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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


For many New Yorkers, one of the best parts of living in the city is access to a rich artistic and cultural scene practically right outside the front door. And as pleasurable as it can be to attend a performance or visit a museum, the benefits go beyond simple pleasure. According to Create NYC, a comprehensive cultural plan created in 2017, the city's cultural sector - which includes museums and theaters - attracted nearly 30 million visitors in 2015; the same analysis found that international tourists spent $1,786 on culture. More recently, a report from Comptroller Scott Stringer found that New York City's arts and cultural industry generates $110 billion, or 13 percent of the city's total economic activity.

"New York City is the artistic and creative epicenter of the country and, in many respects, the world" - The Creative Economy report

When the report came out last October, it stressed that more can and should be done to make New York more secure and affordable for creative workers. More recently, the city's theaters, museums, and performing arts spaces have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. New York's largest cultural institutions have called on the federal government to create a stimulus package for the arts, and a virtual roundtable on the state of the arts is scheduled for Wednesday, October 21.
In the meantime, even a global pandemic cannot wipe out New York's vibrant cultural scene. Museums posted their collections online at the height of the pandemic, and later introduced outdoor exhibitions as the city started to reopen. Museums and other cultural institutions got the green light to reopen with new protocols in place in stage four of the city's carefully phased reopening plan. However, even now, some of the city's most buzzworthy works of art can be found outdoors. We take a look at reopened museums, expansions and renovations in the works, and new public artworks to be experienced outdoors.

Now Open with Timed Entry
Metropolitan-Museum-of-Art-01 Rendering by wHY, courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is among the world’s largest and most famous museums, and the Fifth Avenue building housing the treasures is a work of art in and of itself. It is also set to renovate the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, which contains 40,000 square feet of galleries dedicated to Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; from there, it will embark on the expansion of the modern and contemporary wing.

American-Museum-of-Natural-History-01 Rendering via Studio Gang
In June 2019, the American Museum of Natural History broke ground on the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. The project designed by McArthur fellow Jeanne Gang will be anchored by the Central Exhibition Hall and link 10 museum buildings for better circulation. It will also add new galleries, new classrooms, a new theater, and an expanded library.

Children's-Museum-01 Rendering via FXCollaborative for Landmarks Preservation Commission
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is such a popular destination for families all over New York that it is on the verge of outgrowing its Upper West Side space. To that end, the museum purchased a church at 361 Central Park West and worked closely with FXCollaborative to create a state-of-the-art museum with a historic exterior. The project won unanimous Landmarks approval in June 2020.

International-Center-of-Photography-01 Rendering of the International Center of Photography via Moso Studio
The International Center of Photography is the world's leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture, and home to everything from early daguerreotypes to multimedia installations. The museum and school reunited in Essex Crossing, where residents of 242 Broome Street receive a complimentary membership to the museum. The museum had only been open in its new home for six weeks when it was forced to close due to the pandemic, but cultivated a vibrant online community that allowed people to see galleries, take classes, watch lectures and events, and even submit their own photography.

Shortly after demolition permits were filed for a six-story building at 231 Bowery, the neighboring New Museum revealed renderings of its replacement, to be designed by Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu of OMA and to double the exhibition space at the SANAA-designed museum. The more transparent new building will add more than 10,000 square feet of gallery space, connect with existing galleries, and connect the lobbies of the two buildings in one large space with an expanded bookstore and 80-seat restaurant.

Statue-of-Liberty-Museum-01 Statue of Liberty Museum via Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation
Ever since the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886, it has served as a beacon of hope and inspiration to immigrants making their way to America. Over 100 years later, the Statue of Liberty Museum opened in 2019 as the home of American heirlooms and interactive exhibits alike. Separate tickets to the museum are not necessary, but the ferries to Ellis Island are operating at limited capacity, and masks are required.

Coming Soon

Completion estimated for 2023
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Frick-Collection-01 Rendering via Beyer Blinder Belle for Landmarks Preservation Commission
When New York’s museums reopened at the end of the summer, the Frick Collection was noticeably absent. This is because the 1914 French Louis XVI-style mansion housing the works of art is undergoing a renovation and expansion with Landmarks’ blessing to accommodate an art collection that has more than doubled since the museum opened its doors in 1935. Starting in early 2021, though, it will take a temporary home, the Frick Madison, in the former space of the Met Breuer. The museum’s director has said this will allow for a new perspective on the art as the expansion begins in earnest.

Completion estimated for 2022
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Studio-Museum-01 Rendering via Adjaye Associates
The Studio Museum of Harlem is devoted to the work of artists of African descent, and would quickly outgrow its first two homes. The previous structure was demolished in February 2020, and work on the first phase of a new design by Sir David Adjaye is underway. The new space will bring more than 17,000 square feet of gallery and exhibition space as well as three studios for artists-in-residence, education spaces, a cafe, a glass-fronted lobby, and a free roof area.

Completion estimated for 2022
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155-Mulberry-Street-01 Rendering via Morris Adjmi Architects
On the corner of Grand and Mulberry Streets, foundation work is underway on 155 Mulberry Street, a seven-story building with large windows, a red brick facade, and a context-sensitive design by Morris Adjmi Architects. The Italian-American Museum sold its site to the developers of a new condominium for $14.8 million at the beginning of 2017; as part of the deal, it will move into a larger space in the new building rent-free in perpetuity. The museum will have a separate Mulberry Street entrance that leads to a central atrium with a 20' ceiling. The four levels will include permanent and temporary exhibitions (including artifacts from Banca Stabile, a former tenant on the site), a 50-seat auditorium, and a gift shop.

Completion estimated for 2023
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Universal-Hip-Hop-Museum-01 Aerial rendering
The Universal Hip Hop Museum is a key component of the Bronx Point development taking shape on the Harlem River waterfront. It will occupy 50,000 square feet and feature hip hop artifacts, a recording studio experience, a DJ booth, a graffiti station, and a virtual reality theater. The museum is aiming for a 2023 opening to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the birth of the hip hop movement. In the meantime, the museum is hosting the [R]Evolution of Hip Hop, an interactive installation at the Bronx Terminal Market. Information and tickets may be found here.

Completion of new building estimated for 2021
Current home at 460 Park Avenue now open

A few blocks east of Korea Way, the new home of the Korean Culture Center is on the rise. The design by the Seoul-based Samoo Architects and Engineers is the winner of a 2010 competition, and will feature a transparent facade with illuminated sculptural figures. The project is striving for LEED certification and will feature a 200-seat theater below-grade, an exhibition space on the second floor, an arts and crafts center on the fourth floor, and classrooms on the fifth floor.

Completion estimated for 2020
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Irish-Arts-Center-01 Rendering via Davis Brody Bond
Since its opening in 1972, Irish Arts Center has bloomed into a mainstay of Irish theater, dance, and music. It has also outgrown the tenement it has operated out of from the start, and arranged to combine the original theater with a new building that has risen on the former site of an auto repair shop at 726 Eleventh Avenue. The new design incorporates the original brick facade and will offer a contemporary new theater, a lobby and cafe, a studio classroom, and four dressing rooms.

Completion TBD
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Hall of Lumineres
After the Atelier des Lumieres took Paris by storm with a digital art museum in a former foundry, founder CultureSpace set its sights on 49-51 Chambers Street, a Beaux-Arts building that was originally the Emigrant Savings Bank, for its New York outpost to be called Hall des Lumieres. The museum leased space on the first level and one level below so as to make the most of the 40' ceilings and ornate detailing as a backdrop for what it calls "video powered canvases."

The extensive audiovisual equipment will be tucked out of sight, and the interiors will be modified to add a ticketing area, restrooms, coat check, and gift shop outside the designated landmarked space. Additionally, the designers plan to install a large curtain that can be closed during the shows and later opened to reveal the grandeur of the space. Landmarks unanimously approved the project in July 2020, and commission chair Sarah Carroll said, "The idea of allowing the public back into this space to experience this designated interior is seen as positive adaptive reuse."

Museum of Islamic Art

Completion date TBD

45-Park-Place-01 Rendering via SOMA Architects
Almost exactly a year ago, a set of renderings was revealed for the Museum of Islamic Art, which is taking shape next door to the luxury condominium at 45 Park Place. These show a tree-lined entrance with reflecting pools and light-flooded exhibition and prayer spaces. The museum was originally conceived as a community center, but it would be an ideal venue for club meetings and other events.

Public Art Installations
85-Jay-Street-01 Photo via Dominick Mull
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Front & York developer CIM Group, along with New Line Structures, donated 350 N95 masks from the development site to Mount Sinai West. Months later, the site is now home to a nearly 500-foot-long mural honoring essential workers, one of the largest such tributes in the United States. Artist Misha Tyutyunik said in a statement, “I wanted to create a piece that honored the workers who have risked their lives in order to keep New York City going, while also paying tribute to one of its most iconic neighborhoods.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg-01 Rendering via Gillie and Marc
Barely a month after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Governor Cuomo announced a commission to oversee the creation of a permanent statue of the Brooklyn-born judge. It could take some time before this statue is ready, but admirers will not have to wait that long: A bronze statues of Justice Ginsburg, originally designed as part of artist duo Gillie and Marc’s “Statues for Equality” installation, will be permanently installed outside the City Point development on March 15, which would have been her 88th birthday.

Women's Rights Pioneers
Women's-Rights-Pioneers-01 Photo via Emily Dombroff
On August 26, the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, Hillary Clinton spoke in Central Park at an unveiling ceremony for Meredith Bergmann’s statue of activists Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The statue on Liberty Walk is the first one of real-life women in Central Park (fictional characters may be found elsewhere). Non-profit Monumental Women was at the helm of the project and said in a statement, “It’s fitting that the first statue of real women in the park depicts women working together to fight for equality and justice, as women will continue to do until the battle is won.”

Medusa with the Head of Perseus
MWTH Project Photograph: Courtesy MWTH Project
When Argentine artist Luciano Garbati created “Medusa with the Head of Perseus” in 2008, the 7’ sculpture was conceived as a reversal of the classic myth. As the years passed, though, many women came to see it as a symbol of catharsis, especially as the Me Too movement gathered strength. Most recently, a bronze replica of the statue was installed across the street from the criminal courthouse in Lower Manhattan where Harvey Weinstein and others were tried for sexual assault.

Mother Cabrini
Mother-Cabrini-01 Photo via Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Flickr
The Columbus Day parade did not take place this year, but the city still paid tribute to a luminary of Italian descent: A statue of Mother Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants and the first American citizen to be canonized by the Catholic Church, was unveiled in Battery Park. In a speech at the ceremony, Governor Cuomo said, “In this complex world, may this statue serve to remind us of the principles that made us great as a country and as a people.”

Hudson-Yards-01 Photo via Taylor Nusblatt
The Vessel is perhaps the best-known of Hudson Yards’ works of art, but New York’s newest neighborhood recently revealed two new and colorful displays as part of the HYxOffTheWall initiative. Graffiti artist Elle Street Art’s mural depicts a collage of women that she describes as “looking to a brighter future.” The artist known as Key Detail lives in the area and created a mural to honor his community. Both installations will be on display at Hudson Yards for the rest of the year.

Newtown Creek
Newtown-Creek-01 Photo via GreenPoint Innovations
In the Hunters Point section of Long Island City, a massive mural depicting a heron, cormorant, and sunset is taking shape on the side of a new school building. The design by Federico Massa stems from a contest that took place during Climate Week 2020 and aimed to highlight global climate issues through art. To that end, the design is going up with environmentally friendly paint and recycled and repurposed materials to be the city's first carbon neutral street artwork.

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