When NYC museums were forced to close their doors in March due to COVID-19, art-loving New Yorkers had to endure an already difficult period without all of the creativity and inspiration that comes from wandering the halls of our city’s unparalleled cultural institutions. Thankfully, though, museums in NYC were able to reopen in the late summer, and have remained so since then.
And with winter already here, a museum visit is the perfect way to get out of the house to a heated destination where we can keep six feet apart-while immersed in paintings, sculptures, and cool art experiences-to help get us through the season. When going, expect attendance limited to 25% capacity, staggered and timed entry with ticketing booked in advance, and standard safety protocols including the requirement of facial coverings and social distancing. So grab your mask and hand sanitizer and check out these ten cool exhibitions instead.
Upper West Side Exhibition:The Nature of Color Visit the permanent exhibits of this 150-year-old museum and NYC institution, with breathtaking dioramas of African elephants or halls filled with meteorites and 94-feet-long blue whales. And be sure to check out a special exhibition called The Nature of Color. In it, you’ll learn of some of the astounding ways color exists in both nature and in the human world, how color affects our behavior, and where color exactly comes from (hint: it’s all about light!). How to visit: Purchase tickets for timed entry via website.
Chelsea Market Exhibition: Celestial This digital art space located inside Chelsea Market first debuted in March, but was forced to shut down 10 days later due COVID-19. Since reopening in September, ARTECHOUSE NYC has been hosting immersive light experiences that transport visitors to a magical place where forgetting about the pandemic (even while wearing a face covering) comes easily. In celebration of Pantone’s color of 2020, Classic Blue, ARTECHOUSE NYC’s current installation Celestial, is a trippy and fun light show that celebrates all things blue and takes you on a 40-minute journey full of masterful graphics resulting in plenty of “whoas.” How to visit: Purchase tickets for timed entry via website.
Prospect Heights Exhibition: John Edmonds: A Sidelong Glance The original design of the Brooklyn Museum might date back to 1893, but it’s had plenty of additions and renovations since then, including the iconic glass roof that now greets museumgoers at its entrance. While there, head straight to John Edmonds: A Sidelong Glance, a museum solo exhibition that’s a first for the artist and a part of the prize package for winning the inaugural UOVO Prize for emerging Brooklyn artists. In it, Edmonds’s photography explores subjects such as queerness, African art, and Black identity. How to visit: Purchase tickets for timed entry via website.
Concourse Exhibition:José Parlá: It’s Yours Located blocks away from Yankee Stadium, The Bronx Museum of the Arts has been open since 1971 and museumgoers can visit free of charge. Running until January 10, José Parlá: It’s Yours, is the first solo museum exhibition for the world renown artist, featuring paintings in Parlá’s hallmark abstract style that were inspired by his time of living in the Bronx, in addition to issues related to gentrification and systemic racism within the borough as well. How to visit: Reserve tickets for timed entry via website.
East Harlem Exhibit:The Taller Boricua: A Political Print Shop in New York El Museo was founded in 1969 and is America’s first cultural institution dedicated to Latino and Latin-American arts. Exhibiting over 8,000 objects spanning more than 800 years of art and culture, the museum is located in Spanish Harlem, a neighborhood that’s home to a large Puerto Rican population. To celebrate El Museo’s 50th anniversary, the exhibition, The Taller Boricua: A Political Print Shop in New York, showcases Taller Boricua, a local “alternative space” and printmaking studio that produced and distributed hundreds of prints from artists in the 1970s. How to visit: Purchase tickets for timed entry via website.
Upper East Side Exhibition:Making The Met, 1870-2020 Considered to be one of NYC’s most significant museums, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka The Met) holds some impressive statistics: over seven million visitors annually; two million square feet of space to peruse; 5,000 years of culture housed under its roof, and 150 years in operation. To celebrate the museum’s sesquicentennial this year, make a visit to their special exhibition Making The Met, 1870-2020. Originally set to debut in March but pushed back because of the pandemic, the exhibit features over 250 works of art that give an evolution of The Met’s collections, buildings, and overall history. See The Met as a work of art itself for once and learn how it became the landmark it is today. How to visit: Purchase tickets for timed entry via website.
Long Island City Exhibition: This Longing Vessel: Studio Museum Housed in a former public school, the MoMA’s Queens location is an arts center focusing on contemporary works across all mediums, and is one of the borough’s most popular destinations for wandering through museum halls and basking in avant-garde creativity. In collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA PS1 currently has a special exhibition, This Longing Vessel: Studio Museum, showcasing works from creators in the Harlem institution’s artists-in-residence program. From new media to painting, check out the talents of E. Jane, Naudline Pierre, and Elliot Reed. How to visit: Purchase tickets for timed entry via website.
Midtown Exhibition:Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver’s Cinematic Illusion After three years of renovations, the new Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) debuted in October of 2019 with plenty of extra square footage to glimpse classics like Monet’s Water Lilies, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, and Cindy Sherman’s self-portraits. Through February, visitors can also check out Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver’s Cinematic Illusion, a moving-image installation merging film, lights, and sound in a 360-degree experience. Created by Japanese artist Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver and originally premiering in 1969 in a Tokyo nightclub, Cinematic Illusion projects almost 1,500 images for a unique cinematic adventure of its own. How to visit: Purchase tickets for timed entry via website.
Lower East Side Exhibition: Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment Seven rectangular boxes stacked high on the Bowery is home to the New Museum, NYC’s go-to downtown destination since 2007 for cool and contemporary art. Make a visit for Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment, a colorful series of 60 paintings from the over five-decades-long career of American artist, Peter Saul. Running until January 3, Saul is known for his cartoonish, irreverent, and iconoclastic works that can appear cheerful from afar (in thanks to their bright colors and vibrancy), but at a closer glance, messages on matters related to politics, racism, and important global issues are waiting for your interpretation. How to visit: Purchase tickets for timed entry via website.
Meatpacking District Exhibition: Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945 This stylish museum located near the High Line and the Hudson River showcases contemporary American art. One of their current must-visit shows is Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945, an exhibition highlighting the work of Mexican muralists who captured the state of their country after the end of the Mexican Revolution-and who would subsequently also have a great impact on American art and artists as well. Vida Americana is a curation of almost 200 works of art from over 60 Mexican and American artists. How to visit: Purchase tickets for timed entry via website.Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.
Walk around any local neighbourhood throughout the five boroughs, and through empty storefronts, it’s clear that small businesses in NYC have been hit hard since the start of the pandemic.
This year for Small Business Saturday, not only can you show your support by popping in to your favourite shop, but by also making purchases online. Here are just a few brands to spend your money on this holiday season.
This coffee roastery focused on inclusivity and sustainable practices has locations in the East Village, Chelsea, and Fort Greene, in addition to a training center in Long Island City. For the holidays, stay caffeinated with Coffee Project New York‘s special Around the World in 12 Days gift set featuring 12 global beans and tasting notes for each.
This online packaged food brand started by ‘Yemisi Awosan when she was homesick for Nigerian flavours during college offers West African goods made with farm-to-table ingredients. From soups and stews to fufu and sauces, Egunsi Foods also has vegan items.
This cozy coffee shop highlights products from coffee roasters in the Black community. In addition to sandwiches, coffee beans, tea, and more, I Like It Black‘s space also offers a great view of Harlem’s historic 125th Street thoroughfare.
This Harlem institution from Alvin Lee Smalls has been a NYC destination for rugelach since 1965. For sharing during the holidays, at Lee Lee’s Baked Goods, the popular Jewish treat that translates to “little twist” in Yiddish is available in a 12, 24, and 36 set, in addition to a special 26-piece gift tin.
Harlem Make My Cake Bakery is run by several generations of the Smith family with recipes passed down from their matriarch, Josephine Smith aka “Ma Smith.” From cakes and cookies and pies and pastries, order flavours ranging from double chocolate delight cupcakes, coconut pecan cookies, cinnamon rolls, and black & white cake. There’s also an Upper West Side location in addition to the Harlem storefront.
As longtime Harlem residents, the husband-and-wife team behind Sugar Hill Creamery opened their popular shop in 2017 to be a place for the neighbourhood to grab a seat and enjoy artisanal ice cream made from scratch. In addition to offering an array of flavours like the Chairperson of the Board (blueberry cheesecake) and Nunu’s Peach Cobbler (peach with cobbler crumbler), they also regularly host community based programs throughout the year meant to empower the Black experience while facilitating connection and storytelling. In addition to a location in Hamilton Heights and Time Out Market in Dumbo, products are also available for nationwide shipping.
Upper East Side Schaller and Weber is an Upper East Side butcher shop that’s been offering German-style sausages and Northern European speciality foods for more than 80 years. If a single order of pate or charcuterie isn’t going to cut it this year, choose from an array of gift packs like the Christmas Gift Box with an array of items ranging from truffle brat to olive oil crackers.
Virtual Spoken Flames is a candle company founded by Shavaun Christian and each candle is hand-poured and made with a natural coconut wax blend. Choose from selections like Sea Sea Me made with salt, melon, musk, and chamomile, and the LOL featuring notes of mango, lavender, and fresh linen.