New York boasts some of the world’s most renowned museums: MOMA, the Met, the Whitney, the Guggenheim. Their architecture and collections are nothing short of awe-inspiring and will feature on any self-respecting NYC itinerary.
However – when standing in wonder of these museum goliaths, it’s easy to forget that New York City is home to over 80 other museums. When time is precious and crowds are tiresome, head for one of New York’s many quiet and beautiful small museums. These places offer great collections and lesser crowds.
Just a few blocks from the Met is the Neue Galerie. This lesser known gem is small but packs a punch. The private gallery was the former home of the Vanderbilt family and is now devoted to German and Austrian art. Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer is on permanent display and she’s worthy of a visit in her own right. The painting was seized by the Nazis and only returned recently to the US following a legal battle. Today it’s one of the most valuable portraits in the world.
The Frick Collection also gives us a glimpse into a private residence and personal art collection at a prestigious address. Henry Frick’s elegant mansion contains his sumptuous collection of mostly European paintings: enjoy the rich pickings of Goya, Vermeer and Rembrandt. Well, well worth the $20 admission fee.
Another of my “small favorites” is The Noguchi Museum over in Queens. Built to display the work of Japanese American modern artist Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), the warehouse space is bright and peaceful. The gallery is warm with natural light and the sculpture garden is particularly serene with its softly trickling water. Just an hour spent here is the perfect reprieve from a hectic day.
It would be easy and certainly time worthy to spend an entire day perusing the Met’s permanent collection, but if you do not have that much time, or want to avoid the crowd, the places mentioned above can easily be explored in an hour: perfect for stealing a little bit of quiet inspiration amid a frenzied New York schedule.
New York Art Museums – Tips For Free Entry:
Visit the New Museum on a Thursday and pay what you want from 7- 9pm.
Visit MOMA on a Friday and pick up free tickets from 4-8pm.
Visit The Noguchi Museum on the first Friday of the month, when admission is free.
Visit The Neue Gallery from 6-8pm on a Friday, when admission is free.
Visit the Guggenheim on a Saturday and pay what you want from 5.45- 7.45pm.
Visit Brooklyn Museum from 5-11pm on the first Saturday of every month for free entry.
Visit the Frick Collection on Sunday and pay what you want from 11am- 1pm.
Invest in a New York City Pass if you plan on visiting all of the major museums and can’t make it for any of the free evenings, above.
The Neue Galerie
1048 Fifth Avenue – neuegalerie.org
The Frick Collection
1 East 70th Street – frick.org
The Noguchi Museum
3338 10th Street, Queens – noguchi.org