Sightseeing in Weehawken

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After apprenticing with master framers in Yorkshire and London, Heba Elbanna opened Tresorie, where she designs custom frames that archive cherished memories and reflect her clients' unique tastes. Drawing on nine years of French matting experience, she carefully applies transparent watercolor washes and hand-inked lines around matted works of art. This technique, which first arose in the late 18th century, was nearly quelled by the Industrial Revolution, a time of great societal change when the rise of precise machinery made hands obsolete. Fortunately, 20th-century artists revived the French matting technique, and today Heba often incorporates the classic designs into the framing of modern art pieces as well as contemporary photographs.

When she isn't painting delicate lines, Heba and her staff source frames from Larsen-Juhl and Roma Moulding, which come in styles ranging from slim and minimalistic to wide and ornate. Staffers can protect photographs and prints with simple, clear glass as well as museum quality, UV-resistant glass that reduces glare from grouchy portraits. In addition to cutting single, double, and multi-windowed mats, Heba also displays three-dimensional pieces—such as antique pipes and fans—inside specially designed frames. Customers can view Heba's handiwork on her online gallery and peruse samples of her French matting.

1204 Washington St
Hoboken,
NJ
US

The Hoboken Historical Museum celebrates the history, culture, architecture, and overall coolness of the Hoboken area, with 2,000 square feet of photos and artifacts located within the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard. Currently, the main gallery exhibit Surveying the World: Keuffel & Esser + Hoboken, 1870–1968, running until December 23, serves up 500 engineering instruments manufactured by the firm Keuffel & Esser from 1870 to 1968. Visitors to the exhibit can interact with a slide rule or telepathically take apart a transit instrument to discover the goblins turning the gears within. The museum also has an upper gallery, which is a venue for local artists to exhibit work about Hoboken and its environs. Previous artists include popular cityscape artist Frank Hanavan, photographer Virginia Parrott, and the fifth-grade class at Wallace Elementary School. Support the Hoboken Historical Museum with a one-year individual or family membership—both membership packages include benefits such as free admission to the museum, discounts on select museum gift-shop items, a subscription to the museum's quarterly newsletter, and free copies of the museum's Oral History Project chapbooks.

1301 Hudson St
Hoboken,
NJ
US

From a stone mosaic that lined the floors of a fifth-century synagogue to the final rhyme spit out by a Jewish hip-hop artist, the span of The Jewish Museum New York's collections is as diverse as it is long. What began in 1904 with 26 artifacts has blossomed into a collection of 27,000 paintings, sculptures, and multimedia exhibits that dovetail into a collage of Jewish culture and identity from across centuries and continents.

The centerpiece of the museum is Culture and Continuity: A Jewish Journey, a permanent exhibit 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.

The centerpiece of the museum is Culture and Continuity: A Jewish Journey, a permanent exhibit 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 Archeology 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 Cafe Weissman, a certified-kosher cafe whose stained glass windows shine a light on the edible portion of the Jewish journey.

1109 5th Ave
New York,
NY
US

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.

12 Fulton St
New York,
NY
US

As the recession deepened, Metro Art & Frame owner Bo Okuyan found that demand never slackened for one market of art collectors: parents. Mr. Okuyan's business savvy caught the attention of the New York Times' Michael Winerip in 2010, who noted that a steady supply of finger paintings and crafts had caused Bo to rethink his definition of art. “All kids are artists, that’s how we look at it now,” he said. Whether upgrading fridge-hung stick-figure portraits to a permanent gallery or framing a more traditionally priceless painting, Mr. Okuyan and his staff begin with a complimentary consultation, tailoring each project to fit home or office aesthetics and personal style. Metro Art & Frame's acid-free mats center photographs, oil paintings, or post-modern puddles of spilled milk in an ornate, gold-leafed frame or elegant black one. Five types of glass and two flavors of plexiglass guard sensitive paintings from light damage with UV protection, and the shop's selection of contemporary and classic prints lets patrons fill in the gaps in their home galleries.

807 W 181st St
New York,
NY
US

In the 19th century, the Tenderloin district of New York City lured visitors with bordellos, dance halls, and saloons. These days, the area houses the Museum of Sex, which explores the historical and cultural significance of the types of human sexuality considered taboo in the Tenderloin era. The more than 15,000 sexual artifacts in the museum's permanent collection include vintage vibrators, period photography, and copies of Playboy's predecessor, Philandering Archduke. Rotating exhibitions also delve into current sexual scholarship; past exhibits have explored the history of condoms, sexuality in 1930s comics, and Japanese erotic art.

After exploring the museum's galleries, visitors can reenergize with a bite or a drink from the museum's in-house bar, which blends traditional aphrodisiacs into cocktails. Suggestively named naughty sex kits are also available in the museum's store, alongside artwork and contraceptives.

233 5th Ave.
New York,
NY
US