OK, so this was obviously a tough one. We’d could probably list five of these for every 10-block radius in New York. NYC is home to some of the best museums, art galleries, dance companies, musical ensembles and theatrical productions in the world. However to choose? Our list is comprised of five institutions that we think New York would not be the same without—institutions that begin to represent the range of cultural offerings this city has to offer. That said, we’d love to hear your thoughts. What is your can’t-live-without cultural institution? Let us know in the comment section below?
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Oh how do we love thee Lincoln Center, let us count the ways! 1. The Metropolitan Opera, 2. New York Philharmonic 3. New York City Ballet 4. Lincoln Center 5. Jazz at Lincoln Center. Okay, we know it’s kind of a cheat, because so many organizations fold into the one. But that’s one of the things that makes Lincoln Center so special. The city’s finest music, dance and theater and rolled are rolled into one umbrella organization. There is no other institution that represents some of the city’s finest music, dance and theater. The Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera are some of the best music institutions in the world; the Lincoln Center Theater is comprised of three (soon to be four) theaters where visitors can see everything from Broadway musicals to cutting edge new plays and the list goes on. And we haven’t even mentioned that as the home to Juilliard and the School of American Ballet, Lincoln Center is also a hot bed of some of the greatest young talent in the world.
Lincoln Center’s main complex is located at 10 Lincoln Center Plaza.
American Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History won’t just amaze and captivate children. Take your pick of where to start your visit: the most comprehensive collection of human evidence in the world, Maya Angelou narrating the big bang theory, the Hayden Planetarium, The Ethel LeFrak Imax Theater, the exhibits on dinosaurs, meteorites, the ocean and every animal imaginable…..and we could go on. So for fun, education and awe, get thee to the Natural History Museum.
The American Museum of Natural History is located at 79 Street And Central Park West.
New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library is not your average library. In fact, there is not a book in the whole building that guests are allowed to check out. The museum’s comprehensive and diverse collections cover nearly every subject imaginable in more than 1,200 languages and dialects, and include rare collections from ancient Japanese scrolls to original copies of Shakespeare’s first folio to more modern gems. And then there are the fashion shows. The building is right next to Bryant Park and has hosted shows for Jill Stuart and Isaac Mizrahi, among others. And let us not forget that the NYPL is home to one of the most prominent benefits on the New York social calendar. The Library Lions Gala in November is a veritable who’s who of the city’s elite and fabulous.
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library is located at Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
It doesn’t get more iconic New York than the Metropolitan Museum. The Met is one of the biggest art galleries in the world and its vast collection of more than 2 million pieces includes ancient and modern art from nearly every corner of the world in forms ranging from painting to sculpture, to textile and more. The Met also contributes to the New York authenticity of much popular culture. The Sackler Wing features prominently in a famous scene of When Harry Met Sally (“Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash.” More recently, the museum’s front steps were the lunch spot for high school’s coolest on Gossip Girl. Of course, the Met’s Costume Institute Gala in the spring is one of the city’s biggest events.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at 1000 Fifth Avenue.
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Founded in 1861, “BAM” is the oldest center for performing arts in the country. It presents a range of top-notch performances from classical opera, to African dance to avant-garde theater. The institution includes the 2,000-seat Howard Gilman Opera House, the Harvey Lichtenstein Theater and BAM Cinema, which holds special screenings and events in conjunction with the Sundance Film Festival. One of the reasons BAM made our list is its commitment to bringing a number of prominent international productions and companies to New York. One example is BAM’s partnership with the Old Vic Theatre in London as the American home to the Bridge Project, Sam Mendes’ transatlantic classical theater initiative.
BAM is located at 30 Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.