The third best thing about New York

The third best thing about New York is the museums and galleries.

Those in London and Paris are amazing, but for modern art, I haven’t seen anything better than those in New York.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (the Whitney) are now amongst my favourites in the world.

However, unlike those in London, almost all museums in New York charge a very high entrance fee.

That is, unless you know a trick or two.

There’s no escaping the US$20 charge for going into the MoMA. But inside, you are treated to a wide variety of impressive art, including audio and video installations…

…and live audience-participation performance art, where you sit across from the artist and you stare at each other for as long as you want (don’t ask me what it means) and stark naked living people suspended on a wall (obviously, no photos allowed…).

For the Met, and many of the other galleries and museums, they ask for a “recommended” entrance fee of US£20. This is usually in small print and gets little publicity. But really, what it means is that you are allowed to pay as much and as little as you like. Considering I’ve been eating instant noodles and hotdogs to get by, I paid US$1. Don’t be embarassed. No questions are asked and they’re obviously used to it. I went back again a different day and paid 5 cents and no one batted an eyelid.

For some other museums, like the Whitney, they have one day a week where, for a few hours, people are welcome to “pay as they wish”.

This usually means long queues, but I only had to stand in a queue that was constantly moving anyways, munching on chocolate for about 20 mins, paid a US$1 versus a normal US$18 entrance fee, and in I went! No photos are allowed in the Whitney either, but I absolutely loved it.

I think the Met is more like the British Museum, with modern and ancient art, sculptures, Egyptian mummies and tombs and whatever else you can think of.

MoMA is more like the Tate Modern, but, in my opinion, with cooler and less pretentious art. The Whitney, focusing on living American artists, have some mind-blowing work too. Be prepared to spend at least a day in the Met and MoMA. They’re all absolutely well-worth the trip.

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