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Aerial view of the Upper West Side with the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation in the center (Iwan Baan) Aerial view of the Upper West Side with the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation in the center (Iwan Baan)
The Museum Mile section of Fifth Avenue is often – and rightly – considered one of New York’s cultural capitals, but the museums and performance spaces on the opposite side of Central Park are not to be overlooked. Not only do they draw visitors from all over the city and indeed the world, but they make their section of the Upper West Side appealing to families and vibrant for all residents. We look at the most exciting cultural venues from Columbus Circle to 96th Street along with listings well situated near them.

200 Central Park West
Opens May 4, 2023

When the Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation opens to the public next week, it will fulfill the American Museum of Natural History's longtime ambition of connecting 10 buildings on the Upper West Side campus for a more seamless experience. The project was announced in 2014 and approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission ("Landmarks") in 2016. Museum president Sean Decatur hails the Gilder Center as part of "a new era of exploring the wonders of nature at the Museum."

↓ The design by Studio Gang was inspired by canyons and caves, and clad in the same stone used on the Central Park West entrance.

Gilder Center AMNH Gilder Center at dusk (Iwan Baan)

↓ Visitors arrive to the Kenneth C. Griffin Exploration Atrium, which is illuminated from large-scale skylights.

Gilder Center NYC Atrium detail (Iwan Baan)
American Museum of Natural History Fourth-floor bridge and skylights (Iwan Baan)

↓ One of the Gilder Center’s most eye-catching links is to the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, which is connected through the Yurman Family Crystalline Pass.

AMNH Yurman Family Crystalline Pass (Alvaro Keding / American Museum of Natural History)

↓ The Susan and Peter J. Solomon Family Insectarium features 18 species of live insects, digital exhibits, interactive touch screens, and a massive model of a beehive.

AMNH insectarium Susan and Peter J. Family Insectarium (Alvaro Keding / American Museum of Natural History)
AMNH insectarium

↓ The Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium is home to up to 1,000 butterflies of nearly 80 species, as well as a digital microscope and a pupae incubator.

AMNH butterflies Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium (Alvaro Keding / American Museum of Natural History)
American Museum of Natural History

Invisible Worlds presents an immersive 360-degree art experience to show how all life on Earth is interconnected.

NYC immersive art Invisible Worlds (Iwan Baan)
Invisible Worlds AMNH

↓ The Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Collections Core includes three floors of floor-to-ceiling samples of the museum’s specimens, only a small fraction of which are on display year-round.

Collections Core AMNH Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Collections Core (Iwan Baan)

↓ The David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Research Library houses one of the largest natural history libraries in the world, as well as an elegant new reading room.

AMNH research library David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Research Library (Alvaro Keding / American Museum of Natural History)

170 Central Park West
See hours and tickets here

New York Historical Society Rendering of New York Historical Society expansion (Robert A.M. Stern Architects for Landmarks Preservation Commission)
In the 1930s, the New York Historical Society purchased a parcel of land for the express purpose of building an annex. Nearly 100 years later, the building has been designated a “triple landmark” (individual landmark located in not one but two New York Historic Districts) and Landmarks has unanimously approved the Robert A.M. Stern Architects-designed expansion. The quarry that provided stone for the original building is still open and able to provide materials for the addition, which will house new gallery and classroom space, new mezzanine office space, expanded on-site conservation space, and an outdoor sculpture garden. The top-floor gallery space will host the LGBTQ+ Museum, the first of its kind in the United States. The expansion’s groundbreaking took place in September 2021, and completion is estimated for 2026.

212 West 83rd Street
See hours and tickets here

Children's Museum of Manhattan Future home of Children's Museum of Manhattan (FXCollaborative for Landmarks Preservation Commission)
Over the years, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has become so popular with families all over New York that its current location is “at capacity.” To that end, the museum purchased 361 Central Park West, which was originally built as the New York City branch of the First Church of Christian Scientist in 1903, for $45 million at the end of 2017. Since then, they have been working with FXCollaborative to preserve the historic exteriors while transforming the interiors into a state-of-the-art facility with exhibition space, a workshop/performance space, an attic walk, and an outdoor terrace with Central Park views. When Landmarks unanimously approved the renovations, it was described as “an outstanding adaptive reuse project.” An opening date for the new location is not yet available.

10 Lincoln Center Plaza
See calendar and tickets here

David Geffen Hall Lincoln Center David Geffen Hall (Lincoln Center)
Seemingly from the day the New York Philharmonic’s concert hall opened in 1962, music lovers were displeased with its acoustics and lackluster atmosphere. As such, when the renovation by Diamond Schmitt Architects and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects was announced in December 2019, it was also announced that a master acoustician would be part of the process. The walls were resurfaced to improve resonance; the upper tier was rebuilt to direct seats towards the stage; the lobby was doubled in size to create new public space; and in response to the pandemic, upgraded HVAC and air filtration systems were installed.

Completion was originally estimated for 2024, so as to time construction around the Philharmonic’s seasons, but the pandemic-induced lockdown allowed work to proceed continuously and the hall to open in October 2022, two years sooner than predicted. The musicians are happier with the improved acoustics, audiences have been excited to return, and celebrity conductor Gustavo Dudamel is set to join the philharmonic as music and artistic director in 2026.
David Geffen Hall Philharmonic

Lincoln Center NYC Lincoln Center (CityRealty)
David Geffen Hall (see above) is part of the celebrated Lincoln Center performing arts complex, which includes the iconic Metropolitan Opera House and the recently renovated David H. Koch Theater, former home of the Metropolitan Opera and current home of New York City Ballet. At the center of it all is Josie Robertson Plaza, home of the famous fountain and the site of events like group concerts, Live in HD Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and silent discos, to name but a few.

American Folk Art Museum American Folk Art Museum entrance (Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA - American Folk Art Museum, CC BY 2.0,
The American Folk Art Museum got its start near the Museum of Modern Art, but a space across from Lincoln Center that once served as a separate branch is now the main home of New York’s only museum dedicated to folk and self-taught artists. Their collection spans the turn of the 18th century to the 21st and features about 8,000 works of art that include paintings, photographs, wood and stone carvings, and textiles.

2 Columbus Circle
See hours and tickets here

Museum of Arts and Design NYC Museum of Arts and Design, 2021 (ajay_suresh - Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) - NYC, CC BY 2.0,
The Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue flagship reopens today, but the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Gallery is a mainstay at the Museum of Arts and Design, located across from Columbus Circle and a stone’s throw from the supertalls of Billionaires’ Row. In addition to the galleries of contemporary art, the museum houses open studios for visitors to observe the creative process, a number of art workshops, a 144-seat auditorium for lectures and performances, and Robert, a modern American restaurant overlooking Central Park.

Symphony Space NYC Symphony Space marquee (NewYorkDolls as part of the Commons:Wikipedia Takes Manhattan project on April 4, 2008.This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.You are free:to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the workto remix – to adapt the workUnder the following conditions:attribution – You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.share alike – If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same or compatible license as the original. - Contributed by author., CC BY-SA 3.0,
For almost 100 years, the Symphony Theatre has been a mainstay of the Upper West Side; the Thalia, the movie theater in the basement, has attracted generations of movie buffs and been immortalized in Best Picture-winner Annie Hall. In 2000, in what would later become a familiar story for the area, Symphony Space sold its air rights to Related Companies (which used them to build luxury rental The Lyric) and used the proceeds to spruce up their space. It still hosts the occasional movie screening, but has emerged as a popular venue for literary events and book launches in recent years.

The Ardsley, #1P (The Agency Brokerage)

111 West 70th Street, #5F (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

Element, #11E (Keller Williams NYC)

202 West 78th Street, #3W (Compass)

The Colonial Studios, #101 (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

3 Lincoln Center, #18D (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

40 West 67th Street, #5AB (Corcoran Group)

The Dorilton, #4DE (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

360 Central Park West, #10A (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

Westbury House, #PH3 (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

239 Central Park West, #8B (Corcoran Group)
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Content Specialist Michelle Mazzarella Michelle is a contributing writer and editor for real estate news in New York City