New York City Museums and Galleries
International Center of Photography Museum
250 Bowery, Nolita
The International Center of Photography's new Bowery museum is a beautiful dedication to photography and visual culture. With state-of-the-art galleries (its white walls are populated with framed works, tablets, and electronic screens alike), 90-feet of glass frontage, and abundant metal, the space is altogether much more inviting than it sounds—optional tours encourage discussion, and the main space is meant to simulate the feel of a village square. Conveniently, it's across the street from The New Museum.
Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd., Chelsea
Charles Saatchi's gallery is famous for championing artists before the rest of the art world catches on. Legendary for his early support of Damien Hirst and the rest of the YBAs (that's Young British Artists, for the uninitiated), Saatchi's roster is still one of the most forward-thinking in contemporary art. The excellent on-site Gallery Mess Cafe and its daily afternoon tea service (there's a boozy version that involves a jug of Pimm's and an option for kids, too) deserve mention.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St., Upper West Side
This interactive museum touches on everything from the science of sleep to jazz. During warmer months, there’s also an outside water park, where kids can sail boats and study erosion through sand. With 38,000 square feet, there’s plenty to keep little ones occupied.
The Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort, Meatpacking Disrict
The Whitney—a long-time doyenne on the UES—shut its doors and moved to the Meatpacking District, where it sits in a Renzo Piano–designed building at the southern end of the Highline. The Whitney decamped because of space constrictions uptown, a situation that's now eased by its 200,000 square feet. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art has taken over the Whitney's previous Marcel Breuer–designed home at Madison and 75th.) Bonus: It's open until 10 p.m. on the weekends.
32 E. 57th St. 9th Floor, Midtown East
Since the '80s Pace/MacGill has been showing some of the best artists in modern and contemporary photography. As part of The Pace Gallery family, the standards for work and placement here are as high as they come.
The New Museum
235 Bowery, Lower East Side
There's always something pushing the boundaries here, plus it's wonderfully well-located downtown making it ideal for a pre- or post-lunch activity.
1048 Fifth Ave., Upper East Side
Walking into this Upper East Side townhouse is a quick time-warp into the golden age of Vienna, before the first World War. The permanent collection, displayed almost as if it were in an elegant home, includes works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, and many design pieces from Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser, and Werner Werkstatte. We never tire of visiting the galleries and then heading downstairs for a tea and Linzer Torte at the perfectly achieved turn-of-the-century-style Café Sabarsky, where you dine surrounded by Adolf Loos furniture.
11 W. 53rd St., Midtown
Despite its popularity, which translates into lines around the block on any given day, MoMA is still one of our favorite places in the city. Whenever we come to visit, whether to walk the permanent collection or to check out a new, contemporary exhibition, we always spend some time in the white marble-clad sculpture garden, a rare respite in the middle of bustling midtown. The MoMA has plans to expand into what was previously the Folk Art Museum next door: Headed up by architectural practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro, it will certainly be as artfully conceived as the famous 2002-2004 revamp.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave., Upper East Side
This beloved institution—reigning supreme on NYC’s Upper East Side—has been shepherding millions through its halls since 1880. You’ll find some of the art world’s most iconic pieces, as well as important artifacts from ancient to modern times. It’s also home to the Egyptian Temple of Dendur, which dates back to 15 BC.
Matthew Marks Gallery
523 W. 24th St., Chelsea
With a stable of some of our favorite contemporary artists and photographers—Luigi Ghiri, Nan Goldin and Terry Winters—gallerist Matthew Marks has made a name for himself for his offbeat, yet totally on-point exhibitions. There are three outposts in Chelsea.
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