In New York City, everyone's in a rush. But art makes you stop, look and wonder. The number of sculptures on New York City's streets and in its parks makes it the greatest outdoor art museum in the United States. There are also several, lovely museums that feature outdoor sculpture in and around the city. So, slow down and contemplate the artwork.
Splendor in the Asphalt
City Sculptures & Monuments (NYC streets & parks; www.nycgovparks.org/sub_things_to_do/attractions/public_art/public_art.html)
Permanent: From the famous Statue of Liberty by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi (NY Harbor) to the majestic Atlas by Lee Lawrie (Fifth Ave. at 50th St.), remarkable sculptures are everywhere you turn. There are whimsical, lifelike ones such as Taxi! by J. Seward Johnson (Park Ave. at 47th St.) and Commuters by George Segal (Port Authority Bus Terminal, 42nd St. & 8th Ave.). Kids get a kick out of Alice in Wonderland by Jose de Creeft (Central Park, Conservatory Water, near E. 72nd St.), Cat by Fernando Brotero (Park Ave. at 79th St.), and, of course, the Lions by Edward Clark Potter (New York Public Library, Fifth Ave. at 42nd St.).
Temporary: In addition to the 300 permanent pieces, there are changing outdoor sculpture exhibits throughout the city run by Art in the Parks (http://tinyurl.com/236r2s), Creative Time (www.creativetime.org) and the Public Art Fund (www.publicartfund.org). Madison Square Park (Mad Ave. bet 23rd & 26th Sts., www.madisonsquarepark.org) always features interesting pieces. Also, the New York Botanical Garden (www.nybg.org) and the Wave Hill garden (www.wavehill.org), both in the Bronx, often have sculpture exhibits on their beautiful grounds.
Tours: City of Art (Municipal Art Society of New York, tel. 212/935-3960; http://mas.org/tours/; Cost: $10-$15) organized tours highlight art and sculpture throughout the city.
Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Broadway, Long Island City, Queens; tel. 718/956-1819; www.socratessculpturepark.org)
On the East River, with a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline, the park features large-scale installations by emerging artists.
Noguchi Museum & Garden (9-01 33rd Rd., Long Island City, Queens; tel. 718/204-7088; www.noguchi.org)
Some 25 sculptures by famed Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi are on display in the museum's lovely, sculpture garden. The museum celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2010.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Roof Garden (Fifth Avenue at 82nd St.; tel. 212/535-7710; www.metmuseum.org/special/index.asp)
The Roof Garden, with fabulous views over Central Park, is open from April to the end of October or November (weather permitting). Each year, sculpture from a different, internationally-renowned artist is featured.
Splendor in the Grass
Kykuit (Rt. 9, Sleepy Hollow, NY; tel. 914/631-8200; www.hudsonvalley.org/content/view/66/130/)
The Rockefeller family loved and promoted modern art. On the grounds of their estate, an hour north of the city, is a mind-blowing collection of modern sculpture by Picasso, Brancusi, Calder, Giacometti, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Nevelson, and David Smith.
Storm King Art Center (Old Pleasant Hill Rd., Mountainville, NY; tel. 845/534-3115; www.stormkingartcenter.org)
In a beautiful Hudson Valley setting, around an hour north of the city, about 100 large-scale sculptures by famed artists (Calder, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Nevelson) and contemporary sculptors (Andy Goldsworthy, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Serra) are displayed in this open-air museum. Open from April until November, the center commemorates its 50th anniversary in 2010 with special exhibitions -- don't miss the earth and grass installation, Wavefield, by celebrated artist Maya Lin.
Grounds For Sculpture (18 Fairgrounds Rd., Hamilton, NJ; tel. 609/586-0616; www.groundsforsculpture.org)
This is in New Jersey and one of my favorite places, about an hour from New York. Over 240 sculptures by established and emerging artists are displayed throughout this lovely, 35-acre park surrounding a lake. The works highlighted range from traditional to abstract to whimsical. And, the Peacock Café sculpture courtyard is a delightful spot for lunch.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers in our New York Forum today.