Sunday, April 9, 2023

4 Great Day Trips from NYC: Splendor in the Grass--Outdoor Sculpture

By Jacquelin Carnegie – (New York, NY)
If you need a break from hectic city life, nothing soothes the soul more than art experienced in a beautiful setting.

Old Pleasant Hill Rd., Mountainville, NY; Tel: 845/534-3115;
(Open: April-November; Admission fee)
 Storm King, Maya Lin’s Wavefield (photo: Jerry L. Thompson)
This open-air museum, about an hour north of the city, features monumental sculptures in a Hudson Valley setting so stunning it will take your breath away. Around 100 spectacular works by acclaimed artists such as Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, and Louise Nevelson along with pieces by contemporary sculptors Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Serra are strategically placed in the fields, hills, and woodlands. Each year, the Center commissions new and exciting work for a special, themed exhibition. Also, be sure to check out Wavefield, an earth and grass installation by celebrated artist Maya Lin.
Storm King, William Lamson’s Solarium, Light and Landscape 
(photo: Jerry L. Thompson)
Spending the Day
Get around the 500-acre Storm King grounds by walking, taking a free tram, or renting a bike. There are few shaded areas, so in summertime bring a big hat and/or a parasol and plenty of sunscreen. There’s an open-air café for sandwiches or pack a lunch to be enjoyed at one of the pretty picnic areas.
Getting There: From New York (Port Authority Bus Terminal), take a Coach USA (Short Line) bus direct to Storm King.

New York Harbor,
(Open: Daily, year-round; Ferry fee)  
Governors Island, Mark di Suvero, courtesy Storm King 
(photo: JCarnegie)
This lovely spot, 5 minutes from Manhattan Island, was called Nut Island by Native Americans when it was “purchased” by the Dutch in 1637; it became part of New York under the English. Then, for about 200 years, what’s now called Governors Island was a base for the US Army and Coast Guard. Most recently, the Island has been transformed into an artsy recreational area open to the pubic. 
Governors Island, Mark di Suvero, courtesy Storm King 
(photo: Jerry L. Thompson)
Spending the Day
Get around Governors Island by walking, bringing a bike, or renting one or a fun Surrey. There's a variety of food vendors, but your best-bet is to pack a lunch and head to Picnic Point with great views of the Statue of Liberty. Some new, fancy options include a Spa with pool & overnight stays via Glamping.
Getting There: Access Governors Island by a quick ferry ride from Manhattan (Battery Maritime Building, next to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal) or Brooklyn (Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park or Red Hook & NYC Ferry stops).

Rt. 9, Sleepy Hollow, NY; Tel: 914/631-8200;
(Open: May – November; Admission fee)
Kykuit  (photo: Ben Lee)
Kykuit, the Rockefeller family mansion--now an historic site--less than an hour north of the city, is situated on a bluff providing magnificent views of the Hudson River. The Rockefellers championed modern art, so the house is filled with impressive artwork. But make sure to purchase the tour package that includes the gardens because, on the estate grounds, there’s an absolutely amazing collection of modern sculpture by Picasso, Brancusi, Calder, Giacometti, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Nevelson, and David Smith.

Kykuit, Max Bill’s Triangular Surface in Space
(photo: Ben Lee)
Spending the Day
The only way to visit is on a tour, best booked beforehand; wandering around on your own is not permitted. At Phillpsburg Manor, Kykuit’s Vistor Center, there's a café with sandwiches & salads and picnic tables or stop at a restaurant in Tarrytown: Sweet Grass Grill on Main Street or dine right on the water at the Washington Irving Boat Club.
Getting There: From New York (Grand Central Station), take Metro North train Hudson Line to Tarrytown. Then, a taxi from the station to Phillpsburg Manor, Kykuit’s Vistor Center, where all the tours start.

18 Fairgrounds Rd., Hamilton, NJ; Tel: 609/586-0616;
Grounds for Sculpture, Carlos Dorrien’s Nine Muses 
(photo: Ricardo Barros)
(Open: Year-round; Admission fee, Reserve tickets in advance)
In New Jersey, about an hour from New York City, you’ll find one of the most delightful places. In a pretty, 42-acre park surrounding a lake, over 300 sculptures by established and emerging artists are on display. The pieces range from traditional to abstract to whimsical by renowned artists such as Clement Meadmore, Anthony Caro, Beverly Pepper, Kiki Smith, and George Segal.
Grounds for Sculpture, If It Were Time by Seward Johnson
a 3-D version of Monet’s painting Terrace at Sainte-Adresse.
Spending the Day
Stroll leisurely around the Grounds. (In summertime, bring a hat and/or a parasol & plenty of sunscreen.) The Van Gogh Café is a nice spot for salads & sandwiches. Rat’s Restaurant is a more upscale option for lunch or dinner. (They’ll even prepare a picnic basket for you to enjoy by the lake, as outside food is not allowed). 
Getting There: From New York (Penn Station), take NJ Transit train to Hamilton. Then, a 5-minute taxi ride to Grounds For Sculpture.

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