Ask any New Yorker about Museum Mile, and odds are they’ve been to the twenty-three block stretch of Upper 5th Avenue that’s home to nine world class museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum and the Museum of the City of New York. But few know that Museum Mile wasn’t designated a place until the late 1970s, when museums and local activists worked with Project for Public Spaces to draw diverse New Yorkers to the arts during the city’s fiscal crisis.
Since 1978, the annual festival celebrating Museum Mile has closed 5th Avenue to car traffic and encouraged people to take over the streets with free admission at the nine famed museums, in addition to live bands, entertainment and art-in-the-street for kids. The festival creates a lively and unique experience by allowing New York’s most popular cultural destinations to spill out onto the street. The steady success of this event has provided the vision for NYC DOTs Summer Streets program (they even use our images of Museum Mile on their website). The burgeoning program is finding great success in partnering with neighborhoods to take a break and celebrate their communities. Events are already underway this summer.
The Museum Mile festival begins tomorrow at 5:45pm outside the Guggenheim Museum, on the corner of 91st St. and 5th Avenue, and runs until 9pm. For more information, visit the Museum Mile Festival Website.