On a clear day, there are few places more suited to a calming break from the energy, traffic, and skyscrapers of Midtown than the MoMA's sculpture garden. But this is much more than a midday lunch spot, more than a space for the museums large-format sculptures (the cavernous interior of the MoMA allows for tremendous installations). Sculpture, much more than painting or photography, is influenced by its surroundings. Change the location of a sculpture and you change the work itself. Put a piece under a tree instead of under fluorescent lights and it takes on new life. The Sculpture Garden is how the MoMA demonstrates this.
What You Will See
Like the rooftop of the Met, the installations in the sculpture garden change seasonally and merit repeat visits. A dozen or so sculptures, some immensely large, are tastefully scattered through the outdoor space, complimenting the streams, fountains, and trees that make up the garden. Chairs and benches are generously available to rest your feet mid-visit and plan your next gallery. Bring your audio guide and explore each sculpture. If the garden happens to be closed, view it from an upstairs window to see how the rain or snow interacts with the art--its impressive in all manner of weather.
Why You Should Go
There are precious few oases in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and this is by far the best. Devoid of sculptures, this would still be true--with them, a necessary stop, even if you don't have time to visit the rest of the museum. Enjoy it close up in the sun and from afar in the snow.