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Brooklyn History Museums

The Bushwick Doll Factory: A tour of 538 Johnson, where Brooklyn’s industrial past and punk music collide

There is no place in New York City quite like the converted factory building at 538 Johnson Avenue in Bushwick*, Brooklyn. At the same time, it evokes in mysterious ways a compelling truth about this city — that every building has a story, if only it had a storyteller to share it. For 538 Johnson, that storyteller is Bryan Sears, […]

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Museums

Panoramas! The world’s first widescreen delights, on display at the New-York Historical society

Even in our Instagram age, it remains impossible to completely capture the experience of real life upon a fabricated image. With filters and captions, we can make places looks better than they are, but flat images rarely embody the lushcious expanse of reality. With their whimsical new exhibition Panoramas: The Big Picture, the New-York Historical Society reveals that the attempt […]

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Museums

New York’s First Art Museum: The City Hall Rotunda

The Metropolitan Museum of Art contains a very unusual piece of art tied to the early history of City Hall. In fact, this piece is responsible for what is sometimes considered New York’s very first art museum — decades older than the Met itself. The strange oil painting is called Panoramic View of the Palace […]

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Museums On The Waterfront

The South Street Seaport Museum, at 50 years old, has gotten some tattoos

The under appreciated South Street Seaport Museum has always had a daunting mission to fulfill — preserving a piece of New York City history on the edge of a volatile and ever-changing waterway. Established fifty years ago this year, the museum has been the guiding presence to this remaining vestige of New York’s 19th century waterfront. […]

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Museums

The Crystal Palace: A new gallery show brings its marvels to life

Bryant Park is a rather remarkable physical space. During the winter it becomes a skating rink and outdoor market, while in the summer, its lawn host hundreds of movie buffs every Monday for the park’s popular outdoor film festival. Its neighbor — the main branch of the New York Public Library — keeps millions of volumes […]

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Museums

City of Memory: The Metropolitan Museum’s intimate New York exhibit

Up in one of those difficult-to-find rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — so difficult that perhaps it simply vanishes after you leave it — is a series of 27 small oil paintings that one must view with a magnifying glass. The subjects of the paintings all reside in the same universe — a […]

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Museums

Here’s how to view the new display ‘New York 1942’ at Gracie Mansion

Seventy-five years ago, in 1942, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses convinced Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to move his family from their home in East Harlem (Fifth Avenue and 109th Street) to an old mansion in Carl Schurz Park. It was the former home to merchant Archibald Gracie, built in 1799, to look out at the ships […]

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Museums

New York At Its Core: MCNY’s Past, Present and Future of the city

The Museum of the City of New York finally delivers the ultimate history of New York City in its dazzling new permanent exhibit on the ground floor — New York At Its Core. And yet it feels very strange to classify this as a mere survey of history as though it were a row of […]

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Museums

Saturday is Free Museum Day! A list of NYC’s participating museums

The Smithsonian Magazine-sponsored Museum Day Live!, this Saturday, September 24, provides you with an excellent reason to finally visit that local museum you’ve always wanted to go to or to go catch that exhibit that all your friends have been talking about. This is a national event and includes a great many museums, well beyond those operated […]

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Museums

Photographs of wonder from the American Museum of Natural History

One hundred years ago, the American Museum of Natural History received a massive visitor, one so mighty that the doors of the museum’s delivery room “had to be removed and [the] partition openings enlarged” in order to accommodate it. Was it a dinosaur? A meteorite? Perhaps the remains of a great whale? No, the new […]

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Museums

Saturday is Free Museum Day! Hosted by Smithsonian Magazine

Saturday, September 26, is Smithsonian Magazine’s annual MUSEUM DAY with free admission to participating museums across the country. The only catch is that you need to visit the Smithsonian website and print out your ticket (good for two admissions) first before you go. It’s not free for everyone. You’re special! Here’s a list of participating museums and […]

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Museums Podcasts

The wonderful mysteries of the Guggenheim Museum, the Frank Lloyd Wright ziggurat turned on its head

From inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s inverted ziggurat (Photo courtesy Thais) It’s ancient mysteries week on the Bowery Boys! What, you ask, I thought you only did New York City history?  In fact, at least two great Manhattan landmarks evoke the great mysteries of ancient times, meant to bring mystical energy and revelation to one of […]

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Museums

The Stunning Wilderness: John James Audubon saves the birds and creates a rare 19th century masterpiece

Happy Easter!  Audubon’s Golden Eagle with its bizarrely depicted bunny prize.  Notice the small man in the background. That’s Audubon himself as ‘an American woodsman’, the only appearance he makes in this series of watercolors.You’d be forgiven for thinking that the latest show at the New-York Historical Society — Audubon’s Aviary: Parts Unknown (Part II) […]

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Museums

Start 2014 by seeing three of the best exhibitions of 2013 — Armory Show, Lewis Hine, the ABCs of children’s books

Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year to go to more museums?  To be more cultured? To know, generally speaking, what’s going on in this great big city in 2014?  Then start with these three terrific history-related exhibitions — some of best shows from last year — either at their half-way points or […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Museums

Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul at the Morgan Library: Genius from a dark place, his strange torment on display

An illustration by Eduardo Manet from a 1875 French reprinting of “The Raven” We are all too comfortable with Edgar Allan Poe in the abstract.  His fingerprints seem to be on everything these days.  His morbid tastes and the flowering dark genres he helped create appear just underneath much of American pop culture in the […]