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Museum of the City of New York

The Met, MoMa and Guggenheim are the usually go-to museums in New York, but don’t forget about the Museum of the City of New York. You may recognize its marble stairs and columns as being the entrance to the Constance Billard school in Gossip Girl (ok you probably don’t)- but it is also a worth while museum full of treasures. Up on the quiet part of Fifth Avenue not far from the Central Park Reservoir, the museum is a little hike up what I call “Mount 96th Street”  (seriously the city gets like San Francisco up there). The stately neo-Georgian building, completed in 1930, faces the park and has one of the emptiest courtyards I’ve seen in New York. Filled with umbrellaed tables and chairs, it is like a miniature city oasis, where you can actually read a book in peace while gazing up at the historic architecture. Serene and lovely.

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The museum is dedicated to one of my favorite topics of all time, the history, people and city of New York. What I love is that there is usually some sort of fashion exhibition on display (minus the crazy crowd of The Met)- Right now it is the work of Stephen Burrows, who created fashions inspired directly by disco music, and outfitted everyone who was anyone at Studio 54’s disco days. The permanent in-house film installation on New York, Timescapes, is also a must see, visually showing how New York has changed since the Dutch settlement days- and narrated by Stanley Tucci! It is only 25 minutes but well worth watching the entire thing. I also love the LED chandelier by Cooper Joseph Studio recently commissioned for the entryway of the historic building, its simplicity meshes so well, while bringing a total modern edge.

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The Museum of the City of New York feels like a discovered gem, definitely a welcome break from crowded museums, and at a $10 suggested donation you can’t really go wrong.

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What: The Museum of the City of New York

Where: 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029

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