Did you know that New York City has a total of 83 museums among the five boroughs? I had the chance to discover one of them — the Museum of the City of New York.
For those of you who have been following the Age of Grace for the past four years, you know that I very much relish the chance to take a trip to any museum. No matter the location, the Louvre in Paris, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, or the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D. C., I like them all. I’m already looking forward to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute’s, Spring 2017 Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons exhibit.
I went to New York City recently to celebrate a milestone birthday for my daughter, Channing. We hope to commemorate this momentous occasion with a girls getaway later this year. But for now, another option to explore yet another edifice that houses the precious beginnings of Manhattan was perfect.
Since I didn’t jump on the tickets for the Broadway Hamilton play with the original cast members, I thought I could get my dose of Hamilton by visiting his home, the Hamilton Grange. His country house was relocated twice, the last time in 2009 to Harlem. I had high hopes to visit the Hamilton Grange, but the musuem is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
But enough about my missed opportunities. Now, let me share with you about what I discovered at the Museum of the City of New York. First of all, the nearly 30-minute film narrated by actor Stanley Tucci is a must-see. The short documentary shares the remarkable evolution of New York City’s 400-year history.
The museum is known for its comprehensive collection of photographic images, including works by noted photographers Percy Byron, Jacob Riis, and Berenice Abbott, as well as may Depression-era Federal Art Project photographs. The collection also includes still photography by film director Stanley Kubrick.
Aside from the short film, this small wonder of history and art museum offered a tiny gallery of the Gilded Age of New York City: A sneak peek into the Tiffany & Company’s family heirlooms, showing how nation’s cosmopolitan elite lived from the late -19th to early -20th centuries.
The damask lined walls and elaborate velvet window treatments provided the perfect setting to give vistors the feel of the lavish lifestyle the “haves” lived. The encased displays in the small rectangular room showed what the aristocrats, mainly the women, surrounded and adorned themselves with like jewel-encrusted brooches, hat pins, hair combs, and fans.
The Gilded Age was just one aspect of the museum that I savoured. The other exhibits included Gay Gotham and the New York’s history of Social Activism.
Did you notice me standing on the marble wrought-iron circular staircase the dazzling, brilliant light installation suspended above the rotunda? The “Starlight” is the first or the last focal point of the museum, and among the museum’s most photographed features.
The Museum of the City of New York is located at 1220-1227 Fifth Avenue (at 104th Street), across from Central Park on the Upper East Side, just at the northern end of the Museum Mile. Open Daily 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
Finally, as special thank you to my daughter, Channing Leah as we celebrated her 30th birthday. Happy Happy Birthday Chan, the best is yet to come for you😘
Have a fabulous and stylish week.