Category Archives: Upper East Side

History of the Neue Galerie

Since its establishment in 2001, the Neue Galerie has cemented its reputation as the preeminent destination for German and Austrian art in New York City. Close friends Serge Sabarsky, who specialized in organizing museum exhibitions, Estee Lauder and chairman Ronald Lauder initially came up with the museum’s concept, although their vision was nearly halted when Sabarsky passed away in 1996. Grief-stricken, yet undeterred from his goal, Lauder brought the museum to fruition just five years after Sabarsky’s death as a tribute to his friend.

The museum found its home on November 16, 2001 on the Upper East Side’s inimitable Museum Mile, occupying a highly-visible (and coveted) Beaux-Arts building, similar to the Marquand.

The Neue Galerie makes the most of its elegant, yet comparatively small space by meticulously dividing its collection among the building’s three floors. The museum’s second floor serves as a display space for both pieces of Viennese décor from the Wiener Werkstratte and early 20th century Austrian fine art, including paintings by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. This floor houses Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, purchased by Lauder in 2006 for a rumored $135 million, the highest sale price ever for a painting at that time.

The floor above showcases German art from the same time period, including works by Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Otto Dix, among others. In addition to the museum’s extensive collection, the Neue Galerie makes use of its impeccable reputation to secure exhibitions from around the world, including shows featuring paintings by Van Gogh, modern art during the Second World War, and early 20th century Viennese fashion.

Upper East Side: Boutique Art Galleries

Upper East Side: Boutique Art Galleries

The Upper East Side is world renowned for its museums. But true art connoisseurs also venture beyond the hallowed halls of the Met to the neighborhood’s dizzying array of galleries, among the most celebrated internationally.

Within these intimate spaces, art lovers can appreciate works by emerging, contemporary and late-great artists. And, unlike the Whitney or the Frick, galleries thrive on commerce, according well-heeled investors the opportunity to not merely appreciate art, but to own it.

Here’s a selection of some of the finest Upper East Side boutique galleries, all within easy walking distance of The Marquand.

Gagosian Gallery
Establishing itself in Los Angeles during the late 1970s, the Gagosian has since spread its wings, with galleries in London, Athens, Paris and Hong Kong. There are also three in Manhattan, enabling dwellers of luxury condominiums in New York City to experience the Gagosian without having to travel far and wide.

Yet despite the Gagosian’s widespread achievements, its galleries retain a boutique feel. Whereas some Gagosian galleries center on more established names, the Madison Avenue venue places more of an emphasis on up-and-coming artists, showcasing the next generation of contemporary masters.

Michael Werner Gallery
Formed as an extension of the German Galerie Michael Werner in Berlin, the Michael Werner Gallery in New York is based in the erstwhile property of the legendary Leo Castelli. Modern and contemporary European and American art is the gallery’s main focal point. The next exhibition is Players Ball, a compilation of works by Markus Lüpertz as chosen by Peter Doig (another artist who features heavily in Michael Werner’s showcases).

Jane Kahan Gallery
Picasso, Chagall, Miro, Leger and Calder are areas of expertise for the Jane Kahan Gallery. Since 1973 this boutique setup has been aiding private investors, museums and architects with building up their own collections of modern art. Paintings and sculpture are on exhibition, and Jane Kahan also deals in 20thcentury fine art tapestries and rare Picasso ceramics. The Jane Kahan Gallery conveniently affords art lovers who live close by, such as those who reside at The Marquand, an opportunity to see well-known artists in their lesser-known mediums.

Leo Castelli Gallery
The name Leo Castelli is synonymous with contemporary art. Among Castelli’s roster of artists were Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly. Castelli’s first gallery was where Michael Werner Gallery now calls home, but since 1999, the Leo Castelli Gallery has been on the Upper East Side. Directed by Castelli’s wife Barbara, the gallery’s main thrust is post-war American art. Emerging artists rub shoulders with Robert Morris and Frank Stella.

Acquavella Galleries
The beautiful Acquevella Galleries was founded by Nicholas Acquavella in 1921, and has remained in the family ever since. Beginning with its specialism in Italian Renaissance works, the gallery later branched out to embrace 19th and 20thcentury art, under the direction of Nicholas’ son, William. Since then, another generation of the family has welcomed the likes of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. The upshot is an all-encompassing gallery where you can see anything from Cézanne and Monet to Klee and Warhol. Though on the bigger side of boutiques, Acquavella’s family background lends it the necessary personal touch. This gallery is great for eclectic art lovers looking to spend sometime outside of their luxury NYC apartments.

Mitchell-Innes & Nash
There are two Mitchell-Innes & Nash galleries in NYC, one on 534 West 26th Street and the other on 1018 Madison Avenue. The latter has a history of curating an engrossing mix of mediums; lately it has showcased small bronzes by Anthony Caro, contemporary photography by Jay Defeo and Martha Rosler, and paintings by Nicolas de Staël.

Central Park Zoo

While New York can be renowned for its wild life, it is less so for its wildlife.

Yet Central Park is world-famous for offering denizens a lush respite from their luxury Upper East Side apartments. And at 840 acres, its sheer size and scope means that Central Park has a little something for everyone to enjoy, with abundant flora and fauna.

But nowhere is the latter more apparent than the Central Park Zoo. Here are ten facts about the Zoo–one of the world’s best:

1. The Zoo started life in the 1860s as a menagerie—zoos’ less educational and less humane predecessors. This was merely typical of a time when exotic animals were a commodity. In 1934, the Zoo was expanded to more comfortably house the animals.

2. Today’s modern Central Park Zoo has a focus on conservation, and actively works to protect endangered species. In keeping with this, there are breeding programs in place for a variety of rare creatures, including red pandas (of which there are only 10,000 left in the wild) and Tamarin monkeys, distinctive for their facial hair, which resembles large white moustaches.

3. Famous New Yorker Paul Simon has been very vocal about his affection for Central Park Zoo throughout his career. His duo, Simon & Garfunkel, released a song about the zoo in 1967, titled “At The Zoo” and Simon went on to release a picture book for children in 1991 based on the song.

4. Today, the Central Park Zoo is a 6.5-acre site, with 130 species in three clear exhibit sections that are separated by the weather conditions most suited to the animals housed within them: tropic, temperate and polar.

5. The sea lion pool was one of the first main attractions in the Zoo and, from 1934, acted as the central point within a quadrangle of other zoo buildings. It was famous because its architect, Charles Schmieder, designed it with the natural habits of the sea lions in mind—something unusual at the time. Today, the thrice-daily feedings are a major tourist attraction.

6. The petting zoo area was first established in 1961, as part of the Children’s Zoo. It was renovated again in 1997, thanks to a grant from Laurence A. Tisch who donated $4.5 million to the project. Today, at the Tisch Children’s Zoo, little ones can feed goats, sheep, alpacas, pigs and many more cute furry friends.

7. Central Park Zoo was officially founded in 1864 and was the first publicly owned zoo in New York City, and only the second in the entire country — after the Philadelphia Zoo, which was established five years prior.

8. The Central Park Zoo has had a rash of recent publicity after being a major feature of Dreamworks’ animated Madagascar movies, as well as 2011’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins, based on the 1938 book of the same name.

9. In 1988, the zoo re-opened after major renovations that took five years, to update animal enclosures and provide zoo residents with environments that more closely resembled the wild. Old-fashioned cages have been a relic of the past ever since.

10. The Zoo strives to act as an educational body, as well as a fun day out. Classes are available for children interested in finding out more about wildlife and there are 4-D movie screenings (3-D movies with wind, snow and rain effects) to make learning fun, daily.

A Look Inside The Frick

It might not match the magnitude of MoMA or the Guggenheim, yet the Frick Collection is still one of New York City’s biggest art gems. The Frick, located on the Upper East Side, is housed in the erstwhile residence of Henry Clay Frick, which was designed by Thomas Hastings and built shortly before the outbreak of World War I. Not only was Frick a brilliant businessman – playing a major role in the U.S steel and coke industry – he knew his art too. Upon his death in 1919, Frick bequeathed his home, complete with a large collection of paintings, furniture, and other antiquities to the public. Since then, the Frick Collection has swelled by a third, and the building itself, now surrounded by luxury apartments and condominiums, has been extended numerous times, most recently in 2011.

There’s no doubting Frick had impeccable taste; The 16 galleries of the permanent collection are dripping with some of the greatest names in the world of fine art. European paintings include works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hans Holbein, John Constable, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas and Piero della Francesca. Elsewhere, there are sculptures by the likes of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, exquisite tallback chairs, and Ming Dynasty porcelain. Savvy curatorial staff are on hand to discuss displays, while temporary exhibitions are scheduled throughout the year, keeping the collection fresh.

Frick’s manor is ensconced in gorgeous landscaped gardens which bustle in springtime with tulips and water lilies, and are a miraculous oasis in the center of New York. The gardens – one on Fifth Avenue, and a second on 70th Street, near some of the finest Upper East Side apartments and townhouses – allow visitors peaceful places to sit and reflect on the collection. Here, it’s easy to forget you’re in Manhattan altogether.

His art collection is not the only aspect of interest concerning Frick. The man himself was a colorful character (and ruthless businessman). His practice led him to become reviled as the “most hated man in America”, and there was even an assassination attempt on his life by anarchist Alexander Berkman. Books like Henry Clay Frick: The Life of the Perfect Capitalist, and Meet You in Hell offer further insight into the man.

For those who want to learn more about European art, and Frick’s acquisitions in particular, the Frick Art Reference Library on 10 East 71st Street is open Monday through Friday 10am-5pm. It houses an extensive collection of books and photos on European and American art from the 4th to mid-20th century, and is a beautiful environment in which to swot up.

The Frick Collection is on 1 East 70th Street. Admission is $20 for adults, and galleries are open Tuesday through Saturday 10am-6pm and Sundays 11am-5pm.

The Asia Society – Culture on the Upper East Side

Just a few short blocks north of 11 East 68th Street, The Asia Society is a non-partisan, non-profit, and “100% dedicated” to educating people around the world about Asian culture, art, business and politics, The Asia Society has been a New York institution since it was established in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III, whose collection of Asian art remains a permanent part of the museum’s exhibits.

Standing at 725 Park Avenue, this organization and museum was set up to promote stronger community bonds between Americans and Asian immigrants, while also educating Americans about a wide variety of Asian cultures, including those of China, Korea, Japan and India.

Today, New York’s Asia Society has expanded itself into a much broader role, with offices around the country (Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington), as well as the globe (Hong Kong, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, Seoul and Shanghai). Now, not only does the Society provide education about Asian culture, it is actively working to provide practical tools for American students and children to handle futures in a more globalized world.

In addition to interactive tours of the Museum for Grades 3 through 12, there are Coca Cola Family Days that provide kids and their parent’s space to explore the geography, customs, holidays and art of Asia. Most importantly of all though, the Asia Society’s Partnership for Global Learning program is now giving young people the knowledge and tools to work within an increasingly global society and economy – something enabled by the organization’s presence and partnerships all over Asia.

Along with its ongoing educational efforts, the Asia Society has regular movie screenings, music concerts and political discussions and forums, all open to the public, as well as numerous private awards ceremonies, benefits and events.

The Asia Society is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, with extended hours every Friday, as long as it’s not the summer season. During extended Fridays, admission is free between 6pm and 9pm. Admission is free at all times for children under 16-years-old, $5 for students, $7 for seniors and $10 general admission.

With so many fascinating works of art to look at, and so much information to absorb, we’d say that’s a real bargain.

A Day On the Upper East Side

Occasionally, we have the privilege of playing tourist in our own neighborhood.  Maybe you have visitors in town for the day, and they want to experience everything that the Upper East Side has to offer.

Pretend to be doing a favor for your guests, but take it as an opportunity to rediscover the fundamentals, and fall in love with the Upper East Side anew.

9:00 AM - Into the Wild

Where else to begin: head into Central Park, which offers great people and nature-watching during every season. Spend time meandering along random paths that will lead you to various gems, but definitely end up at the Central Park Boathouse. If you are in the mood for some exercise, rent a rowboat and float around the pond. If not, get a seat at the bar and watch others do the work.

Central Park Boathouse:
E 72nd, New York, NY 10028
(212) 517-2233

11:00 AM - Brunch, in Style

Every New Yorker knows that the only proper way to start the weekend is with brunch, an undertaking that almost always involves mimosas, cappuccinos, and the Sunday Style Section of the New York Times.

Why not gussy things up a bit at Cafe Boulud, the namesake of chef Daniel, whose flagship isn’t open to early birds.  Nosh on all of the brunch staples, but with a signature Franco flair.  The 3-course menu, replete with a molten chocolate cake (at brunch, no less!) will leave you sated for hours.

Cafe Boulud:
20 E 76th Street, New York, NY 10021
Phone: 212-772-2600

1:00 PM - Art Fest 

The best place to walk off your brunch is one of New York City’s celebrated, tried-and-true art museums. You can enjoy one or even a few since they are all consolidated on the Upper East Side’s grand Museum Mile.

If you are looking for more traditional offerings, head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and check out the newly re-opened Old Masters Drawings (Don’t miss the temporary fashion exhibit either; it is always edgy and superb).  For contemporary art, head to the Guggenheim and make your way slowly down the spiraling exhibition.

MET: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
(212) 535-7710

Guggenheim: 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128
(212) 423-3500

6:00 PM - The Happiest Hour of the Day

Don’t miss out on Happy Hour, the chance to unwind and rejuvenate for the night ahead. With the microbrew revolution in full swing, craft beer enthusiasts should check out the Jones Wood Foundry, a swank, English-country style pub with delicious dark ales and cozy benches.

Jones Wood Foundry:
401 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021
(212) 249-2700

9:00 PM - Dinner in a Little Black Dress

Head to dinner, which on the Upper East Side is not only the time to explore worldly offerings but to see and be seen. The Arlington Club, a chophouse and sushi joint that mixes old-school charm with new-age cool leaves nothing to be desired.

The Arlington Club:
1032 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10021
(212) 249-5700

11:00 PM - Onwards – Singing and Dancing

Style doesn’t equal stodginess. If you’ve got the dancing itch head to Lavo, a trendy spot whose basements attract a well-heeled, happy crowd not ashamed to get loose on the dance floor.

For a more traditional New York experience, visit Bemelmans Bar, the iconic spot in The Carlyle hotel. Named for the creator of the ‘Madeline’ books, this haunt is the next-door neighbor of the famed Cafe Carlyle, known foremost its jazz–Woody Allen is a regular on clarinet.

39 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022
(212) 750-5588

Bemelmans Bar:
35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10075
(212) 744-1600

Summer in Central Park 2013

Summer is around the corner, and there are few better ways to spend the balmy evenings than basking in the beauty of one of New York’s finest historical landmarks, Central Park.

As is the case annually, the Park is putting on a variety of events to provide both NYC natives and tourists fantastic ways to enjoy the season. Here are five of our favorites.

Shakespeare in the Park

Ol’ Bill Shakespeare would no doubt be thrilled to know that, over four centuries after his heyday, men, women, villains and wenches were still gathering outdoors to enjoy the pageantry and poetry of his finest works. To mark the 50th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park, this year will feature performances of hilarious, mistaken-identity farce, The Comedy of Errors (between May 28 and June 30) and a musical adaptation of Loves Labours Lost (from July 23 to August 18). Performances take place at the Delacorte Theater, just off of 80th street on the southwest corner of the Great Lawn. Expect to be enchanted.

Central Park Film Festival

Over five nights, starting August 20th, the 11th annual Central Park Film Festival will be blowing up a giant inflatable screen and turning the space just south of the 72nd St Cross Drive into an outdoor movie theater. Since gates open at 6:30pm and screenings don’t start until 8pm, the event is perfectly timed for you to head to straight from work and enjoy a quick picnic before the films commence. No word on what will be showing in 2013 yet, but last year featured cult classics like The Big Lebowski, Coming to America and Do the Right Thing. We hope the options this year are just as raucous.

Taste of Summer

Central Park’s most delicious event, Taste of Summer, not only brings together food from 28 of the city’s finest chefs, restaurants, wine bars and bakeries, it also serves as a fundraiser for the Central Park Conservancy (a.k.a. the folk who keep the Park is such tip-top shape all year round). Tickets start at $400 each, and we recommend fasting before you attend, to fully make the most of the fantastic treats on offer. Taste of Summer takes place at the always-stunning Bethesda Terrace, overlooking the lake, on June 19, 2013, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

She & Him / Camera Obscura at SummerStage

New Girl Zooey Deschanel will be hitting the SummerStage, at Rumsey Playfield (near E. 69th and 5th Ave) on July 6, with her musical partner M. Ward, to serenade your evening with the warm-hearted, retro-centric pop-folk of She & Him. In support will be the equally delightful indie-pop darlings of Camera Obscura. Tickets are $40 and well worth it, since this event helps to fund all of the free shows taking place as part of the SummerStage musical extravaganza. Take your dancing shoes – the fun starts at 7pm.

Phillharmonic in the Park

While the New York Philharmonic has yet to announce its schedule for this July’s free concerts, this annual event – featuring performances in all five boroughs, incidentally – is one of the highlights of the summer, every year. Central Park hosts this feast of classical music at the Great Lawn’s band shell, accessible from either West 81st or 86thStreets, or East 79th or 85th Street. It doesn’t get more romantic than this.