Museum Mile Festival is one of my favorite evenings of the year and it will be yours, too. Get your strollers, Bjorns, Ergo’s, slings, or whatever you use to tote your kids to the festival, known as New York’s Biggest Block Party.
The festival occurs, rain or shine, on one night every June. It features free access to nine museums along a mile of Fifth Avenue. These spots include the Guggenheim, The Jewish Museum, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Neue Galerie, & the MET .
Museum Mile Festival closes Fifth Ave. to traffic from 82nd to 105th streets to provide easy access to the museums along with magic shows and live bands outside the museums, art-in-the-street, and other entertainment for children.
Last year, I watched the artist De La Vega chalk up the street with his cool artistic designs and quotes, popped into the MET to see their Fashion & Superheroes exhibit, and grabbed some real estate on the lawn to have a glass of wine at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.
According to its website, the festival begun as an initiative to spur the development of new museum audiences and to increase support for the arts during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s. Museum Mile was formed as a consortium by the museums that share the Fifth Avenue address. The first festival, held in June of 1978, was an instant success. Not only did it expose New Yorkers and NYC visitors to an incredible collection of New York’s artistic riches, it also brought together disparate New Yorkers. From the barrios of East Harlem and the townhouses lining the Upper East Side, to the winding streets of the Village and the clustered neighborhoods of the outer-boroughs, people came to celebrate their shared pride in their city. Museum Mile Festival promoted public awareness through increased visibility, accessibility and attendance at all the museums, and brought many New Yorkers to upper Fifth Avenue for the first time.