You know about Manhattan’s famous institutions, like the MoMa and the Met, but the city’s cultural tapestry extends well beyond Museum Mile. Here, we’re spotlighting the city’s smaller, unsung cultural institutions that are worth your time.
Located in Battery Park, the Skyscraper Museum is a hidden gem near the The Freedom Tower. Scale models of Manhattan depict the famous skyline. There’s also a focus on international buildings, with exhibits on the world’s tallest buildings.
General Admission $5; 39 Battery Place
A contrast to the high-art performances at BAM and lively landscapes at Prospect Park, both nearby, this downtown Brooklyn museum is all about death. Recent programs cover the dark arts in the early 20th century and post-mortem paintings in the 18th and 19th centuries.
General Admission $8; 424 3rd Ave., Brooklyn
A brand-new addition to the restaurant-dense neighborhood of Williamsburg, the Museum of Food and Drink is a comprehensive celebration of food. The inaugural exhibition, “Flavor: Making It and Faking It,” is a depicts the history of artificial flavoring through scientific insights on the evolution of vanilla and MSG and “smell machines.” The museum began an interactive events series in November with a “touch-inspired” dinner from star Moroccan chef Mourad Lahlou.
General Admission $10; 62 Bayard St, Brooklyn
The Museum at Eldridge Street is located in a National Historic Landmark synagogue on the Lower East Side, which has some beautiful new additions like an ocean-blue stained glass window. It’s great for families: Events include a themed scavenger hunts on the second Sunday of the month, showings of Fiddler on the Roof, and walking tours of the Lower East Side.
General Admission $12; 12 Eldridge St.
Designed by mid-twentieth century sculptor and experimental artist Isamu Noguchi, this museum is an open air sculpture garden with an indoor art gallery. The space is as eclectic as its creator’s portfolio, which gardens, furniture, set designs, lighting designs and ceramics. Visitors stroll on walkways through pebbled yards with vine-covered walls and stone statues.
General Admission $10; 9-01 33rd Rd, Queens, NY
*Cover image, akari light sculptures at Noguchi Musuem via Flickr