In our series Beyond the Village and Back, we take a look at some great landmarks throughout New York City outside of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, celebrate their special histories, and reveal their (sometimes hidden) connections to the Village.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the great landmarks, and the great institutions, of New York City, the nation, and the world. With more than two million objects in its collection, it is by far the largest museum in both New York and the country. Covering what would be several city blocks, stretching nearly a quarter mile long, and housing over 2,000,000 square feet of space, it’s roughly the size of the Empire State Building (itself the subject of a Beyond the Village and Back for its own surprising connection to Greenwich Village). Designated a landmark by the City of New York on both its interior and exterior, the Met is a must-see for any visitor to the city and a staple for any New Yorker with even the slightest interest in art or culture. Its grand Beaux Arts facade, fronted by a sprawling staircase and graceful fountains facing Fifth Avenue, are among the most iconic images of New York, and form the anchor of the Upper East Side’s elegant “Museum Mile.”
Few know, however, that the ultimate uptown institution once had a much more downtown address, and owes its very existence to one prominent Greenwich Villager, and the form by which we know it to another.
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