The Metropolitan Museum of Art's four-block-long building, located in Central Park, functions as a time capsule, preserving hundreds of thousands of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts that collectively demonstrate mankind's finest achievements. Founded in 1870 to bring fine art closer to the general public, the Museum has since become a means of exploring worldwide cultures through art.
With more than 400 galleries open to the public, seeing all the Museum has to offer is more of a lifetime achievement than an afternoon commitment. Paintings by preeminent artists such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh draw huge crowds, but unexpected treasures await those willing to dig deeper. One collection of galleries features the world?s most comprehensive collection of American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts. Another, equally compelling?and newly reopened?collection is devoted to intricate Islamic artwork from as far westward as Spain and Morocco and as far eastward as Central Asia and India. It's also impossible to overlook the galleries of Egyptian art and its approximately 26,000 artifacts, making it the largest collection of its kind outside Cairo.
The Met?s collection is so expansive that it cannot fit entirely in its Fifth Avenue location. Travel to Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, and you'll find the Museum's collection of reassembled cloisters, which opened to the public in 1938. These beautiful medieval structures currently house around 2,000 manuscripts, tapestries, and stained-glass artworks largely dating from the 12th century through the 15th century. Three of the cloisters even feature gardens planted in accordance with medieval tradition.
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Each 2.5- to three-hour tour, lead by urban geologist and lifelong NYC observer Jack Eichenbaum, explores different areas of Queens. Neighborhoods are changing throughout the borough because of the re-zoning renaissance and influx of new residents, and Jack's tours explain the history and highlights of the areas and speculate on future developments. Choose one of the following four tours and dates:
This two-hour tour will start with an hour of walking down and around a historic stretch of 7th Avenue in Harlem known to the world as the Boulevard of Dreams. Led by lifelong jazz aficionado and company founder Gordon Polatnick, you'll gain insight into the history and beauty of the jazz age and take a gander with newly informed eyes at the street that birthed stars such as Louie Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and more. The second hour of the tour is spent in the comfort of a local jazz club, where you'll hear a genuine neighborhood jam session from local, living jazz musicians.
At 3rd Ward, Brooklyn's brightest and boldest creative professionals come together for an array of gallery openings, performances, and other showcases of right-brain brilliance. The center hosts more than 100 classes and courses in a myriad of mediums, with curriculum available for budding Botticellis, Brontës, and Brett Ratners alike. Push your picture taker to new artistic heights with Learn Your Digital Camera ($65 for non-members), give lonely members of the Apoidea family a couch to crash on with Rooftop Beekeeping 101 ($100 for non-members), or turn your next tailgate party into a tasting with the beer brewing class ($35 for non-members, with no additional materials fee). Other classes cover writing, sculpture, filmmaking, bicycle mechanics, and how to make a piñata with scrap metal, among numerous other topics. The value of this Groupon can be applied toward the value of 3rd Ward's more intensive courses, as well.
Occupying a newly renovated facility in the historic Astoria Studio complex where filmmakers have been bringing movies to life since 1927, The Museum of the Moving Image sits on the campus of one of the largest film and television production facilities on the East Coast. Established in 1981 by the Astoria Motion Picture and Television Center Foundation, the museum has been called ?an amazing place? by Frommer?s, while Fodor?s says it is ?twice as nice as before? its 2011 renovation. Recently, the museum has been awarded the titles of Best One-Spot-Satisfies-All Museum and Best for Film Fanatics by Time Out New York, as well as Coolest Museum Ever by Conde Nast Traveler and Best Museum?2013 by The Village Voice.
The museum displays a collection of over 130,000 movie artifacts. More than 1,400 of those are displayed in the museum's core Behind the Screen exhibition, with objects ranging from historical cameras to makeup used on the set of Sex and the City. Along with relics, the exhibit details the filmmaking process of early pictures such as The Great Train Robbery. For an interactive look at modern-day filmmaking, guests can create their own stop-motion animations at computer-based interactive stations.
The museum's ongoing First Look series gives visitors a chance to watch brand new films before they hit the festival circuit, and in 2015, the museum plans to launch an entire gallery dedicated to Jim Henson. When it's not chronicling filmmaking efforts, the museum annually screens more than 400 films in its cutting-edge 267-seat Sumner M. Redstone Theater and 68-seat screening room. Selections run the gamut from restored archival prints and new international releases to silent films scored with professional live music, a far better soundtrack than audience members humming their favorite movie themes at the same time.