Mad Hatters NYC

Pixar: The Design of Story at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum


It’s Sunday. An unseasonably warm morning in December. And, regrettably, you’ve neglected to make reservations for brunch. Suddenly, the grim specter of laundry, errands and preparations for the upcoming workweek threaten to hasten the conclusion of your weekend. What to do? Sure, it’s not quite an existential crisis but it’s a serious dilemma, nonetheless. Fortunately, you have New York City at your disposal, with its staggering abundance of cultural institutions and historical sites. With a quick search, you note that one such institution, Cooper Hewitt, the nation’s preeminent design museum, offers an intriguing lineup of programs and exhibitions. And, voila, you have something on your Sunday agenda.

“The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.”  – John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios



Residing in the breathtaking 64-room Carnegie Mansion, the former residence of industrial magnate, Andrew Carnegie, the museum is principally dedicated to presenting exhibitions and educational programs, as well as maintaining active publications pertaining to historic and contemporary design. Such an example is the capsule exposition, Pixar: The Design of Story, which examines how conventional and modern technological visual design methods inform and encourage story and character development, and vice versa, in an animated film’s earliest stages. It was launched in Fall 2015 and is located in the Process Lab, a space within the museum specifically devised to promote interactive and immersive learning experiences. Visitors are encouraged to not only view the original artworks, including rare hand-drawn sketches, paintings and sculptures, but also to leverage Cooper Hewitt’s state-of-the-art digital experience with the Pen, an innovative device allowing visitors to interact with labels and multi-touch media tables to explore an additional 650 Pixar artworks, collect objects throughout the museum and create their own designs. And at the end of the visit, every saved item is accessible online through a unique web address printed on every ticket. For additional information check out the website here.

Tip:  Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. are pay-what-you-wish admission, made possible by the generous support of Barbara and Morton Mandel.  If you’re going during any other time, you can save $2 off admission by buying your ticket ahead online.

2 East 91st Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues)

Weekdays and Sundays, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

Pair it with:

Brunch at Bluestone Lane




Directly across the street from Cooper Hewitt, you’ll find the charming Upper East Side location of Bluestone Lane.  Housed adjacent to the historic Church of the Heavenly Rest, the interior of this cozy cafe takes full advantage of the aesthetic benefits of sharing the sandstone features and archways of its celebrated neighbor, who leases the space to them. An export of the fanatical (meant, of course, in the best possible way) coffee culture of Melbourne, Australia and founded by expat, Nick Stone, the progressive cafe with table service offers innovative coffee beverages and a seasonal menu of breakfast, lunch and small plates. The coffee and espresso were smack-your-face solid, but it was the Brekkie Board (pictured above) that stole the show. Menus and additional information can be found here.

2 East 90th St (between 5th and Madison Avenues)

Monday – Sunday 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

– J.


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