3. The Frick Collection, Like its Founder, Believes in Bargains
Photograph by Lucas Chilczuk, Courtesy of the Frick Collection, A First Friday evening with Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid
“I should think you might secure better prices,” Henry Clay Frick chided his prominent interior decorator, Elsie De Wolfe. “Take your time! You know time is money.” In the spirit of their founder, The Frick offers bargains, including lower prices at designated times as well as gratis sketching materials.
On the first Friday of every month, except September and January, museum admission and gallery programs are free in the evening from 6 PM to 9 PM. Visitors have access to the permanent collection and special exhibition galleries, as well as talks and lectures by curators and music and dance performances. Open sketching, with complimentary materials including paper, white and black pastel pencils, and eraser provided by The Frick, can be done in the Garden Court. You can sit on the steps around the fountain or use a fold-up chair. Chamber musicians often play in the evening.
Regular paid admission ($22, adults; $17, seniors and visitors with disabilities; $12 students) includes superb audio tours, which may be the finest in New York. You and three friends can schedule a private tour (two-week advance notice required) for $200, which includes admission, making the tour itself nicely priced. You can also take advantage of the return of the Connoisseur Pass, which gives you access to The Frick Collection, Neue Gallerie and the Morgan Library & Museum for $45, which can be purchased on the Frick Collection website.
You can pay what you wish on Wednesdays from 2 PM to 6 PM, when the museum closes. Wednesdays, which had been slow, says Heidi Rosenau, are “now our boom time of the week.” Free lectures on every conceivable subject of interest to Frick patrons are live-streamed most of the time, so long as the speaker is willing. The lectures, ordered chronologically, are then made available on the Frick site as well as SoundCloud and iPhone‘s app store.
Membership is rewarding. For $75 a basic membership gets you admission (no waiting in line), and gives you an additional ticket for a friend on Member Mornings, when you are allowed a private viewing of the current exhibitions. Plus you get a 10% discount at the museum shop. There are also Member Preview Days and Afternoon Talks for Friends. And you receive the beautifully produced and printed Members’ Magazine, the summer issue featuring Tiepolo in Milan, which closed in July.