METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART has one of the largest and most extensive and comprehensive collections of art in the world. Allow much of a day to tour its many galleries. Founded in 1880, the museum is located on Manhattan's fashionable Fifth Avenue between East 81st & 85th Streets on the edge of Central Park in an area that was once a foul-smelling squatters camp known as Seneca Village with communities of black, Irish and German inhabitants. This amazingly huge and wonderful museum is New York City's most popular tourist attraction. Over six million visitors visited the Metropolitan Museum during its last fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2012.
The Museum has a roof garden, the Iris and and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, that overlooks Central Park and where contemporary sculptures are displayed. (Shown above are Jeff Koon's Balloon Dog and Coloring Book and Sacred Heart stainless steel works which were exhibited in 2008.)
A stretch of Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side is known as Museum Mile. There are nine cultural institutions that stretch along Fifth Avenue including, the Frick Collection (65th Street), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (82nd to 85th Streets), El Museo del Barrio (at 104th Street and dedicated to Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American art), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (88th Street), the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts (89th Street), the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (91st Street), The Jewish Museum (92nd Street), and the Museum of the City of New York (103rd Street). Some of these museums are former mansions of wealthy New Yorkers. The Vanderbilt family built and lived at what became the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Frick and his family resided on 65th Street & Fifth Avenue where the Frick's art collection is now housed.
On a first trip to New York, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (classical and modern art), the Museum of Modern Art (modern art and photography), the American Museum of Natural History (science) and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (to see how immigrants lived). All are wonderful and not to be missed.
American Museum of Natural History