New York City's Central Park is familiar to many people, even if they have never been to the City. It has been the location for many TV series and movies. To the locals, it is an escape away from the concrete and noise of Manhattan and to visitors, its lakes, bridges and hidden paths are a welcome change. We have been to Central Park on several occassions and have got to know it quite well, but on every visit we find something new to explore.
New York has some great museums and during our most recent trip to the city, we were looking to visit one we had not been to before. As we were based in mid-town we opted for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) which was only a few blocks away.
MoMA has been an important institution in New York since it was founded in 1929, by a group of progressive patrons of the arts, including Lillie P. Bliss, Mary Quinn Sullivan, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, with the mission of creating “the greatest museum of modern art in the world.”
From an initial gift of eight prints and one drawing, The Museum of Modern Art’s collection has grown to approximately 200,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, media and performance artworks, architectural models and drawings, design objects, and films. MoMA also owns approximately two million film stills.
Today, MoMA has some wonderful collections that included works from the greatest contemporary artists, including Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Dalí, Warhol, Hockney and Pollock to name but a few.
We arrived as MoMA was opening and headed for the top floor, only stopping briefly to check out the formula one Ferrari in the lobby. The strategy of starting at the furthest point, be it a museum or theme park, and working our way back has always worked well for it and today was no exception as we had these galleries all to ourselves.
The thing I liked about the galleries at MoMA was that they are quite small and intimate. Unlike many other more traditional museums which are designed more like palaces and can be distracting, MoMA has low ceilings, white walls and is well lit. All of which seems perfectly fitting for a space filled with modern artworks.
It was wonderful to see works from some of our favourite artists. We spent a good 3-hours looking around and it would be easier to spend longer. There is also a cinema that show some classic films; you’ll need to check the schedule and see what is on (be aware there is an additional charge for this!
If you get a little tired walking around, as we did, the restaurant in MoMA is a great place to take a break. You can get a complete meal, or as we did just grab a cup of tea and a cake. There is also a balcony so you can sit outside and watch the world go by.
Planning your visit to MoMA
|Address:||11 W 53rd St, New York, NY|
|Telephone:||T: (212) 708-9400|
Sun–Fri, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
In summary …
- If you like contemporary art then we highly recommend you visit the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
- Try and get there early to beat the crowds and start on the top floor … most people start at the bottom! Or plan what exhibits you really want to see and find out where they are and go there first.
- It will take 3-hours plus to walk around the galleries – take some good walking shoes.
- Try out the restaurant – it is very nice and there is an outdoor balcony
- If you are interested in the films check what is on and book your tickets!
Best time to visit New York City
Fall and spring are considered by tourists and locals as the best times to visit, and you can expect pleasant temperatures to reign in the months from April to June and September until November. However, the best times of year to visit New York City for warm-weather activities are from mid-June to July and from early August to the end of September.
Other things to do whilst in New York City
1. BRONX ZOO
The Bronx Zoo is a zoo within Bronx Park in the Bronx, New York. It is one of the largest zoos in the United States by area and is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States by area, comprising 265 acres of parklands and naturalistic habitats separated by the Bronx River.
It is a great place to spend the day with your family, or indeed on your own. The highlights for us are the Congo Gorilla exhibit, JungleWorld, Madagascar and the Wild Asia Monorail.
2. NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDENS
3. 9/11 MEMORIAL MUSEUM
The 9/11 Memorial Museum invites visitors to learn about the history of the 9/11 attacks and 1993 World Trade Center bombing at the site where the Twin Towers once stood. The Museum’s dynamic blend of architecture, archaeology, and history creates an unforgettable encounter with the story of the attacks, their aftermath, and the people who experienced these events.
4. STATUE OF LIBERTY & ELLIS ISLAND
The Statue of Liberty is an iconic symbol of the United States of America. You can visit the statue on Liberty Island by ferry from Manhattan and New Jersey. On Liberty Island, there is a museum dedicated to the history of Lady Liberty.
Also, from Liberty Island, you can make the short journey across the water to Ellis Island, which was the reception centre for people emigrating to America. Today, it is a museum run by the National Park Service and an archive where visitors can trace their relatives who made the life-changing journey across the water to start new lives in the United States of America.
5. CENTRAL PARK
Central Park is one of the most recognisable parts of New York City anyone who has seen TV series or films made in New York will be familiar with many of its features. It is not just a place for visitors to the city to wander it is also a playground for New Yorkers to come and escape the concrete and brick of the city.
Where to stay in New York City
1. ELEMENT TIMES SQUARE
During our visit to New York, we stayed in the Element hotel which is in the Hells Kitchen district. For us, it was perfectly located and was only a 5-minute walk to Times Square. It was also very close to several metro stations and the main bus terminal. We were feeling a bit stingy and cautious due to the Covid-19 pandemic so we decided to walk from Penn Station to the hotel, which only took us 10-minutes, hauling our luggage.
The room was good, we had a little kitchenette and there were pots, pans, plates and silverware, so we were self-contained. We were lucky enough to be on one of the higher floors, so we had a view. It was also possible to see the Empire State building.
Breakfast is included but nothing to write home about, but there are plenty of places to eat in the area so it was not a problem for us.
2. YOTEL NEW YORK
3. FREEHAND HOTEL
Freehand is located in the former George Washington hotel, known as the home of many artists, and it has maintained its creative spirit. It has a partnership with Bard College and many artists take an active part in designing the hotel and in shaping its cultural life. Freehand features five restaurants and bars, and elegantly designed rooms with private bathrooms. The rooms sleep up to 6 people.
It is located on Lexington Avenue and in walking distance of Union Square, Midtown and Flatiron.