Autumn in New York

By: Jena Tesse Fox

Fall will soon be upon New York, and it’s an ideal time to visit. A new museum has just opened downtown; a major new exhibit is arriving at the Met; the City’s parks will get their own celebratory week; and two new hotels are opening in midtown.

New Museum at World Trade Center


Understandably, during the first two weeks of September, the city becomes much more solemn than normal. Visitors who want to more fully understand what happened on that terrible day can head downtown to Ground Zero, where The National September 11 Memorial & Museum has opened a 9/11 Memorial Preview Site near the World Trade Center. The Preview Site will display models and renderings of the project, illustrating what the World Trade Center site will look like when the rebuilding is complete, along with a 9/11 historic timeline.

Through tours, exhibits and programs, the Tribute WTC Visitor Center links visitors with people who experienced the events. Visitors can also see filmmaker Jim Whitaker and his Project Rebirth team’s four-minute film that includes footage from time-lapse cameras sited around Ground Zero, and interviews of people affected by the attacks.

Visitors to the Preview Site can share their own 9/11 stories with Museum at an on-site recording booth that will allow people to contribute to the Museum’s planned exhibition of recorded memories from that day. The Preview Site will help collect these remembrances through three-minute recorded stories. And as part of a partnership with MyGoodDeed, the visitors can pledge to volunteer or perform good deeds through kiosks accessing the 911dayofservice.org and nycservice.org websites.

The Preview Site is located at 20 Vesey Street, between Broadway and Church Streets in lower Manhattan and is open Monday through Wednesday and Friday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday from 10am to 9pm; and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. For more information, visit national911memorial.org or call 212.267.2047.

The Milkmaid at the Met

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic voyage from the Netherlands to New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is sending The Milkmaid by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675), to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum, never one to pass up a unique opportunity, will present “Vermeer’s Masterpiece The Milkmaid,” a special exhibition that will also include all five paintings by Vermeer from its collection, as well as a select group of works by other Dutch artists, placing Vermeer’s masterpiece in its historical context.

In addition to the Metropolitan Museum's five Vermeer paintings—Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, A Maid Asleep, Study of a Young Woman, Woman with a Lute, and Allegory of the Catholic Faith—this presentation will include works by Vermeer’s contemporaries Pieter de Hooch, Gabriël Metsu, Nicolaes Maes, Emanuel de Witte, Hendrick van Vliet, and Hendrick Sorgh. “Vermeer's Masterpiece The Milkmaid” will also feature several works on paper that illuminate the artist's theme, including engravings by Lucas van Leyden (The Milkmaid) and Jacques de Gheyn II (The Archer and the Milkmaid), both from the Metropolitan Museum's collection, and Jacob Backer's beautiful drawing A Woman with a Jug.

The exhibit runs from September 10 to November 29, and will be the first time that the famous painting has traveled to the United States since it was exhibited at the 1939 World's Fair 70 years ago. Do you really want to wait another 70 years to see this again?

New York City’s Parks

The National Parks Conservation Association will launch “National Parks Week NYC,” from September 19 to 27, a series of public events that will celebrate the rich history of our national parks, and start a dialogue about the future of the parks as they enter their second century. National Parks Week NYC will give visitors a unique perspective of New York’s greenery, from a Lantern Tour of Fort Wadsworth to Grant’s Tomb after Dark to an Evening Tour of Liberty Island.

The signature event of the week, “Feel Free: A National Parks Celebration in Central Park,” will feature highlights from Ken Burns’s documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and musical performances. The live show from East Meadow in Central Park will be shared via satellite to PBS affiliates and other partners around the country.

All events are open to the public. For more information on National Parks Week NYC and the “Feel Free” event, go to FeelFree.org.

Where to Stay

Two new hotels in midtown are slated for a “soft launch” this fall, each representing the city in its own unique way.

The floors of The Distrikt Hotel, midtown Manhattan’s newest boutique, represent 10 different neighborhoods or districts, beginning with a Central Park living wall in the lobby and renderings of Manhattan's grid around the elevators. (This should make getting around the City much, much easier. Why don’t all hotels have maps by the elevators?) Located on West 40th Street off 9th Avenue, this 32-story skyscraper is right next to Times Square, and will also have a restaurant incorporating popular New York dishes (think knishes, hot dogs and local brews.).

Fashion 26 is right in the heart of the garment district on West 26th Street, across from the famous Fashion Institute of Technology (Michael Kors and Calvin Klein both studied there back in the day). Fashion 26 has 280 rooms, a burger joint called RARE and a rooftop lounge with views of the Empire State Building. The hotel has a decidedly funky and eclectic vibe inspired by the innovative students and residents in the area. The front desk is constructed with cast iron legs from a sewing table, for example, and room keys open with the wave of a hand using radio frequency technology. Delicious touch: Guests get themed Crumbs cupcakes upon arrival. What else do you need for a sweet visit to the city?