From the Director
Among the city’s major museums, there is only one with the words “New,” “York,” and “City” in its name, and this is precisely what gives the Museum of the City of New York its unique mandate: to explore the past, present, and future of this fascinating and particular place and to celebrate its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation. A variety of exhibitions, public programs, and publications all investigate what gives New York City its singular character.
Exhibitions in recent seasons have focused on wide-ranging subjects, illuminating the events and issues that define New York: how to make this city more sustainable by the year 2030; New York’s emergence from the shadow of its trans-Atlantic sister city, Paris, to take center stage in the fields of design, fashion, and the arts; Catholic New Yorkers, a once-persecuted minority group that transformed the cultural, institutional, and political life of the broader community; hip hop and its impact on fashion; Robert Moses and the transformation of the metropolis in the mid-twentieth century; how immigrants created their own affordable housing in the early twentieth century; the story of a young Russian woman who reinvented American fashion; and other illuminating and fascinating aspects of New York’s rich and diverse past and present. These facets of the city’s development also serve us well in that they help to inform us as we all consider our city’s future.
The Museum’s public programs also play a vital role in educating and enlightening visitors and participants. Leading observers of the city, including Ken Auletta, Robert Caro, David Gonzalez, Tim Gunn, Roger Kahn, Russell Shorto, and Robert A. M. Stern, have shared their insights in panel discussions and lectures. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, former Mayor Edward I. Koch, Congressman Charles Rangel, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, and other current and former elected officials have participated in our events and programs. And on many weeknights, Museum audiences find visionary architects and photographers, or dedicated urban planners, the most colorful chefs and interior designers, or the talented stars of the Broadway stage—all right here on our stage, discussing their latest projects or delighting audiences with music, song, and dance.
The Museum is undergoing dramatic, physical transformation. The new, 2,800 sq. ft. James G. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller Gallery opened just last fall, as did the state-of-the-art curatorial center, designed to store and preserve the Museum's vast but fragile collections of photographs, prints, textiles, and works on paper. The creation of these new spaces marks the completion—on time and on budget—of the first phase of the Museum’s ambitious Renovation and Expansion Project. The second phase of the project has begun, which will expand gallery space on the third floor and create modern classrooms in the Frederick A. O. Schwarz Children’s Center, while providing new offices for curators, educators, and other Museum personnel.
We hope you will join us as we continue to explore what makes New York New York. And we thank you for your support.
Susan Henshaw Jones
President and Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York