South Street Seaport | Rich in History | Maritime Museum

by NYJ Team

Located at the very southern tip of Manhattan, South Street Seaport lets visitors relive New York City’s maritime past with a fascinating museum, restored 19th century buildings, and a varied collection of authentic sailing ships. The popular site also includes a modern tourist mall along the pier, featuring shopping, a variety of restaurants and popular nightspots.

South Street Seaport & Museum

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History of South Street Seaport

During the 19th century, South Street Seaport was a working pier from which the city’s fishermen would depart each morning and where they would return with the day’s catch each afternoon. At the time, most New Yorkers lived in the lower part of Manhattan and a market grew up around the docks. Eventually, it included a produce and grain market as well as many general merchants. By the end of the century, however, cargo ships had grown too large for the docks at South Street and the fishing fleet — and the market — moved up the Hudson River. The area languished for decades.

The South Street Seaport that we see today was the brainchild of New York philanthropists, Peter and Norma Stanford. The initial idea was to save a block of 19th century Federalist-style warehouses, known as the “Schermerhorn Row.” The plan was to create a living museum where residents and visitors could learn about life in 19th century New York. The area began modestly in 1967, then grew slowly. Pier 17 was added in 1983. The area now includes shopping, nightclubs, and an amusement pier with a variety of carnival rides. During the summer months, street entertainers — clowns, jugglers, mimes, and musicians — gather at the Seaport to perform for the crowd.

The Maritime Museum

The twelve-block South Street Seaport Museum is an open-air restored area, featuring cobblestone streets, authentic 19th century warehouses converted into shops, workshops, and restaurants, and costumed guides to tell the story of life at the Seaport. Adjacent to the warehouses are a host of striking sailing ships, permanently moored at the Seaport. In addition to shopping and dining venues, some of the warehouse buildings feature changing exhibits about the sea and the history of lower Manhattan. Admission to the museum is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $6 for children between 2 and 17 years of age. Children under 2 are admitted free.

The Ships

Eight authentic 19th century ships grace the harbor at South Street Seaport. They range from the four-mast 377-foot long ”Peking” to the 112-foot lightship ”Ambrose” to the 52-foot 19th century tugboat, the ”W.O. Decker”. Visitors of all ages will delight in exploring these well-preserved relics of New York City’s seafaring past. South Street Seaport has the largest permanent collection (in tonnage) of historic ships of any site in the world.

Visiting South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport is a short walk from New York City’s financial district and is easily reached via taxi, subway, and bus from other parks of the city. South Street Seaport is open all year. Museum hours change during the season, but the facility is open late at least one day each week. In addition to the Tall ships and the Maritime Museum, visitors can tour the cobblestone streets and restored buildings as well as explore the shops and restaurants along Pier 17. Sightseeing cruises depart from the boardwalk at South Street Seaport for tours of New York Harbor and the East River. You can also enjoy a clear view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Seaport’s boardwalk.

Location: near New York City’s Financial District

Click here to visit South Street Seaport official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.

Skyscraper Museum | Celebrating the Architectural History of NYC

by NYJ Team

The Skyscraper Museum was created to celebrate New York City’s architectural history and to examine the different influences that shaped one of the most impressive skylines in the world. Through a variety of ways, such as exhibitions and publications, the museum analyzes the role of the tall building in our everyday life, as well as objects of art and design.

The museum is a private, not-for-profit educational corporation that was founded in 1996. The main aim of the museum is to study the past, present and future of high rise buildings.

Skyscraper Museum

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History of the Museum

The Skyscraper Museum initially started off as a temporary exhibition that set up home for itself in four different places between the years 1997 and 2003. While its exhibition, “Design Development: Time Square” was being shown in 2001 at 110 Maiden Lane, the museum was forced to close its doors and move due to its proximity to the World Trade Center and the devastation of 9-11. The floor space of the Maiden Lane location was instead used as an emergency center following the tragedy.

In 2004, the museum was finally given a permanent home in Battery Park City, Lower Manhattan, in a building that is shared with others, including the Ritz Carlton Hotel and a 38-story condominium tower. The building’s developers, Millennium Partners, generously donated ownership of the space to the museum. The permanent museum was designed by the award-winning architectural firm, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM).

What’s to See at the Skyscraper Museum?

The very location of the museum – with a panoramic view of New York’s harbor, and the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop – immediately provides it with the atmosphere needed to truly celebrate a museum devoted to high risers and buildings.

Visitors enter the museum up a narrow ramp and find themselves in a well-lit space containing brightly lit vitrines. Because of the relatively small floor space assigned to the museum (around 5,800 square feet), the designer cleverly utilized special effects such as floors and ceilings sheathed in stainless steel to create an optical illusion of larger space.

The Skyscraper Museum includes two main exhibition halls. The first houses the museum’s core exhibit called “Skyscraper/City” which presents the evolution of New York’s commercial skyline. The second exhibition hall is home to a variety of changing shows throughout the museum’s calendar.

Since the museum moved to its permanent home, and has acquired show space, it has been able to start collecting artifacts related to the history of skyscrapers, and preserving them.

Changing Exhibitions and Programs

Since the world of architecture is forever growing and evolving, the Skyscraper Museum seeks to keep visitors abreast with the latest news and developments in the industry. Its exhibitions are always current and the museum will usually run an educational program alongside a popular exhibition to teach the public more about the topic.

An example would the “Burj Dubai” exhibition that provides fascinating information about the construction of what is due to be the tallest building in the world. The exhibition shows all the steps connected to the building of this masterpiece, from the ingenious engineering used, to the basic construction hiccups that come with trying to build a tower of at least 2,300 feet high, in the middle of the desert in temperatures that sometimes reach 120 degrees.

The museum also runs a series of lectures in conjunction with its popular exhibitions. These educational programs are usually free to members of the Skyscraper Museum and open – for a nominal fee – to the general public.

The museum also seeks to educate the public on current issues such as ‘green’ construction. It has run many popular programs in the past, including “Green Towers for New York: From Visionary to Vernacular” which focused on the development of ecologically friendly buildings which provide a high quality of life for its inhabitants, conserve energy and resources and are built with natural light as a top priority.

Family Programs

Despite its image as a very aesthetic and minimalist museum, the fact is that the Skyscraper Museum is very hands-on when it comes to children! The museum regularly runs workshops and activities where children can join in the fun of exploring the world of building and construction. Kids get to discover architecture at workshops run by real architects. Fun activities include constructing their own high rise creations using every day objects and building a giant house with brick blocks. All workshops are held at the museum itself, providing visual inspiration for any budding architects and engineers! Interested families should contact the museum to obtain a list of upcoming events.

The Gift Shop

No visit to the Skyscraper Museum would be complete without a stop off at its gift shop. The store offers a range of impressive books and publications on the world of architecture by noted authors, including the museum’s director, Carole Willis. A 10% discount on prices is available to museum members.

Also available in the store are posters from the museum’s exhibitions, as well as the general ware found in most gift shops such as t-shirts, caps and mugs. The store is open from Wednesday to Saturday, from 12.00 until 6 pm.

Visiting Skyscraper Museum NYC

The Skyscraper Museum is situated at 39 Battery Place, Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday from noon until 6 pm. Guided tours are offered to groups during hours when the museum is not open to the general public. Students and seniors get a discounted price.

The museum itself is in close proximity to many of New York’s main tourist sites, including Ellis Island embarkation points, the Statue of Liberty and Broadway and is easily accessible by public transport.

The Skyscraper Museum is probably the only one of its kind in the world and therefore generates a lot of interest from people connected to the building industry, as well as the general public. The museum was created to celebrate the exciting world of high rise building and also with the idea of providing visitors with a unique experience, such as the feeling of standing forty stories in the air over a busy New York street. This is a definite must-see site when visiting New York!

Location: at 39 Battery Place, New York City, New York
Phone: 212-968-1961

Click here to visit Skyscraper Museum official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.

Museum of the City of New York: A Century Preserving the City’s Rich History

by NYJ Team

Since it was first named in 1664, New York City has captured the imagination of the world. It is one of the most vibrant, cultured and fascinating cities on Earth and a great way to get to know it a little better is to spend an afternoon at the Museum of the City of New York.

This museum was founded in the early 1920s to document and preserve the history of its surroundings, and today, it offers a rich and thorough glimpse through the centuries of life in the Big Apple.

Museum of the City of New York

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Museum History
Founded in 1923, the goal of the Museum of the City of New York was to preserve the history of the great city. It began collecting and preserving many of the cornerstones of New York life, such as paintings, furniture, decorative arts and theater artifacts.

Originally, the collection was located in Gracie Mansion, which is now the official residence of New York’s mayor. In 1932, it moved into its current home on Fifth Avenue.

While there are many works of art in this museum, it is not an art museum. Its goal was to be a window on the past, and that is an excellent description of what it is today. There are nearly three-quarters of a million objects in the museum, each one helping to tell the story of New York.

Museum Collection
Among the most interesting artifacts in the museum are some of playwright Eugene O’Neill’s original manuscripts, hundreds of glass negatives from the works of noted photojournalist Jacob Riis and a suit worn by a New Yorker to George Washington’s Inaugural Ball.

Some of the museum’s permanent collections include interior designs from William Baumgarten & Co., who designed the Vanderbilt Mansion on Fifth Avenue, as well as some of the stunning rooms at the historic Plaza Hotel. They also include many of the stunning photographs of Mel Rosenthal and Edmund V. Gillon who both documented life in the teeming city, taking picture of everything from crumbling inner city neighborhoods to the beauty of New York’s architecture.

Special Exhibits
Aside from the permanent collection, the Museum of the City of New York also has special exhibitions all year long. These exhibitions cover many remarkable chapters in the New York story, focusing at times on a neighborhood such as Coney Island or Greenwich Village, or on a particular part of life, such as jewelry, graffiti, clothing or children’s toys.

The exhibitions change throughout the year, so be sure to check the museum’s website for information about current or upcoming shows.

Admission to all of the special exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York is included in the general admission.

Visiting the Museum
This museum is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street right across the street from Central Park and the Conservatory Garden. It is easily accessible on New York’s public transit system.

There are discounts on general admission for seniors and for students, and children 12 and under are free. There is also a special price for families. The museum has a gift shop and a café and it is open seven days a week.

For visitors who want to make the most of their visit, there are free tours of the museum three afternoons a week, led by a museum docent. No reservations are required. There are also paid group tours available, led by museum curators and specialists. There are even behind-the-scene and after-hour tours which can be arranged through the museum’s information desk. These paid tours are for groups of up to ten people, and must be reserved in advance.