The Bowery was once known for its flophouses – and those who frequented them. Wandering along this street, you’ll still see vestiges of its gritty past, but also cutting-edge venues such as the aptly named New Museum. Designed by Japanese architects Sejima and Nishizawa, this seven-story museum rises like a stack of glowing cubes, casting the Bowery in a new light – literally and figuratively.
The changing collection features a wide range of art, from large-scale photographs of 1960s America to geometric abstracts of bright, jarring colors that seem to vibrate with movement.
In keeping with the Bowery’s anti-establishment past, the museum’s curators take an inclusive approach, featuring emerging artists along with established names. They also celebrate the artistic heritage of the neighborhood with the Bowery Artist Tribute, an exhibition on the history of artists in the area, including such 20th-century figures as Mark Rothko and Roy Lichtenstein.
The museum hosts a monthly performance series, “Get Weird: Experimental and Freaky Jams,” which involves youth hip-hop shows by Brooklyn school students who are paired with independent musicians. Even the museum views are a departure: instead of the usual iconic cluster of skyscrapers, the top floors offer wide vistas of the rooftops of the Lower East Side, from its sooty chimneys to its fire escapes.
Address 235 Bowery, Lower East Side;
Getting There Subway: line 6 to Spring Street or lines N or R to Prince Street.
Opening Times Noon–6pm Wed, Sat & Sun, noon–9pm Thu–Fri.