We’ve been to NY numerous times and every visit I try and take in a museum or gallery so I’ve seen a few now.  The Met is amazing, Guggenheim is surely in the top 3 most fabulous buildings in NY (alongside Chrysler and Grand Central) and MOMA is a great collection. But a week into our stay here I checked out a museum I’ve been meaning to see for ages, the Museum of the City of New York. 

It’s situated almost at the top of Museum mile on 5th Avenue and 103rd st, overlooking the last bit of Central Park heading north. As with Grant’s Tomb it’s one of the less-visited of NY’s cool locations. But it is fab. It’s small and very accessible and the layout – describing NYC’s rise from a Dutch village to ‘the Capital of the world’ (their claim not mine – because surely that’s London) – is super. I was expecting a big thing on 9/11 but it was mentioned only en passant which is great. It perfectly demonstrates NY’s capacity to move on and not dwell.

The temporary exhibits were right up my street. One was on activist NY which suited our being in Harlem and getting some essential background detail. Another was on War Posters which included the famous ‘Your Country Needs You’ image of Uncle Sam and some classic German poster art.

But the highlight for me was the exhibit on City mapping and how the city has passed ordinance on zoning, building planning and architecture. It was brilliant. For example it described how in the 20’s and 30’s the authorities laid down building codes insisting on ‘setbacking’. This is a brilliant concept which lays down how buildings need to have their upper levels cut back in almost pyramid style to allow light and air to penetrate down to street level. Once you know this you see examples all over the city (including most famously the Empire State Building). Here are a couple of shots I took on our travels around town…

That second building is Google’s HQ btw.

What else  can I tell you; the staff were extremely helpful and informative, the shop and cafes were small but nicely quiet and the hand-out literature is excellent. My only gripe – and it’s a common thing here is the state of the loos. They were perfectly clean but I’m struggling getting used to the traps being very, well, airy as you can see from this shot…

I just can’t do a pooh in a loo this open to the neighbours. Sorry if that’s too much unwelcome detail. I can’t finish this on a low note. The Museum itself is housed in a beautiful colonial style building which was perfect for its content. Just loved it here…







2 thoughts on “MCNY

  1. I agree with you about the loos Paul, it was the same in Canada and I was told it was to enable the medics to slide under the door in the event of your “doing an Elvis” ie dying on the lavatory.


    1. Ah so that’s why. I won’t worry about the perverts peeping any more (and will probably cut down on the peanut and bacon sandwiches too). Thanks L


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