Big City, Small Museums in Midtown East
The Morgan Library is the only major museum of Midtown East. Even without temporary exhibits such as “Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet” (running through October 6) and “John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal” (opening October 4), it is well worth a visit simply for its glorious interior and its permanent collection, which includes an autographed score by Mozart, pages from Thoreau’s journal that became material for his seminal book “Walden,” and drawings by William Blake, Hogarth, and Rembrandt. Less well known, but also worth a visit, are the neighborhood’s niche museums, which will appeal to cynophilists and pinball wizards, among others.
101 Park Avenue (between 40th and 41st Streets)
Suffering from puppy love? Seeking a respite from the dog-eat-dog world? A visit to the American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog is the ideal treat. The museum just moved into its sparkling Park Avenue home earlier this year, having been located in Missouri for more than 30 years prior. Some 1,700 canine-related artworks and artifacts and a 4,000-volume library make up the permanent collection. These are accompanied by interactive exhibits such as “Find Your Match,” in which a photo of you is paired with one of a dog that resembles you, and “Working Dogs,” in which you “train” a virtual canine. The temporary exhibit “Women and Dogs in Art in the 20th Century” runs through September 29. “Photos: Please Do Not Bend,” featuring more than 100 informal snapshots of dogs, runs October 8-December 29; “Mush! A Tribute to Sled Dogs from Arctic Exploration to the Iditarod” open January 6, 2020.
333 East 47th Street (between First and Second Avenues)
Aiming to increase mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S., Japan Society holds more than 200 exhibits, film screenings, classes, talks, workshops, and other events each year. Opening October 11 in its art gallery and running through January 26, 2020, is “Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living, 1964/2020,” examining, as the city prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, how its landscape has changed since it hosted the 1964 summer games. Other upcoming events include a Japanese craft beer lecture and tasting on September 13; “Reigakusha: Gagaku & Bugaku,” a rare stateside performance of the world’s oldest surviving orchestral music on September 21; and “Composing for the Sun: A Conversation with Philip Glass” on November 6, prior to the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of Glass’s “Akhnaten.”
362 Third Avenue (between 26th and 27th Streets)
Part of Modern Pinball NYC, a pinball arcade with more than 30 machines and two multigame video arcades, the Museum of Modern Pinball exposes the insides of pinball machines to demonstrate the physics and technology that make them work. The arcade itself explains the history of pinball and other arcade games with placards and screens and via the collection of machines themselves, which include a Beatles machine from the early 1960s, a 1970s “Six Million Dollar Man” machine, and Gorgar, the world’s first talking pinball machine.
Shuttle Passage of Grand Central Terminal, 42nd Street and Park Avenue
While the main location of the Transit Museum is a decommissioned subway station in Brooklyn, there is a gallery (and a gift shop) appropriately located in Grand Central Terminal. In the gallery through November 6 is “Changing Signs, Changing Times: A History of Wayfinding in Transit,” featuring photos and objects cataloging the transit system’s signage throughout its history.