Queens Museum

Edification value  3/5
Entertainment value  4/5
Should you go?  4/5
Time spent 144 minutes
Best thing I saw or learned The Queens Museum could install the Mona Lisa on loan from the Louvre and the Panorama of the City of New York would still be the best thing at the Queens Museum.

Queens MuseumEach of New York’s outer boroughs has a showpiece, namesake museum.  They range from the huge and ambitious Brooklyn Museum to the quirkier, but still ambitious, Bronx Museum of the Arts.  The Queens Museum, in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, has something unique in all of New York City’s museums making a visit mandatory for anyone who loves New York City.

I’ll get to that in a moment; first some history. Continue reading “Queens Museum”

New-York Historical Society

Edification value  4/5
Entertainment value  
Should you go?  4/5
Time spent 94 minutes
Best thing I saw or learned John Singer Sargent’s “Gassed,” 1919, a monumental oil painting on loan for the WWI show from the Imperial War Museum, London.  It’s a Sargent, so it’s as civilized and genteel as war gets. But at the same time, it’s a far cry from the fancy society folks I’m used to from him.

Sargent at New-York Historical Society

new-york historical society

The New-York Historical Society came into being in 1804, making it (according to itself) the oldest museum in the city. Its recent evolution presents a case study of a dusty old institution retooling itself for the social media age. Over the past decade or so a series of renovations turned it from the somewhat hermetic, academic attic of the city into a bright, airy, less-dense institution. Bronze statues of Abe Lincoln and Frederick Douglass welcome you outside the front doors, and that unexpected, slightly eccentric vibe continues within.

Of the many things I like about the Historical Society, I sometimes think my favorite thing is the hyphen between “New” and “York.” Nowhere else bothers with that anymore. However, without it visitors might think that they are visiting the new historical society of York, England. I bet that happened a lot in the 19th century. It’s really thoughtful.  I shall feel quite cross if they ever drop it and rebrand as the Newyork Historical Society. Continue reading “New-York Historical Society”