New York….New York. What a City we live in, and what better way to explore it then a trip to the Museum of the City of New York on Museum Mile. This is a museum that celebrates New York’s heritage and, as they put it, perpetual transformation. An Untapped benefit was the launching in 2010 of their Collections Portal – the public side of a digitization project that enables web visitors to see larger portions of the Museum’s collections. They now offer 100,000 images of New York City. Be sure to use the magnifying glass icon below each picture. One of their current exhibits is the popular ‘Making Room’ showcasing designs for those micro-studio apartments with 325 square feet.
Next door is the El Museo del Barrio – a leading Latin cultural institution covering artists from the Caribbean and Latin America. Their current exhibit, Superreal: Alternative Realities in Photography and Video features more than 70 works of art. Also, performing arts with a scheduled free concert on February 9th.
Across the street from El Museo and The Museum for the City of New York is the grand entrance to the Central Park Conservatory Garden. The iron gate at the entrance on 104th Street was made in Paris in 1894 and originally stood before the Vanderbilt Mansion on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street.
If you walk through the Park to 110th Street, you will come upon the new Cooper-Hewitt Design Center in Harlem.
Just to the east on 110th Street is the new Robert A.M. Stern building which will house The Museum for African Art. While the current location for The Museum for African Art is not yet up and running, they continue to put forth an exciting calendar of traveling exhibitions and this April we won’t have to go far to see the Jane Alexander exhibit at St. John the Divine on 112th Street and Amsterdam. A full range of the work of El Anatsui will be on exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art but in our Untapped city, we know that a gorgeous El Anatsui permanently hangs in the lobby of The Kalahari condominiums on 116th Street for all to view. And while you’re there, inside the Kalahari building is My Image Studios and their newly opened and much anticipated restaurant – Harvist.
Since 1968, The Studio Museum in Harlem has been promoting the works of artists of African descent. Their Artist-in-Residence program has supported nearly 100 artists. One of my favorites of their alumni is Julie Mehretu whose 80 foot long (by 23 feet high) mural graces the lobby of the Goldman Sachs building downtown. On exhibit now through June is Gordon Parks – A Harlem Family 1967. And thanks to the generous support of Target, admission is free every Sunday.
No better way to celebrate Black History Month then a visit to The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. They are a research unit of The New York Public Library and devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world. They also provide free access to their wide-ranging non circulating collections. They are easy to get to, taking the 2/3 subway to 135th Street and if you go, be sure to look across the street at the beautifully done murals inside Harlem Hospital, replicated on the exterior.
Save The Date June 11th for this years Museum Mile Festival – the day when upper 5th Avenue is closed to traffic and all participating museums are free of charge.