Last Tuesday, June 11th, New York museums opened their doors free of charge to the public from 6 to 9pm for their yearly festival: Museum Mile. Advertising promised a grand block party and a great opportunity to see the world-renowned New York museums for free. Unsure as to whether this was in fact an event we should recommend tosavvy new Yorkers, we at INY decided to check it out for ourselves.
Arriving fashionably late as always, we decided to start with the Guggenheim. As we walked from 110th to 82nd, the streets were busy but far from crowded. “Block party” may not have been the best termfor describing the somewhat dispersed crowd of people, most of whom were rushing from one museum to another, but families seemed to be enjoying the event. Arts and crafts stations and clowns were spread out every few blocks as children sat coloring the sidewalks and streets with chalk; adults enjoyed the food trucks and a few musicians at the same time.
When we reached the Guggenheim we sighed at the line wrapped around the block, anticipating an hour-long wait. However, we were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the line moved and we were inside the museum in less than 20 minutes. A few of the floors were closed to the visitors and it was, of course, more crowded than usual, but it was reasonably easy to navigate the crowd and appreciate the exhibits. There were even a couple of empty benches for those who, like me, wore the wrong shoes.
If you aren’t familiar with the Guggenheim, it has a wide variety of modern art that includes the works of Picasso, Gauguin, Miro, Mondrian, and many of their contemporaries including my personal favorite: Kandinsky. However, the paintings are only part of the museum’s appeal, since its architecture is in itself a work of art. It has one of the more expensive admissions, including an 18-dollar fee even for students, making it a particularly sought out destination during the festival.
Even with some of the floors being closed off it still took over hour and a half to “quickly” explore the Guggenheim. Certainly time well spent, but that meant we never made it to the rest of museum mile. With only a three-hour window of time, this is definitely not an event for tourists looking to make it through multiple New York museums. But if there is somewhere you’ve been itching to go, it is a great excuse to head to Museum Mile for a pleasant evening.
By Ana Lobos, Managing Editor