Housing one of the world's finest collections of modern art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is renowned for its permanent exhibits, which include masterpieces by Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, and Dalí, as well as its first-rate—and highly buzzed about—exhibitions on modern art, photography, and film. Located minutes from Rockefeller Center, and slowly expanding along 53rd Street to accommodate both its growing collection and audience, MoMA's current building design features a maze of glass walkways to permit art viewing from many angles; a high-end restaurant and bar, The Modern; and a cinema that offers curated international film selections and talks.
The museum spans six levels, with an impressive lineup of special exhibits on the skylighted top floor; painting and sculpture on Levels 5 and 4; architecture, design, drawings, and photography on 3; and contemporary galleries, prints, and books on Level 2 . It's best to explore the museum from top to bottom, beginning with the
museum's main attractions and ending on Level 1 at a favorite resting spot, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. Designed by Philip Johnson, it features Barnett Newman's Broken Obelisk (1962–69). The glass wall lets visitors look directly into the surrounding galleries from the garden, where there's also a reflecting pool and trees. Plans for an expansion into the space next door (which, controversially, meant tearing down the American Folk Art Museum) include additional gallery space, a retractable glass wall, an expanded lobby, and the opening of its entire first floor, including the sculpture garden, as a free public space. Construction is already under way, with an expected completion date in 2019. Entrance between 4 and 8 pm on Friday is free, but expect long lines.