New York might have more museums per capita than art students. There's the big three -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, and the newly revamped and renovated Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). But there are so many more museums than that. There's the Museum of Folk Art, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Jewish Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Television and Radio, the Tenement Museum, and of course, there's even the New York Transit Museum that tells you the history of the Subway. It's enough to make your head spin.
Instead of that, here's a short list of what's happening in the New York City museums this Spring and how little (as in almost nothing) you'll have to pay to get in.
To get a handle on what's where and how to see it, start your search at www.ny.com/museums/all.museums.html that has a full listing of all the New York City Museums. In addition to listing all the museums, the Site provides links to the museums' home pages, so it's a great resource to shorten your New York City museum research.
If you act fast, as in before this Monday, February 28, 2005, you get one gigantic exhibit free of charge. The Gates (www.christojeanneclaude.net/tg.html#statement) by outdoor-artist Christo are lighting all of Central Park up orange. Seventy-five hundred fabric panels over 23 miles, Central Park, originally designed by American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and British architect Calvert Vaux in the mid to late 19th Century, gets dressed up in the culmination of a project originally conceived in 1979. It's totally free. Just walk around and enjoy it.
Probably the best perspective from which to view the Gates is the rooftop landing of the Metroplitan Museum of Art (tel. 212/535-7710; www.metmuseum.org). Through April 3, 2005, there is an exhibit of drawings by Dutch master Peter Paul Rubens, mostly sketches of his family and loved ones. The Met, or the "museum with pictures in it," in the words of J.D. Salinger in Catcher in the Rye, suggests a $15 donation from adults and $10 donation from senior citizens. That word donation is short for "please give." But if you're feeling poor that day, don't fret it, the Met of all places understands what it means to be a struggling artist and doesn't mind the occasional freeloader. Plus, you can always give $5 if you feel bad.
The American Museum of Natural History (tel. 212/769-5100; www.amnh.org), the "one with the Indians in it," according to Salinger in that same book, has an incredible find that may or may not excite the kids in you or the kids with you. For a limited time, the museum has on display the last meal of a dinosaur that ate a baby dinosaur. While that may be hard to stomach, it proves that "primitive mammals fed on small dinosaurs." The remains of the smaller dinosaur were found inside the tummy of a dinosaur dating back 130 million years. The fossil is on exhibit through May 13, 2005. The Museum of Natural History has suggested entrance prices of $13 per adult and $7.50 per children. They're a little stricter here than they are over at "the museum with all the pictures in it."
They're a lot stricter at the world-renowned Museum of Modern Art (tel. 212/708-9400; www.moma.org). The recently reopened (November 2004) museum charges a steep $20 for your admittance and there are no exceptions. One way around the high-ticket price is to become a member. Starting from $75 per year for an individual, you get unlimited entry and no line waiting for the duration if your annual membership - plus it's tax deductible. While the only big show at MOMA is the fact that MOMA is back at its original location on 53th Street off Fifth Avenue, it's eye-opening as you get a front-row view of Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night. The new MOMA inspires. Bring your kids. If they're under 16 they're free. In New York, that's a bargain.