Monday, August 22, 2011

Hudson River Museum (Yonkers): Warburton Ave

This is a true gem in NYC.  Yes, it is a little remote (you have to take the Hudson Line Metro North to Glenwood Station and then walk about 5 to 10 minutes), but it is absolutely worth the trip (besides, Metro North offers a special if you ask the ticket agent for a "One Day Getaway" to the Hudson River Museum, which includes the roundtrip train fare and discounted museum admission for $14.50/adult).

The Hudson River Museum has something for everyone.  That is not an exaggeration.  They have historical home furnishings from the late 1800s (see period library with fireplace and ebonized bookshelves at left) in the architectural beauty, Glenview (see above, the house behind the modern facade of the museum, which was built and lived in by the John Bond Trevor family), which was built by the same architect that built the Armory on Park Avenue.  

They have modern exhibitions, like the photography work currently on display of the Hudson Valley, from Manhattan and Westchester County to the Catskills by Susan Wides.  This exhibit explores the juxtaposition of suburban and urban perspectives and the descriptions of the works in the artists own words are fantastically informative.

The museum also has a respectable collection of 19th and early 20th century scenic paintings of the Hudson Valley as well as some beautiful portraits and sculptures done in the times before mass photography.  I particularly like the intimacy and innocence of this lovely child's portrait, likely painted by her father, John George Brown (see right).

They also have modern or more contemporary artwork.  My favorite piece in the whole museum is Red Groom's "The Bookstore" (see left).  This 3D installation of an animated bookstore, complete with inflatable figures, uniquely titled 3D books, an electrified fireplace, and 2 entrances (a grand one mimicking The Pierpont Morgan Library and a modest one of a second hand bookstore, called Mendoza's Bookstore), is hyper-life-like in color and specificity  As I walked through and tried to take in all of the details, I was reminded of theater/movie sets (particularly Hagrid's hut from the Harry Potter series).  I LOVED this piece and don't think I've seen anything like it before.

The museum also has a great nature exhibit for kids (and adult-kids) called Riverama.  In it, they have live catfish, carp, seahorses (see right), and almost innumerable interactive stations educating visitors about the marshes, trees, wildlife, soil and pollution related to the Hudson River and New York City.  I think it really is fabulous (although I suppose I can't be sure about how this would be received by kids since I did not have any visiting with me).

Finally, the highlight of the museum is the planetarium.  Because it is only open on weekends I was worried it would be incredibly crowded, but actually, the whole museum was pretty sparsely attended (there were about a dozen people there at any given time during my 3 hour visit).  They have different shows 3 times each day, and it is really zen and beautiful.  The show is narrated by a live host with a very soothing voice and the background music is cosmic (ah yes, I admit I snuck a little cat nap in there -- I couldn't help it).  While I haven't yet been to the planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History (still on the list), I would say that this planetarium is wonderful, expansive, and somehow intimate too.

If you have not trekked out to the Hudson River Museum, you are missing out.  This is a fantastic place to visit and spend the day (and evenings when they have special planetarium shows or musical concerts--check their calendar of events).  You can't beat views like this (see above).  I would add this to my top 5 list of places to visit in NYC, especially for New Yorkers yearning for a hit of nature and something off the beaten path.

1 comment:

  1. The Hudson River Museum is one of Yonker's crown jewels. The planetarium is a must see (away from the bright City lights).