One of my 2018 New Year's resolutions was to get back to New York City. In my 20s, I went all the time and crashed with my cousin, my camp friends or my college friends. Over the past few years, my trips to the Big Apple became almost exclusively for work. I'd usually take the train in, go to a two hour meeting, and then take the train right back. I really missed exploring.
This past weekend, I finally went back just for fun. I stayed with a friend who had recently relocated from Boston and she was totally game to play tourist. I was itching to go to a museum and we considered several - the Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim - but we ultimately decided on The Frick Collection.
The Frick is located directly across the street from Central Park, at the corner of East 70th Street and 5th Avenue.
This building was the private home of Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick. It was built in 1913, designed by Thomas Hastings, an American architect. Frick passed away in 1919 and the residence opened to the public in 1935.
Notice Frick's monogram above the front door?
When you enter the museum, you are given a map and offered a free audio guide. I highly recommend using the guide. Many of the pieces have a sign with a small number next to them, so you just punch the number into the guide and you can learn about the artist, that specific work and why Frick wanted it for his collection.
This is one of the most impressive private collections I have seen (and I do a lot of museums). Frick had paintings by Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Goya, Velazquez, El Greco and Vermeer. In listening to the podcast Last Seen (about the art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) I've learned how rare Vermeer paintings are. I wanted to shout to everyone else in the gallery, "Do you know what a big deal this is?!" Vermeer's Mistress and Maid was the last painting Henry Clay Frick purchased before he died.
The Frick has a large painting and sculpture collection, but it is also welcomes special exhibitions. We were able to see 75 pieces of French faience in the Portico Gallery, which overlooks the outdoor courtyard and Central Park across the street. The gallery gets tons of natural light. If you like ceramics, you can see this private collection on display now through September 22, 2019.
Much like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the star of the Frick Collection is the courtyard. It's also the only place in the entire museum where you are allowed to take photos.
The fountain provides a spa-like tranquility.
On the perimeter are beautiful sculptures.
I really love this one, an angel watching over the courtyard and its guests.
While we were wandering through the galleries, I truly felt transported to another time and place. When I told my sister I had finally made it to the Frick, she said, "Isn't it magical?" It really, really is.
After about two and a half hours of roaming the halls (and a quick spin through the gift shop), we walked across the street and enjoyed a long stroll through Central Park. You really can't beat that combo.
If you live in New York, or visit often, the Frick offers free admission from 6pm - 9pm on the first Friday of every month.