We’ve made no bones about the fact that this blog keeps us pretty busy. But every once in a while someone cancels or plans fall through and we find ourselves with an opening in our otherwise overpacked schedule. So, what do we do when we have some time to kill? Well, we turn to a tried-and-true solution, one that requires no tricky reservations or extensive planning. And one that happens to be the best kept pseudo-secret in town: an art gallery crawl. Oh, and the cherry on top? It won’t cost you a dime.
Chelsea is home to literally hundreds of galleries, roughly distributed in a buckshot pattern near the High Line, between 10th and 11th Avenue from 19th to 26th Street. Much of what is on display is contemporary in nature and can run the gamut, from lesser-known to acclaimed, long-established artists. The best thing about a Chelsea art crawl is that, for the most part, you never know exactly what you’ll see when walking through the doors of any given gallery. Sculptures? Portraits? Mixed media? Film? Video? Nudes? Hundreds of phone receivers piled into a room? Cartoons? Social commentary? It could be ANYTHING!
There are two ways to go about your gallery crawl: spontaneous or planned. Spontaneous is great if you are the type of person who hates movie trailers and would describe your time frame as fluid. Then just wander the streets and see what you see. Whimsically pop into one gallery after another, like the group we overheard say, “Should we do one more?” Fair warning, though: on a recent outing we bumped into a couple exiting a building and caught a glimpse of some interesting artwork on the walls. As we moved towards entering they said, “It’s not a gallery, just the well-decorated lobby of an apartment building!” Oops.
But if you’re the type who uses movie trailers for the purpose of vetting, and who has an overdeveloped sense of what interests you and what absolutely does not, then something more structured may be preferable. Perhaps you have something else on the books later in the day, or you’re interested in a showcase for a particular artist. If that’s the case, then you can use this handy interactive map to plot out the respective galleries and exhibitions that specifically interest you. Either way you do it, spontaneous or planned, you can be assured of one thing: you’re bound to see something that piques your interest.
On a side note: When our blogger buddy Jess of Used York City invited us to contribute to her book on how to Treat Yo’self in New York City for under $20, this is the exact activity we recommended. If you like this idea, then you should definitely get her book and see what other fun things you can do on a budget!
Pair it with:
Brunch at 12 Chairs Cafe
You might have heard that the team behind Cookshop and Vic’s recently turned their old Hundred Acres spot in SoHo into Shuka, which adds Mediterranean food to their roster. Well, 12 Chairs Cafe is the more intimate, more authentic, and–we’ll say it–more affordable alternative to Shuka. And this warm, inviting, casual cafe isn’t jumping on a food trend, it’s actually been a SoHo mainstay for more than a decade.
Others have branded it everything from Israeli-Russian to Middle Eastern to Mediterranean. The owner eschews the usual light touch (read: hand-holding) used by many of his industry peers when categorizing this type of restaurant. He just calls it what it is: Israeli. On the succinctly focused menu, you’ll find any number of delectable options, like the Eggs Siniya (a skillet with sunny side up eggs cooked in tahini–pictured), the popular Lamburger, or plump, steaming Russian Pierogies. And the coffee’s good, too. It’s the perfect last-minute addition to any weekend.
56 MacDougal St
Mon – Thu 8am – 11pm
Fri – Sat 8am – 12am
Sun 8am – 11pm
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