The Whitney Museum of American Art recently unveiled its ambitious new headquarters in the Meatpacking district — a building designed by the esteemed Renzo Piano. Now you can practically step into the Whitney museum when you get off the High Line at Gansevoort Street.
The Whitney is the world’s leading museum of twentieth-century and contemporary art from the United States. Founded by sculptor and arts patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, it opened its doors on West Eight Street in Greenwich Village in 1931. The Whitney later moved uptown and was, until recently, housed on Madison Avenue at 75th Street in a building designed by modernist master Marcel Breuer. Now the Museum has returned downtown to Renzo Piano’s new and much larger building, a very exciting event for New Yorkers.
Two weeks after the museum opened, a good friend and her daughter visited us in New York and it was a great opportunity to explore the museum together. The building is very beautiful and provides the perfect setting for the art. We arrived twenty minutes earlier than the museum’s 10:30 opening and there was already a very long line. But it went fast. It seemed as though the museum has gigantic elevators that take about eighty people at a time; there was no wait to get up to the museum.
The museum has two restaurants, both operated by Danny Meyers’s Union Square Hospitality Group. They are also is behind some of the best restaurants in New York like Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Café, North End Grill, and many others, including the Modern in the Museum of Modern Art. We didn’t eat at the museum but I am anxious to return and try it.
Instead we had lunch at Via Carota at Grove Street in West Village. It was perfect weather to sit outside and we sat on the sidewalk in the shadow to enjoy our lunch. Via Carota is the Italian sister to the French restaurant Buvette, also one of my favorites in the West Village.