The Aldrich is one of the few independent, non-collecting contemporary art museums in the United States, and the only museum in Connecticut devoted to contemporary art. Founded on Ridgefield’s historic Main Street in 1964, the Museum concentrates its exhibition program on solo exhibitions by emerging and mid-career artists.
At Winter Garden Ice Arena, families slice ice during public skate sessions or slap pucks into goals during adult or youth hockey leagues. There are also figure-skating programs, and the center’s icy confines and private party room make ideal meeting grounds for children’s birthday parties.
Surrounded by the leafy trees and green lawns of Overpeck Park, the 22-acre Bergen Equestrian Center is designed to keep both humans and horses happy. Locker rooms and showers, a lounge area, and a full kitchen cater to the humans, while 100 custom-built stalls supply the horses with all the creature comforts they could ask for. Each stall is equipped with padded flooring and automatic water dispensers, and each receives a daily cleaning. Climate-controlled tack rooms and 21 grass turnout paddocks are just icing on the hay bale.
The facility is equally impressive when it comes to training. Two indoor and three outdoor riding arenas serve as the stage for horseback-riding lessons for students as young as 5. These lessons teach beginner through advanced skills, all while allowing students to move at their own pace. A Grand Prix field and medieval jousting ring, meanwhile, allow for higher-level training.
From a stone mosaic that lined the floors of a 5th-century synagogue to the final rhyme spit out by a Jewish hip-hop artist, the span of the Jewish Museum's collections is as diverse as it is expansive. What began in 1904 with 26 artifacts has blossomed into a collection of 27,000 paintings, sculptures, and multimedia exhibits that together present a collage of art and Jewish culture from across centuries and continents.
The centerpiece of the Museum is Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey, a permanent exhibition teeming with artifacts, videos, and art that collectively celebrate Jewish identity and the culture's ability to persevere through sometimes tragic circumstances. Artists—from 20th century French master Édouard Vuillard to contemporary American painter Kehinde Wiley—enliven the galleries in rotating exhibitions.
Interactive exhibits such as the Archaeology Zone bring kids within earshot of ancient times as they don ancient costumes and weigh, magnify, and analyze vessels just like anthropologists or careful ancient housewares shoppers. Family activities include holiday-themed art classes and workshops, and The Wind Up series invites adults into the Museum for an after-hours menagerie of cutting-edge music, film, and theatre. After a day of soaking up history, attendees can nosh at Lox at Café Weissman, a certified-kosher café whose stained glass windows shed light on the edible portion of the Jewish journey.
New York City has her bustling waterways to thank for a rich history of art, industry, and cultural development—perhaps more than any other factor. The sea carried in a stream of tens of millions of immigrants and fueled the industrial age in one of the country’s most accessible portals to the world. South Street Seaport Museum’s massive gallery space in Schermerhorn Row Block pays tribute to a bygone age while bridging it to the city’s modern aquatic-shipping and transport industry. Some exhibits illuminate the past, such as the pseudo-marketplace at Coffee, Fish, and the Tattooed Man and the immaculately preserved hotel at Remains of the Stay, while others highlight modern issues such as the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Weighted with history, the museum’s fleet of tugboats, schooners, and sloops stays stalwartly afloat, each with its own story to tell; built in 1885, the Wavertree was one of the last wrought-iron sailing ships commissioned, and the Pioneer has spent more than 120 years feeding the economy with boatloads of lumber, stone, brick, oyster shells, and tourists. The majestic four-masted bark Peking represents the famous German Flying P-Liners, designed to be crewed entirely by birds.
Located along the Museum Mile section of Fifth Avenue, the Museum of the City of New York chronicles local culture through an array of exhibitions, interactive programs, publications, and other media. Founded in 1923 and housed in a landmark building, the nonprofit museum hosts temporary exhibitions to complement extensive permanent collections. Hallways and gallery spaces invite guests inside to study historic maps, photographs of life and architecture, and artwork, as well as vintage displays gathering toys, fashion, and furniture—providing more insight into the city's rich character than the diary of Al Pacino. Docents and visiting artists aim to highlight the city's diversity and heritage through public programs and events, such as gallery tours and performances as well as symposiums and panels. A gift shop allows visitors to bring home a taste of the Big Apple via city-spirited books, clothing, posters, music, films, and handmade goods.