Museum admission prices in New York are ridiculous. The bigger the institutions the higher the price.The MoMA now charges $20 for regular admission (and that’s despite recent shows that seemed more like corporate advertising ops than art, such as motorcycles and Armani). It’s a good thing that New York’s cultural resources run deep. There is an abundance of free or at least cheap places to visit.Here are some…….. and Click here for other cool free stuff,concerts etc.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center’s collection covers every phase of black activity wherever black people have lived in significant numbers. Books, manuscripts, periodicals, art, and audiovisual materials. (Tues-Sat)
515 Malcolm X Boulevard @W135th st, New York, NY 10037 (212) 491-2200.The 2 or 3 train stops right there,but if you are going from Sugar Hill,you would walk down the hill to St Nicholas Ave,make a right and go to W135th st and take the B35 bus across town to Malcolm X Blvd,or you could walk.It’s about a 15 minute walk.
The Studio Museum in Harlem
The Studio Museum in Harlem is the nexus for black artists locally, nationally, and internationally and for work that has been inspired and influenced by black culture. It is a site for the dynamic exchange of ideas about art and society.There is a suggested price here of $7 which although it is not free, I think you should try to pay it and consider stiffing the museum in the next paragraph.
144 West 125th Street between Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd (7th Ave). tel: 212.864.4500.From Sugar Hill,take the A,C,D or B train one stop to W125 st and walk east.It’s right across the street from the Apollo
The Metropolitan Museum which also owns the Cloisters at 190th st in Fort Tryon Park,has a suggested price of $20.They will in fact make you believe that this is the price you must pay to enter.Ignore the $20 sign and just pay what you want.The Cloisters is best seen on a beautiful day.The cloistered gardens,which are high up on a hill, look out across the Hudson River to New Jersey.The museum itself contains, sculpture, tapestries, illuminated manuscripts, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ work, stained glass, enamels and ivories,all medieval.To get there from Sugar Hill Harlem Inn,take the M4 bus on Broadway to the end of the line at 190th street.It takes about 15 minutes and the bus drops you off right at the door.
Hamilton Grange National Memorial.This is 1/2 a block from Sugar Hill Harlem Inn. That’s the good news.The bad news is that it is closed and has been for over a year and it does not look like any work is being done over there.The museum is jammed in between a very ugly, circa 1960’s apartment building, and a pleasantly dilapidated church.The museum was moved from 142nd st and was at one time part of a 32 acre estate,which was probably stolen from Reckewa’s people,as the local Indian Tribe was known.Rumor has it that the whole house is once again being moved ,this time into St Nicholas Park,1/2 a block away.
Federalist Paper author and first secretary of the treasury Alexander Hamilton started construction on his country home in 1800. The National Park Service has well-maintained exhibits inside, including a scale model of the yellow Federal-style house as it looked when it was surrounded by the hills and trees of a vanished Harlem.
287 Convent Ave., between W. 141st and W. 142nd sts. tel. 212/283-5154; www.nps.gov/hagr. Fri-Sun 9am-5pm. Subway: 1/9 to 137th St.; A/B/C/D to 145th St.
The National Museum of the American Indian is home to the collection of the former Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. The collection includes more than 800,000 objects, as well as a photographic archive of 125,000 images. The collection, which became part of the Smithsonian in June 1990, was assembled throughout a 54-year period, beginning in 1903 by George Gustav Heye (1874-1957), who traveled throughout North and South America accumulating Native objects. Heye was the founder of New York’s Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation from its beginning until his death in 1957. The Heye Foundation’s Museum of the American Indian opened to the public in New York City in 1922.
Check the schedule at http://www.nativenetworks.si.edu/. There’s programming for kids, too, including storybook readings and workshops. Everything is free, though craft workshops can have material fees of up to $25. Some events require reservations.1 Bowling Green, between State and Whitehall sts. tel. 212/514-3700; http://www.americanindian.si.edu/. Daily 10am-5pm; Thurs until 8pm. Subway: 4/5 to Bowling Green; 1/9 to South Ferry.
El Museo del Barrio
El Museo del Barrio was founded in 1969 by a group of Puerto Rican educators, artists, parents and community activists in East Harlem’s Spanish-speaking El Barrio. Since then, El Museo del Barrio has evolved into New York’s leading Latino cultural institution, having expanded its mission to represent the diversity of art and culture in all of the Caribbean and Latin America.As the only museum in New York City that specializes in representing these cultures, El Museo del Barrio continues to have a significant impact on the cultural life of New York City and is now a major stop on Manhattan’s Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue. El Museo del Barrio thrives on the sustained excellence of its collections, exhibitions and public programming.
1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street New York, NY 10029 212.831.7272.From Sugar Hill,take the B train one stop to Yankee Stadium,take the 4 train to 125st and then the 6 train to 103st.Walk east to 5th ave
The Hispanic Society of America
Hispanic treasures ranging from Bronze Age tools to Goya portraits, seemingly assembled at random, fill this musty but intriguing museum. Don’t miss the intricate marble chapel sculptures on the first floor and the gorgeous arabesque tiles upstairs.Again this is very close to Sugar Hill Harlem Inn.
Audubon Terrace, Broadway, between 155th and 156th sts. tel. 212/926- 2234; http://www.hispanicsociety.org/. Tues-Sat 10am-4:30pm; Sun 1-4pm. Subway: 1 to 157th St.
It is also next door to the largest cemetery,in New York City.Trinity Cemetery. It is huge,
it is 24 acres and extends from 153rd to 155th Streets, Amsterdam to Riverside Drive.
The New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West New York, NY 10024 212-873-3400
From November 2006-September 2007 the New-York Historical Society will launch its second major exhibition on the topic of New York’s relationship to slavery and the abolitionist movement. The focus of the second exhibition will be on New York’s rise to national and global economic power as the nation itself confronted slavery and racial inequality. The period under investigation will begin about 1815 and continue through the Civil War and its aftermath. Although hundreds of significant works of art, objects and documents will be on display primarily from N-YHS collection, this exhibition will have a special focus on lithography, photography and book illustrations to emphasize that New York City, as the nation’s publishing center, had a very special role in the formulating of images on both sides of the sectional dispute in the 1850s.
Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.Open Friday, beginning November 17, until 8:00 p.m. Free admission Fridays, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Courtesy of Sugar Hill Harlem Inn.When you get to the exhibiton an another corporation will make this claim.Just ignore this allegation.
El Taller Latino Americano (The Latin American Workshop) is an arts and education organization in New York City, founded in 1979 by Latin and North Americans to afford opportunities for artistic expression and the exchange of ideas and experiences between people of different cultures For almost 25 years, they have hosted countless well-known artists and desconocidos from all over the Americas. In addition, they offer dance, music and art workshops for adults and children and art exhibits in their Grady Alexis Gallery
2710 Broadway, 3rd floor.New York, NY 10025 (212)665-9460
Take the 1 or 9 train and get off at 103rd Street
American Academy of Arts and Letters
This prestigious century-old organization extends membership to the cream of the nation’s writers and artists. In the spring and fall exhibits highlight the works of these artists, as well as the recipients of Academy prizes. There are three exhibits every year.
Audubon Terrace, Broadway, between 155th and 156th sts. tel. 212/368-5900. Open when exhibitions are up, Tues-Sun 1-4pm. Subway: 1 to 157th St.
Art Students League of New York Gallery
This independent art school, founded in 1875, is a New York legend. A host of big names started out here, including Norman Rockwell and Georgia O’Keeffe, who left behind work in the league’s permanent collection. The galleries exhibit portions of that collection along with art by current students, members, and other contemporaries.
215 West 57th St., between Broadway and Seventh Ave. tel. 212/247-4510; http://www.theartstudentsleague.org/. Mon-Fri 10am-8:30pm; Sat 9:30am-4pm; Sun 1-4:30pm. Subway: N/R/Q/W to 57th St.; B/D/E to Seventh Ave.
Austrian Cultural Forum
The architecture of the new Austrian Cultural Forum has garnered more eyebrow raises than critical praise. I find the exterior ominous, like a dagger looming over the street. The interior is more attractive, with sleek touches compensating for a cold quality. The multilevel spaces accommodate several galleries. Austrian and European-themed shows rotate through.
11 E. 52nd St., between Fifth and Madison aves. tel. 212/319-5300; http://www.acfny.org/. Mon-Fri 8am-4pm. Subway: E/V to 53rd St.
The Rose Museum recounts the practice, practice, practice it takes to get to this storied music hall. A chronology and memorabilia are on view, in addition to occasional temporary exhibits on Carnegie legends like the Gershwins, Tchaikovsky, or Leonard Bernstein.
154 W. 57th St., between 6th and 7th aves., 2nd floor. tel. 212/903-9629; http://www.carnegiehall.org/. Daily 11am-4:30pm; and to ticket holders during concerts. Subway: A/B/C/D/1/9 to 59th St.-Columbus Circle.
Fashion Institute of Technology Museum
This museum on FIT’s campus is long on historical fashion, specializing in the 20th century. Fashion showoffs complement surprisingly sophisticated students shows. Other exhibits display items from the special collections, like accessories or sketches.
The southwest corner of 7th Ave., at 27th St. tel. 212/517-5800; http://www.fitnyc.edu/. Tues-Fri noon-8pm; Sat 10am-5pm. Subway: 1/9 to 28th St.
Federal Reserve Bank (It’s not federal,it’s private and there is no reserve)
In addition to the gallery of the American Numismatic Society on the ground floor here, advance sign-up will give you the chance to glimpse a little of the building. It’s basically a tour of a bank. A bank with the largest gold cache in the world, but still a bank. Along the way you’ll see two short videos, one weirdly defensive about the employees of the currency-processing division, and one weirdly defensive about the employees working with the gold. Five stories beneath the street you’ll get to see the vault itself, which resembles a gym locker room, only with $90 billion in gold shimmering behind the bars. As a reward for your attention, you’ll get a free $1,000 in cash. Shredded cash. Call 1 to 2 weeks in advance to reserve a space.
33 Liberty St., between William and Nassau sts. tel. 212/720-6130; http://www.newyorkfed.org/. Tours weekdays 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm (they last about an hour). Subway: A/C/J/M/Z/2/3/4/5 to Fulton St./ Broadway Nassau.
Fisher Landau Center for Art
Though this museum has been around for almost 15 years, few New Yorkers know about its 25,000-square-foot exhibition and study center. The galleries, which show painting, sculpture, and photography from 1960 to the present, are huge and well lit. You’ll find three floors of viewing pleasure, usually modern art icons.
38-27 30th St., between 38th and 39th aves. tel. 718/937-0727; http://www.flcart.org/. Mon-Sun 10am-5pm; extended Fri until 7:45pm. Subway: N/W to 39th Ave.
Hall of Fame for Great Americans
You’d think a gigantic monument designed by Sanford White with tablets by Tiffany Studios, memorializing American heroes like Mark Twain, Abe Lincoln, and Susan B. Anthony, would be a major draw, but this oddball attraction is sadly overlooked. The distant location, on the Bronx Community College campus, might be part of the problem. If you’re in the area don’t miss out because the open colonnade with its 102 bronze busts and classical architecture is a wonderful surprise.
Hall of Fame Terrace, 181st St. and University Ave., the Bronx. tel. 718/289- 5161; www.bcc.cuny.edu/halloffame. Daily 10am-5pm. Subway: 4 to 183rd St.
John M. Mossman Lock Collection
When you first enter this room you think “well, it’s just a bunch of old locks.” Inevitably, though, as you learn more about the evolution of keys and vaults you get drawn in. The exhibit includes 4,000-year-old Egyptian devices, Renaissance locks with elaborate tracery, and spectacularly crafted 19th-century time locks. Sign in with the guard on the ground floor and you’ll be taken to the exhibit, on a second-floor balcony overlooking the landmark General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen library.
20 W. 44th St., between Fifth and Sixth aves. tel. 212/921-1767; http://www.generalsociety.org/. Sept-Mar Mon-Thurs 9am-7pm, Fri 9am-5pm; Apr-Aug Mon-Thurs 9am-6pm, Fri 9am-5pm. Closed July. Subway: 7 to 5th Ave.; B/D/F/V to 42nd St.
Museum of American Illustration
Illustrators never seem to get their proper respect as visual artists, constantly upstaged by showoff painters and photographers. The two galleries maintained by the Society of Illustrators strive to remedy that situation. Contest winners and works of society members can be found on the walls, along with classics from the permanent collection (the Society was formed in 1901, so there’s a lot to fall back on). Exhibits change frequently.
28 E. 63rd St., between Park and Lexington aves. tel. 212/838-2560; http://www.societyillustrators.org/. Tues 10am-8pm; Wed-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat noon-4pm. Subway: N/R/W/4/5/6 to 59th St.
Nicholas Roerich Museum
One of New York’s least-known museums showcases the Russian scholar and painter Nicholas Roerich. A genteel Riverside Drive town house holds three floors of galleries, cluttered with Roerich’s paintings. The images favor Russian icons and Himalayan landscapes, and though the bright colors and stylized lines border on the cartoonish, the overall effect is impressive. Objects gathered in Roerich’s Asian explorations are scattered throughout the museum and a subtle spiritual air pervades. The museum’s motto Pax Cultura (Peace Through Culture) gets expressed in a full schedule of free concerts and poetry readings. Music plays Sundays at 5pm; check online for other dates and times.
319 W. 107th St., between Riverside Dr. and Broadway. tel. 212/864-7752; http://www.roerich.org/. Subway: 1/9 to 110th St.
Onassis Cultural Center
Aristotle Onassis,that large Greek shipping tycoon who married Jackie O. was the man behind this Midtown institution, which supports Hellenic art and culture. Rotating exhibits and a long-term display of rare casts of Parthenon marbles can be found here. There’s also a pleasant indoor waterfall to rest for a spell.
The Olympic Tower atrium, 641 Fifth Ave., entrance just east of Fifth on 51st or 52nd sts. tel. 212/486-4448; http://www.onassisusa.org/. Subway: E/V to 53rd St.
The fruits of Pratt Institute’s prestigious arts and design programs can be found in the galleries the school runs. Current student shows are mixed in with alumni and faculty exhibitions, plus other artistic innovators.
144 W. 14th St., between Sixth and Seventh aves. tel. 212/647-7778; http://www.pratt.edu/. Tues-Fri 10:30am-5:30pm; Sat noon-5pm. Subway: 1/2/3/9 and F/V to 14th St.; L to 5th Ave. Schafler Gallery on Pratt’s campus: 200 Willoughby Ave. Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. tel. 718/636-3517. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Subway: G to Clinton-Washington aves.
Though this institution has been supporting and showcasing modern sculpture since 1928, its new home in a former Queens trolley repair shop can make a visitor feel like he’s come to a start-up. Maya Lin’s industrial-chic design is of the moment, but many of the touches are timeless. Ceilings soar 40 feet in the main room, and the basement project spaces are like minimalist catacombs. The rough edges haven’t been disguised, but the overall effect is still refined, a perfect backdrop for the contemporary sculptures and installation art exhibited here. It’s a miniature version of what the Tate Modern in London should have been. 44-19 Purves St., off Jackson Ave., Long Island City, Queens. tel. 718/361-1750; http://www.sculpturecenter.org/. Thurs-Mon 11am-6pm. Some shows have a $5 suggested donation, not enforced. Subway: E/V to 23rd St./Ely. G to Court St. 7 to Court House Sq.
Sony Wonder Technology Lab
Sony sucks in new generations of technology addicts with this four-level super modern demonstration center. Kids can try their hands at robotics, medical imaging, and video game design, among other expensive toys. Free movies round out the stimuli; see p. 54 in chapter 2. Reservations should be made in advance, up to 2 weeks ahead. Call on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 11am and 4pm. Otherwise, you may not get in, or you may get in at a less convenient hour later in the day.
550 Madison Ave., at 56th St. tel. 212/833-8100, or 212/833-5414 for reservations; http://www.sonywondertechlab.com/. Tues-Wed and Fri-Sun 10am-6pm; Thurs 10am-8pm; last entrance 30 min. before closing. Subway: E/N/R/V/W to Fifth Ave.; 4/5/6 to 59th St.
The landmark 1882 Villard Houses on Madison Avenue have an exclusive look, but the north side is actually open to the public. Enter the central courtyard, designed like an Italian palazzo by McKim, Mead & White, and take the door on your left. The Municipal Art Society and the Architectural League of New York both keep galleries here, with rotating exhibits detailing a love of the city. While you’re here, check out the bookstore’s huge selection of urban planning and architecture tomes.
The Municipal Art Society. tel. 212/935-3960; http://www.mas.org/. Urban Center Books: tel. 212/935-3592; http://www.urbancenterbooks.com/. Architectural League of New York: tel. 212/753-1722; http://www.archleague.org/. Mon-Wed and Fri-Sat 11am-5pm. Subway: 6 to 51st St.
The Museum of Sex Sorry this one is not free.But I thought I would mention it anyway. If you click on the link there is a $5 coupon,in the bottom left hand corner that can be printed out.The regular admission is $14.50.
Museum of Sex 233 Fifth Avenue (@ 27th Street)New York, NY 10016 General Information: (212) 689-6337 From Sugar Hill,take the D train to 34st and then the B train to 23st
Some of this article was shamelessly stolen from NYC Free & Dirt Cheap.Part of the research and writing by Ethan Wolff February 23, 2007.