Many of New York City’s favorite museums and cultural institutions have announced plans to reopen as the city advances towards Phase 4. Though there are still concerns about the novel coronavirus spreading inside closed spaces (indoor dining and bars are still closed indefinitely), these establishments are considered low-risk and are implementing strict safety and sanitation measures to protect the public.
Rediscover In Person Arts and Culture
As New York approaches the height and heat of summer, here’s where residents can safely enjoy arts and culture indoors.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The palatial Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced it will reopen its doors on August 29. Bordered by Central Park and 5th Avenue, the museum is home to over 5,000 years of art from around the world and boasts the largest collection of artwork in the United States. It’s one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city but this year things will be quite different. In order to protect the public and their staff, the museum will be limiting entry to 25% capacity in accordance with CDC guidelines. Every visitor must adhere to the museum’s health and safety measures. Masks must be worn and cover the mouth, nose, both nostrils, and fit snugly across the face. Guests are expected to maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and other visitors, wash hands or sanitize frequently, and use digital maps instead of the physical kiosks. Coat check will remain closed at this time. The Cloisters, the Met’s Washington Heights outpost, hopes to open in September but has not finalized a date at this time.
New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium will be open once again to members on July 20 and to the general public on July 24. The Coney Island institutionis home to 350 specials for marine life including sharks, turtles, otters, penguins, and fish. Over 8,000 specimens in total! In order to control the number of visitors, the aquarium is requiring every guest to get a date-specific ticket in advance. Tickets will not be sold at the entrance for walk-ins and advanced tickets are limited. Face coverings and social distancing are mandatory for all visitors. Healthcare workers can receive free admission to the aquarium from July 24 through Labor Day. Use the promo code HERO2020 and bring healthcare ID cards to present at the gate.
The New York outpost of the Swedish photography museum, Fotografiska will reopen to the general public on July 29. Members will be invited to previews July 24-26. Founded on the principle that photography should be a safe haven for innovation, inclusivity, and expression, the museum is dedicated to supporting all artistic voices and emerging artists. The NYC location took up residence inside the historic Church Mission Building originally constructed in 1894. For entry, museum visitors must purchase timed-entry tickets that are available in half-hour increments. This will help reduce the museum capacity to 25% as recommended by the CDC.
Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York is an ever-evolving archive of the city’s history and the NYC experience. The museum plans to reopen on July 23. The curators are currently preparing a fall exhibit called “New York Responds: Beyond COVID.” Until the inside installation is ready, an exhibit of the same name will be available for viewing outdoors later this month. Inside, exhibits such as “Activist New York” and “New York at Its Core” are open to visitors. Continuing its rigorous documentation of the city’s history, the museum is currently asking the community to submit their photos, videos, and experiences with the Black Lives Matter protests.
Starting July 13, the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens Public Libraries have slowly reopened a select number of branches for grab-and-go service (NYPL covers the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island). Using borough-specific library apps, bookworms throughout the city can request books and be notified when they’re available for pickup. While only a few branches are open for grab-and-go service, several more branches have automated book returns available. Masks are required for those picking up and returning books. There is still no set date for when library programs will be restored.