Enticing as the major art shows can be, often the time it takes to buy the ticket, check the coat and navigate the crowd can eat up an afternoon. Time, like money, is a commodity, so some may want to opt for more manageable exhibitions.
With less than an hour to spare, hit the International Center of Photography at 1133 Sixth Avenue at West 43rd Street to check out “Magnum Contact Sheets” for a behind-the-scenes look at how those history-capturing photographers got their best shots from the Thirties to the present. Then buzz through “Perspectives” to get a glimpse of up-and-coming young artists working in video and photography.
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For those in need of a big name that will register with friends, The Frick Collection at 1 East 70th Street has “Renoir, Impressionism and Full-Length Painting.” Henry Clay Frick’s former mansion is elegant, easy to navigate, and there is a pay-as-you-wish policy for part of the day on Sundays. This Sunday, a Beethoven concert will be held in the music room, but tickets are required.
Friday nights at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, also doesn’t require opening the wallet. Forgo the Diego Rivera show for the sake of time and catch photographer Eugène Atget’s “Documents Pour Artistes,” material he hoped would one day help others. James Rosenquist’s 84-foot-long “F-111” is worth a look, and, as of Sunday, “Print/Out,” featuring the work of Martin Kippenberger, Lucy McKenzie, Thomas Schütte, Superflex and others, will be another quick-fix show.
Fashion-minded art fans can run through “Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA” at the Museum at FIT, 227 West 27th Street, or head downtown to find Juergen Teller’s shots of Vivienne Westwood, Kristen McMenamy and others in his solo show at Lehmann Maupin’s gallery at 201 Chrystie Street. Heading that way on the Bowery, the Sperone Westwater gallery is worth a drive-by for the Norman Foster-designed elevator that doubles as a gallery, as well as the art.
SINCE THEY BUILT IT…
Architect Bjarke Ingels, founder of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), has really made Times Square the heart of New York City by installing a 10-foot-high heart sculpture with 400 pulsating LED lights. The acrylic tubes refract the lights of Times Square and sway in the wind. When passers-by touch a heart-shaped sensor, the heart will appear to beat faster as the heat from their hands is generated into more light. “BIG — we need a heart icon here — NYC” will be on display through Feb. 29.
Other big-name architectural finds can also be seen throughout the city. Thomas Mayne’s 42 Cooper Square and Herzog & de Meuron’s 40 Bond Street are two must-sees, and The High Line is a favorite for works by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Shigeru Ban. Theater tickets are needed to see what Gehry has done with the newly reopened Signature Theater. Anyone who missed New York Fashion Week might check out Lincoln Center to see how Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have transformed the space. Instead of racing through Grand Central Terminal, catch up with the Municipal Arts Society for its weekly 90-minute Wednesday afternoon tour of the Beaux-Arts landmark.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Farm-to-table restaurants and communal dining establishments should ease any guilt about eating out. RedFarm, a rustic but modern eatery at 529 Hudson Street in the West Village, serves up green market Chinese food and supercharged dim sum from Joe Ng in a rustic but modern space.
Happy hours can be had at Pane Panelle at 305 Church Street in TriBeCa. Formerly known as Stuzzicheria, the space is a southern Italian focacceria, trattoria and bar. Another Italian newcomer is Don Antonio by Starita at 309 West 50th Street, where co-founder Antonio Starita’s family’s pizzeria in Naples dates back to 1901.
Meanwhile, The Meatball Shop has opened its third location, a West Village outpost at 64 Greenwich Avenue. Sharing is big at The Sushi Shop, whether dining at the new 536 Madison Avenue location or ordering out. Uptown, ABV Wine Bar is welcoming diners and drinkers to its wine bar, food bar and three communal tables at 1504 Lexington Avenue.
PICK YOUR POISON
Those looking to take the edge off after hectic day might try a “Brave Man” — green tomatillo, pulque, mezcal and lime — at Pulqueria, a Mexican eatery at 11 Doyers Street. The “Rooster’s Eye” — fresh jicama, pulque, tequila, agave and lime — is another drink of choice. Another new haunt, The Wren, on the Bowery also has such specialty cocktails as “The North Country,” made with Laird’s applejack, Vermont boiled cider and hard cider.
If sugar is the preferred indulgence, Cake Shop sells Robicelli’s brownies and whoopie pies said to have been created during the Great Depression. As of Monday, Mardi Gras cupcakes, pecan praline and French king cake will be available for a limited time. Yet another cupcake maker, Georgetown Cupcakes, has opened its first New York shop at 11 Mercer Street. Should making the trek to the freshly minted One Girl Cookies store in Brooklyn be a step too far, there is Puddin’, a St. Mark’s sweet shop where banana cream dream and butterscotch are usually the first to go.