The Kent Blog

Museums of the Upper East Side


The historic, leafy stretch of Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th streets is home to so many world-class museums that it’s known as New York’s “Museum Mile.” For those who live on the Upper East Side, the cultural jewels that line the eastern edge of Central Park are an incomparable neighborhood resource with something to offer every generation and every taste. An always-changing roster of exhibitions, hands-on programs for people of all ages, guided tours, concerts, and of course, the delightful museum shops, will make eager return visitors of any resident of The Kent condos.
Locals (and fans of Frank Lloyd Wright) will immediately recognize the iconic cylindrical building that houses the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art. Completed in 1959, the building is almost like a work of sculpture in its own right. The main exhibition space curves around the interior edge of the building like a snail shell, allowing visitors to view exhibitions by strolling along the ramp at their own pace, all under the daytime glow of a large, elegant skylight. The Guggenheim is renowned for its collection of works from the first quarter of the 20th century, including paintings by Paul Klee, Amedeo Modigliani, and Fernand Léger. The exhibition Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim, on view through September 6, 2017, celebrates the modern roots of the museum and traces how the Guggenheim family had the foresight to pioneer the field of abstract art in the 20th century by collecting works that many of their peers found baffling. While the museum regularly highlights its own treasures, it also has a robust schedule of exhibitions and site-specific projects by contemporary artists from all over the world. Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s current installation entitled America, a cheeky critique of the international art market, has been drawing rave reviews and scores of visitors. And although it may sound like a destination just for grown-ups, the Guggenheim makes an effort to attract art-lovers of all ages: there are stroller tours once a month and workshops for children aged 2 and up, including Little Guggs for 2-  to 4-year-olds, and Art After School for kids aged 8-11. For more information about programs and exhibitions at the Guggenheim, visit
Not far from the Guggenheim, on East 91st Street, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum occupies a former Upper East Side residence: the exquisite, Georgian-style Andrew Carnegie Mansion. Though its exterior is quintessentially Gilded Age New York, inside, the Cooper Hewitt is a dynamic center for innovation and creativity. After a substantial renovation, it reopened in 2014, and today’s visitors can explore the entire collection on large illuminated digital tables as they navigate the galleries, and design their own fabric pattern in the Process Lab. The collection is rich in historic and beautiful objects, but the Cooper Hewitt wants to make sure visitors of all ages understand that design is something we all take part in. Each visitor gets a digital “pen” that saves objects they find intriguing to a personalized collection in the cloud (accessible through a code on their admissions ticket). A fascinating exhibition called The World of Radio, on view through September 24, 2017, highlights the design and advertising of radio’s golden age in the 1930s and includes vintage technology and furniture alongside examples of their contemporary descendents: digital media players and hand-crank radios for use in emergencies. The Target Family Days for kids aged 5-12 are held several days per month and feature hands-on activities focused on different elements of design, including materials, pattern, scale, and style. For more information about programs and exhibitions at the Cooper Hewitt, visit
For those who really enjoy history and local lore, the Museum of the City of New York on Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street is loaded with fun for residents of The Kent. The Museum’s ongoing exhibition, New York at Its Core, explores the story of the city’s transformation from a small Dutch village to a global capital and highlights the personalities that have shaped it, from Alexander Hamilton and J.P. Morgan to Jane Jacobs and Jay Z. 450 historic objects from the museum’s collection illustrate what daily life was like for New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds across the decades and centuries. Another ongoing installation, the Stettheimer Dollhouse, is small but beloved: the meticulously crafted dollhouse belonging to socialite Carrie Walter Stettheimer (1869-1944) is one of the museum’s most popular artifacts. The 12-room house recreates the grandeur of Gilded Age New York in miniature, and has delighted visitors for generations. Stettheimer, an artist, created many of the furnishings and decorations by hand and even crafted miniature versions of paintings by the likes of Marcel Duchamp and Alexander Archipenko for the interior of the house, making it a quintessential New York interior and rich inspiration for today’s aspiring young dollhouse designers. For more information about programs and exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York, visit


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