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New York, New York: Four Museums in Four Days


I rather “over did” the Museum thing in NYC not too long ago. Four Museums in Four days. After spending ten days in Iceland (which I loved) I needed the bit of urban culture. A fix, if you will.

NYC is a great spot for Museums—more than eighty three in a very small space.

Let me share my experiences. First I popped into the Rubin Museum of Art, which is in the middle of Chelsea where I was staying. I love this building. It was Barney’s years ago.There was a time,  I would venture down to this part of the city to see the fabulous windows and displays when Barney’s was the hippest, coolest retailer in the city. As a Fashion Writer for the Grand Rapids Press, I loved gathering story ideas from the  treasure trove of trends to report back in my mid-western media.

It’s now an Asian Museum and a perfect spot to enjoy a cup of tea, light snack, visit the store and meander the upper floors filled with interesting art. On this trip I enjoyed an exhibit on Masks and got a kick out of this guy dressed in black and gold printed jacket, white and gold wildly printed trousers and shiny gold and glittery shoes. He was a bit distracting. Hard to look at tiny Asian artifacts.

Rubin Museum in NYC

On the next day, I ventured way up to the upper East side to see the Cooper-Hewitt, New York’s Design Museum. It’s a double whammy because the large elegant old mansion was filled with current and updated media. I loved an exhibit on Pixar, an interesting interactive presentation of patterns and best of all, a survey of a very creative architectural firm in London.

Cooper-Hewitt Museum
Cooper-Hewitt Museum, NYC
Cooper-Hewitt Museum, NYC
Cooper-Hewitt Museum, NYC
Cooper-Hewitt Museum, NYC
Cooper-Hewitt Museum

Interestingly the Museum now has an interactive feature. This museum was recently “redone” to update the facility. When I checked in I was given a stylist like pen and a web site number. As I meandered the exhibits, I could hold the end down on a bar code and an image of the item and information about it goes to my personal catalog on this site.

All this is housed in a grand old mansion. If you look beyond the exhibit you can get an idea for how very wealthy folks lived in NYC in the 1800s.

Local connection: I spotted a Herman Miller Picnic Poster in the gift shop. I recently met the talented man who designed the original 20 posters at a dinner party. It was fun to see to see a smidgen of Mid-west Michigan in the Big Apple.

Cooper-Hewitt Gift Shop, NYC

Then I couldn’t help but want to spend time at the Whitney Museum of American Art newly opened at the southern end of the High Line. If you don’t know what the High Line is, click here and here. It has expanded again and it is full of gawking tourists. Construction continues at a frighting rate.

Highline, NYC
Highline, NYC

The Museum is a replacement for a grande dame of a building on Madison Avenue. It is filled with large galleries, natural light and three levels of terrace and outdoor dining for enjoying the views of this part of the city.

There is a 18,000 square foot column free space on the fifth floor which wasn’t open on the day I was there. The largest in the city. I look forward to going back to see this sometime. It will be terrific for modern art pieces that are really big.

Basically the Whitney moved because they Marcel Breuer designed building couldn’t accommodate the kinds of works the museum wants to show today.

Whitney Museum
View from the Whitney
View from one of three terraces at the Whitney Museum, NYC
Sculpture in current exhibit at the Whitney Museum, NYC
Very large art work at the Whitney Museum, NYC
View out a west facing window at the Whitney Museum,
View from terrace of the Whitney of the Standard Hotel and HighLine, NYC

If you go, plan to go around lunch time. Lunch on the terrace was lovely. We had a modern version of soup and sandwich.
The emphasis is on natural light….huge floor to ceiling windows offering panorama of River, Statue of Library and skyline

Another Local connection: Pamella Rolland DeVos elevator.

Dining terrace at the Whitney
Artwork at the Whitney Museum, NC
2-D artwork at the Whitney Museum, NYC
Terraces and view at the Whitney Museum, NYC

My last museum was the tear jerker—the newly opened National September 11 Memorial & Museum. It has taken a long time but the underground space tells the story of what happened on that fateful day and beyond. It took several hours to thoroughly absorb and then I was so choked with emotion I had to find a clear, sunny outdoor space to settle down. Lunch at P.J. Clarke’s with view of the East River was perfect spot.


Contemplating how many lives where changed in an instant and the suffering of so many had me speechless for a long time. Won’t say more, just plan to go,schedule your visit early in the day to avoid crowds if you can. Allow plenty of time. It isn’t an experience to be rushed.


Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    peggy depersia
    Dec 1, 2015 Reply

    I LOVE NYC; thanks for the details on the museums you most recently visited. These places and spaces add so very much to the experience of a city and the experience of life. There is nothing like art (hmm, maybe architecture too) to push one to think about new ways of viewing what might be possible…..probably going to have to expand my list but will start with art and architecture.

  2. posted by
    Dec 1, 2015 Reply

    Hi Susan, one of these days I want to explore NYC the way you seem to do it, taking it in small chunks each time you go. Good advise, so thank you.

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