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In NYC, the Anti-MoMa

Sunday, December 12, 2004; Page P02

When Manhattan's splashy Museum of Modern Art threw open its renovated doors last month, the gasps of some museumgoers threatened to drown out the traffic noise -- and not because of the building's dazzling architecture.

Though admission to the huge Yoshio Taniguchi-designed facility was free on opening day, the sign at the ticket booth now spells out some less joyous news: Twenty bucks a head, to be precise, for adults, up from $12 before the rehab and several dollars higher than any of the city's other world-famous art museums.


(N.y. Transit Museum (page P1) And Rubin Museum Of Art Photos S)

Don't start liquidating your mutual funds just yet. Four other New York City institutions have quietly opened, reopened or been substantially renovated during the past year or so. And you won't have to deplete the kids' college funds just to take them along.

-- Seth Sherwood

Rubin Museum of Art

150 W. 17th St.

WHAT'S NEW: Everything. Opened in October after several years in the works, the multistory museum is home to a massive collection of art from the Himalayas and their surrounding countries, including Tibet, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Pakistan, China and Mongolia.

WHAT'S THERE: Loads of colorful and intricate paintings, sculptures and icons dating from the 2nd century to the 19th century. Most of the art works tie in to the region's major religious traditions, notably Buddhism. The Rubin also hosts concerts, sponsors film series and holds mini-courses, including Mongolian throat-singing, Indian dance and thangka painting.

PRICE: $7 adults, $5 for seniors, students, artists and neighborhood residents.

INFO: 212-620-5000, www.rmanyc.org

Skyscraper Museum

39 Battery Pl.

WHAT'S NEW: Practically everything. After bouncing around a series of temporary homes, the Skyscraper Museum moved into its permanent residence in early 2004. Located in a building designed by the all-star firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the small but slick museum sits downtown against the skyline of Lower Manhattan's financial towers.

WHAT'S THERE: A small permanent collection includes a photo retrospective of the Empire State Building's construction and light-box installations depicting the changing architectural face of Lower Manhattan. A timeline traces the history of the world's tallest buildings, depicting key structures, heights and dates. Through 2006, the museum is displaying the original architectural model for the Twin Towers, as well as photos and videos documenting the buildings' construction.

PRICE: $5 adults, $2.50 students and seniors.

INFO: 212-968-1961, www.skyscraper.org

Museum of Jewish Heritage

36 Battery Pl.

WHAT'S NEW: The Robert M. Morgenthau Wing, an 82,000-square-foot addition that was dedicated late last year. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kevin Roche, the multilevel addition houses a performance venue and extensive gallery space to accommodate rotating special exhibitions.

WHAT'S THERE: The museum, divided into chronological stages, is dedicated to the experience of Jews in the 20th century. Exhibits highlight the familial and religious lives of Jewish communities in the early decades of the last century; trace the rise of anti-Semitism and the ensuing horrors of the Holocaust; and examine the founding of Israel and the revitalization of Jewish communities since World War II. An art installation, the Garden of Stones, pays tribute to the perished and the survivors of the Holocaust.

PRICE: $10 adults, $7 seniors; $5 students.

INFO: 646-437-4200, www.mjhnyc.org

N.Y. Transit Museum

Corner of Boerum Place and Scherm-erhorn Street, Brooklyn Heights

WHAT'S NEW: Several new exhibition areas, the result of a two-year renovation unveiled in fall 2003. "On the Streets," a new installation, includes a room covered in models of old trolley cars, as well as a realistic 12-seat bus for children. Another new gallery displays a century of subway turnstiles and a half-century of token designs.

WHAT'S THERE: The NYTM's marquee attraction are its two underground tracks lined with subway cars from bygone eras (the museum is in a decommissioned subway station). Visitors can walk from car to car, each with period seating styles, strap designs, lighting and advertisements. The permanent "Steel, Stone and Backbone" exhibit uses photos, films and artifacts to tell the story of how Gotham's subway system was built.

PRICE: $5 for adults, $3 for kids and seniors.

INFO: 718-694-1600, www.transit museum.com


© 2004 The Washington Post Company


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