New York Historical Society
2 West 77th Street (at Central Park West)
New York, NY 10024
The New York Historical Society is dedicated to presenting exhibitions and public programs, and fostering research that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, it is the city's oldest museum and houses an excellent research library.
In 2005, the society sponsored an exhibit on the life of Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804). While well promoted, most notably by a wrapper on the front of the building, and displaying numerous important artifacts, the exhibit was surprisingly unsatisfying. Perhaps in an attempt to be fair, the exhibit failed to delineate the complex facets of this controversial figure in American history, thereby neutering any ability to feel any passion for or against him.
I managed to snap a few photos of the exhibit (in full view of a number of guards) before an overzealous museum employee turned my simple task of documentation into an act of civil disobedience.
In the late 20th and early 21st century the NY Historical Society has had chronic funding issues, largely related to lackluster public programs and the concominant lack of support by the city. In the fall of 2006 they announced a plan to shore up their finances and contribute to the overbuilding of the Upper West Side by developing an unused plot of land behind the museum with a hideous 280-foot glass curtain-wall tower that is completely incongrous with the classic limestone towers on Central Park West. To avoid the community opposition that derailed a similar plan in the late 1980s, the development process was conducted largely behind closed-doors, but as of 2016 had not been successful. I took these photos of the lot in February of 2007 as a record of what was there. (reference)
Next: New York Spy Museum