Friday, October 13, 2023

New York: 5 Fabulous Flatiron District Museums

By Jacquelin Carnegie
(photo: Courtesy Fotografiska)

Art and history fans take note--there are some wonderful museums to visit in the Flatiron district. This neighborhood was one of New York’s most fashionable areas in the mid-1800s; then, it fell out of favor. Now, new, trendy hotels, restaurants, and shops have revitalized the area. Culture lovers, begin with a visit to some of these places:

Fotografiska New York
281 Park Avenue South (at 22nd St);
Claudia Schiffer
(photo: Ellen von Unwerth)

This fashionable photography museum has its roots in Stockholm, Sweden where it's a hotspot. The New York location continues the tradition by showcasing spectacular imagery from portraiture to landscapes to photojournalism. Founded by the Broman brothers, Jan & Per, who grew up immersed in the art of making images, the museum's focus is on "the communicative power of photography." In addition to the stunning exhibits, Fotografiska has a cafe, a restaurant, a bar, and a host of interesting events. Plus, it's housed in the stunning, beautifully-renovated 1894 Church Missions House

Poster House
119 West 23rd St (btw 6th-7th Ave);; Tel: 917/722-2439 
Marcello Nizzoli, Cordial Campari, 1926
(Courtesy Poster House)
Since the perfection of the lithographic process around 1880, posters have been used to advertise products, to promote businesses and entertainment, to recruit soldiers and plug political parties. During the Belle Epoque in France, the magnificent posters created by the artist Toulouse-Lautrec elevated the status of the poster to fine art. Since then, every country's artists and art styles--Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modernism, etc.--have had an influence on poster design and popularity. Even today, in the digital age, eye-catching posters are still being created to promote all sorts of causes. Poster House is the first U.S. museum exclusively dedicated to exhibiting posters. The aim is to engage and educate by highlighting the poster's intersection of art and commerce and its' ability to communicate, persuade, and amuse. Poster House also has a lovely, little cafe.

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
28 East 20th St.;; Tel: 212/260-1616 (Free; Reserve a guided tour time or take a virtual tour)
T.R. cartoon (Courtesy National Park Service)

President Theodore Roosevelt was born into an affluent New York City family in 1858 during the Victorian era. In this house-museum, five restored period rooms give a glimpse into the family's lifestyle circa 1865 (many original artifacts were donated by the Roosevelts); learn the details on a guided tour. T.R. was one of the most caricatured presidents in U.S. history; many amusing, political cartoons are also on display.

Museum of Sex
233 Fifth Ave (at 27th St);; Tel: 212/689-6337 
(Must be over 18-years old.) 
Superfunland games (photo: Mike Vitelli)

If you're wondering what to expect, the museum presents fascinating--some times titillating--exhibits related to the overall topic of sexuality in society through the ages. Some of the presentations are historical--photos and films—many so risqué they were originally only shown in private. Other exhibits explore important social issues such as prostitution, birth control, homosexuality, obscenity, and fetishism, while SuperFunland is a carnival of fun, erotic games. The gift shop has an array of both cute and useful gadgets; there's also a bar.

National Museum of Mathematics

11 East 26th St;; Tel: 212/542-0566 
Square-Wheeled Tricycle (photo: Courtesy MoMath)
MoMath is great for curious kids and nerdy adults. It's filled with lots of interactive exhibits that use math principles in a fun way. There's also the Composite gallery space featuring fascinating installations that highlight the intersection of mathematics and art. MoMath also offers a series of interesting events for all ages that cover topics such as the history of math, the nature of time, and the mysteries of the universe.

There are so many things to enjoy in the Flatiron district.

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