search Buscar

    The Museum of the City of New York: a look into the past to understand the present

    Who I am
    Joel Fulleda

    Item Feedback:

    content warning

    There aren't many people who can be sure of really get to know New York. It is not enough to turn it all around, a month would not be enough to be able to say that you have understood the soul of a unique city in the world which is New York. Furthermore, we know that the past is the key to understanding the changing present of City that never sleeps: this is why, if you are in the Big Apple for several days and would like to know as much as possible its evolution, history, up to the lesser known anecdotes, I advise you not to miss a visit to the Museum of the City of New York.

    It is not as famous or perhaps not even as interesting as the MoMA, the Met and other renowned museums in Manhattan, but it collects further 750.000 objects linked to the city from its birth to today and various exhibitions that narrate its foundation, development, dark and memorable moments, in a unicum between art and history, between past and present. So let's get to know the New York City Museum.


    • Historical notes on the MCNY
    • The exhibits and collections of the museum
    • Where is the MCNY and how to get there
    • Useful information: timetables, prices, discounts
    • Where to sleep?

    Historical notes on the MCNY

    Il Museum of the City of New York it was founded in 1923. It was originally located in the Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side, the official residence of the Mayor of New York, in the heart of Carl Schurz Park, between East End Avenue and 88th Street. In 1926 the "Old New York" exhibition was presented in the Fine Arts Building and the success of this exhibition was such that it led to the fundraising to build a museum dedicated to the city on Fifth Avenue, right along the Museum Mile. THE'Neo-Georgian style building by architect Joseph H. Freelander, which still houses the museum today, was inaugurated on 11 January 1932.

    In early 2000 a change of location was proposed by Mayor Giuliani's administration, but with Bloomberg's victory as the new mayor, the relocation of the museum was blocked. With the new director, Susan Henshaw Jones, the renovation and enlargement of the building on Fifth Avenue began with major improvements to the existing galleries and the inauguration in 2008 of a new pavilion of almost 300 square meters on two floors. In recent years a important digitization project allows users to see over 190.000 objects in the online museum.

    The exhibits and collections of the museum

    What to see inside the New York City Museum? First of all, let's start by saying that the museum is renowned for its large collection of photographs, prints, drawings, clothes, furniture, manuscripts and rare books, dioramas and much more: among the pieces of greatest historical and cultural value and interest there is a chair that belonged to Sarah Rapelje, she who was the first child born in New York City.

    Among other things, the museum was also the first in the United States to create and curate a section dedicated solely to antique toys. Among these there is a famous one dollhouse which I advise you not to miss: it is there Dollhouse di Carrie Walter Stettheimer, equipped with 12 rooms furnished with objects and furniture made entirely by hand and designed by important artists of the twenties as well as by the author herself, who lived between 1869 and 1944 and engaged in the construction of this house for a period of almost 20 years (1916-1935).

    Also, is there anything better than a collection of vintage photographs to best describe the evolution of a city like New York? L'large selection of photographs present in the museum includes works by important artists such as Percy Byron, Jacob Riis, Berenice Abbott and even Stanley Kubrick. Finally, the reconstruction of what it should have been is also worth seeing New Amsterdam, created by John Wolcott Adams in 1916 following the first true map of Lower Manhattan, also known as Plan Castle. The latter was designed in 1660 by a Dutchman and sold together with other drawings to Cosimo III de 'Medici. In 1990 this important historical document that reproduces the original settlement from which New York later developed was found in the Medici Villa of Castello near Florence and that is why it is known internationally with the name Castello Plan.

    Among the permanent exhibitions we mention:

    • New York at its Core, which traces the history of the city from the origins of New Amsterdam to today, with a look to the rapidly changing future;
    • Activist New York, which pays tribute to the activists in the city who fought for social change between the XNUMXth century and today;
    • Timescapes, a 28-minute film on the history and metamorphosis of the city over the years. The must-see movie plays every 40 minutes from 10:20 am to 17:00 pm every day.
    Detail of the Dollhouse
    Plan Castle

    Where is the MCNY and how to get there

    Il New York City Museum is located in Manhattan, al 1220 Fifth Avenue, between 103rd Street and 104th Street. As anticipated, it is part of the northern area of Museum Mile, not far from the Museo del Barrio, the Guggenheim Museum and the Jewish Museum. In front of the beautiful red brick mansion with marble columns that houses it extends the northern area of ​​Central Park, which obviously deserves a visit: at the link indicated, tips for enjoying it.

    Reaching the museum by public transport is simple:

    • in bus you can take M1, M2, M3, M4 and M106 and get off at 104th Street;
    • in metro you can take the lines 4 or 6 and get off at 103rd Street Station or lines 2 or 3 and get off at 110th Street Station-Central Park North.

    Useful information: timetables, prices, discounts

    The Museum of the City of New York is open from Friday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00. The museum ticket (in suggested admission mode) costs 20 dollars for adults, 14 dollars for over 65s and students and free access for children under 20 years of age.

    Buy the entrance ticket

    As for theoffer of New York passes, the Museum is included in the New York Pass, the Go City New York Explorer Pass and the New York Sightseeing Pass (both Flex and Day) In addition, admission is included for those who book the Topview Tour Bus tours.

    In order to access the museum, anyone over 12 years old must provide proof of vaccination. All those over 2 years of age must also wear the mask within the premises.

    Where to sleep?

    If you would like to stay overnight near the Museum Mile and Fifth Avenue, then I recommend that you look for accommodation in the exclusive area of Central Park. For tips on staying overnight in the area read the link below, alternatively for all other areas of Manhattan and not only read the article where to sleep in New York.

    Where to sleep in the area

    add a comment from The Museum of the City of New York: a look into the past to understand the present
    Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.