What often comes to mind when people think of spring break is a wave of people traveling south to Florida, to enjoy the sun and surf. Some people, however, may head north to enjoy snow capped mountains and busily lie by a fire, and others may sit at home and enjoy a mini staycation with family. I headed up North for a taste of the cultural, culinary and social activities unique to New York’s most populated city, New York City.
During my week-long exploration of New York, I observed what draws so many natives and tourists alike to cities such as Queens, The Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn: museums. A particularly nice feature of many of the museums New York has to offer, much to the delight of thrifty students such as myself, are free or offer pay as you wish.
The first museum I explored was the Museum of Modern Art, also known as the MOMA. Located near Rockefeller center in Manhattan, the MOMA had an extensive collection of works on its whopping six floors and featured works from the 19th century to the present day. The work of prominent artists I took note of at the MOMA were those of Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.
Unfortunately, the sixth floor of the museum was closed for renovations, so I began looking at art on the fifth floor. On this floor were works from the 19th century, and one that stood out to me was Picasso’s, “Woman lying in bed,” as it offered many different perspectives on the construction of the female form. Of this work, Brooklyn College student, Kinsley Walsh, said, “Picasso brings a sort of empowerment to how he draws his female models in a natural state, and brings a sort of freshness to how we perceive women today.”
While continuing to look through the museum, one will also see Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” This piece in particular drew a crowd of about 80 people, and for good reason: it was a breathtaking a sight to behold.
The next museum that others visiting New York can enjoy is the American Folks Art Museum, in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, across from the famous Lincoln Center. This museum offered to bring in many works that included discovered and self-taught artists. When visiting the museum, I came upon an older woman named Valeria Mason.
“This museum may be small, but it has made me appreciate a new perspective on what it means to have American art today,” said Mason. Her favorite piece, Mason went on to explain, captured the difficult story of what young refugee girls at Sunbeam Creek had to do in order to escape their circumstances.
The last museum I visited was the Brooklyn Museum, which features five floors of art from various time periods. When looking through the museum, it featured a whole floor dedicated to the color blue: featuring many different paintings, sculptures, pottery and furniture pieces, were blue or contained the color blue. The diversity of floor themes was interesting; a different floor featured exclusively Asian art, while another was dedicated to feminism, and contained works by female artists.
I felt the star of the museum, however, was the Ancient Egyptian Art floor, which held art from ancient Egypt, and even featured three mummies. Walking through this floor was a fascinating historical experience and allowed me to view, first-hand, ancient Egyptian artifacts such as pottery, writings and the statues.
While traveling up north to visit museums may appear to be a rather unorthodox way to spend one’s spring break, these museums provided the opportunity to view a rich world of art that can only be experienced face-to-face.