Coming to New York City or staying in New York City for the holidays? If so, you might consider visiting several museums as a holiday treat. Just be aware that museums can get crowded during certain times during the holidays. Be sure to buy a ticket ahead of time and come early in the morning. There are several great exhibits in town and you can combine visits to several museums within walking distance of each other to minimize transportation issues. (Plus it's fun!). Most museums have a coffee shop and/or restaurant, but come early or late to avoid the crowds. Here are suggestions for three of my favorites that I visited recently.
The Jewish Museum at 92nd Street and Fifth Avenue currently has a wonderful exhibit on Modigliani, the great Italian/Jewish artist who had a unique style. He started as a sculptor although he is best known for his oil paintings. At this exhibit, you can follow his development from his pencil drawings through his sculpture and oil paintings. The Jewish Museum is free on Saturdays and has a restaurant/delicatessen, but you must pre-pay if you plan to eat there on a Saturday as no money can change hands.
Right down Fifth Avenue is the Guggenheim Museum, just past the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. There is currently a show on the colorist Josef Albers and how his time in Mexico influenced his color field art. There are interesting but tiny photos of Mayan architecture he took during his trips to Mexico with his wife Anni, a weaver. There's a small café on the third floor level with nice views of Central Park and a larger restaurant in the basement. They were both fairly empty when I was there last Saturday afternoon. As you approach the doors to the restaurant from the ground floor, you may notice a telephone alcove on the left with phone booths and old-style telephone books for the NYC area dating back to 2002 hanging from their aluminum rack, but no phones. An archaeological find!
Next stop down on Fifth Avenue is the Neue Gallerie of German and Austrian Art, whose current exhibit is on the arts and crafts of the Wiener Werkstätte. This crafts cooperative made everything except a profit. If you're feeling a bit peaked after all that art gazing, you may want to indulge in a Viennese pastry and coffee or lunch in one of their two restaurants. If the one on the main floor has a line, you can go down the stairs to the basement and there is another equally good, although less elegantly appointed one. You don't need to pay the $20 admission to go to either. I can never resist stopping by.
If you still have any energy left, you can stop by the Metropolitan Museum of Art three blocks further down Fifth Avenue. It has a pay-as-you-wish policy, so you can pay as little as a penny to get in. However, if you can afford it, it's great to pay the regular admission as they are apparently in financial straits at the moment. There are six entry portals: two to the left in the main entry hall, two to the right, and two straight ahead. Scout out which line is shortest as they can vary considerably. I usually end up using the ones straight ahead. My recommendation is to plan ahead which gallery you would like to see and just visit that one. It is too huge a museum to "do it all." It also has a restaurant and a café on the balcony overlooking the main atrium.
And that's just Museum Mile! I plan my museum visits ahead of time to avoid frustration. If you're coming from Westchester County, take the Metro-North train to Harlem/125th Street, walk one block East to the subway, and take the 4, 5, or 6 train downtown to 86th Street. You can easily walk to these museums from there.
And if you'd like to see more great art in person, reserve your spot on our Picasso's Pyrenees Tour from May 19-27. Walk in the footsteps of Picasso, Braque, Gris, Matisse, Derain, Maillol, and Dali, and experience the varied landscapes of the Eastern Pyrenees that brought them together and inspired them. Reserve your spot now and save $290 off the regular price.
If Paris is more your style, our Papa's Paris Tour follows in Hemingway's footsteps as we meander through the city of art and romance from June 16-24. Spots are limited to 12 so reserve yours now and save $320 off the regular price.