The New Whitney: What We've Learned
7/23/2015The Whitney Museum has been open in its new Meatpacking District location for a month now (about twenty minutes in a subway or cab away from WestHouse), and already it’s an instant classic. Lines of art lovers and architecture geeks, which stretched around the block in the first few days, have thankfully trimmed down to more manageable lengths, and we’ve had the time to take in Renzo Piano’s latest addition to the NYC skyline without the throngs of press and opening-week crowds.
Here’s what we’ve learned:
Buy Tickets Online: The lines may have shortened, but they’re still there. Purchase scheduled tickets in advance to skip the queue—just make sure you do it the day before (or earlier). There are no same-day advanced tickets. A WestHouse concierge will be happy to help arrange the tickets and tell you more about current exhibitions on view.
View never-before-shown artwork:
The primary reason for moving downtown was to gain exhibition space, allowing the museum to showcase art previously hidden away in storage. Don’t miss newly-public works from Edward Hopper, On Kawara, and Alfred Stieglitz, to name a few.
Stay for a meal:
Do not consider dining at the Whitney a mere afterthought. Restaurateur Danny Meyer and James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Anthony, both of New York’s Gramercy Tavern, have teamed up again for the museum’s two restaurants. Untitled, their ground-level, fine-dining venue, focuses its seasonal menus on vegetables and refreshingly light entrees. Eight floors up, the Studio Cafe’s open-faced toast sandwiches have made even the most carb-conscious visitors order bread.
The Whitney’s art may be the main draw, but its Hudson River and city views steal the show. Sit at Studio Cafe for a bird’s eye view of the Meatpacking District, where Manhattan’s famous street-grid meets the city’s older, less-orderly layout—some streets dating back to the Native Americans. On colder days, the west-facing couches on the fifth floor have the museum’s best views of the Hudson.
Become a Founding Member:
Membership at the Whitney brings benefits like express entry, cocktail receptions, dining discounts and even free admission at partner museums and galleries like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. For a limited time (until the end of summer, most likely) art supporters can become Founding Members of the new Whitney—that’ll land you an invitation to next year’s first-year anniversary celebration and access to the exclusive Founding Member Lounge during select events.
Photo courtesy of Daniela Spector.