’s quite a fun mix. Even their atrium, a modern creation housing a cast of Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais” and flanking the original Romanesque structure, follows this credo. It’s no surprise, therefore, that their programs, especially their First Saturdays (in which the museum is open until 11 PM and is filled with concerts and film screenings and whatnot – which I always really want to go to, but never have the time), is a mishmosh of cultures and eras.
Who doesn’t love the Museum of Natural History! I first went there (at least, the first time in memory) in the fourth grade, for a project dealing with the Eastern Woodlands gallery.
Seriously, the Museum of Natural History has everything. Astronomy, anthropology, geology, gemology, paleontology, ornithology, entomology, and probably other fields I’m not yet aware of – the Museum’s got it.
And the Shake Shack’s right next door. I appreciate that very much.
Right next door to the Natural History museum is the oldest museum in the City, the Historical Society. I’ve been going there a lot in recent years, largely due to their fantastic exhibits – largely dealing with antebellum and Civil War American history, with a bit of the works of Audubon and the Hudson River School thrown in for good measure. And while it’s a shame that they’re currently under massive renovation and expansion, they’ll be coming out no worse for the wear – including having the first children’s history museum in the nation.
But the number one museum I consider the greatest in the world, as it’s….
I’ve read the Met as being “the 500-pound gorilla of the City’s art world”. I love the Met because it encompasses virtually all of art (though they have a ridiculously paltry contemporary collection, something I take them to task for), and it’s for suggested admission – so I can put a couple of bucks down (though, as a New York public school student, I’ve never had to – plus I get the audio guide for free) and see art and culture from around the world.
Honorable mentions go to the Whitney Museum, which is pretty cool – especially in Biennial years – but just didn’t make the list.