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Museum of the City of NY

Location: 1220 5th Ave & 103rd St, New York, NY 10029

New York City is an enchanting place for so many all over the world, and the Museum of the City of New York captures that essence. The Museum explores all things New York, from the actual buildings, apartments, parks and streets that make up its urban landscape to the cultures, people, sights, sounds and styles that give it its unique and unmistakable personality.

A centerpiece of the experience is "Timescapes", a 22-minute multimedia history of New York City narrated by Stanley Tucci. For years, the Museum of the City of New York was an earnest but slightly dusty institution that mavens visited for its dollhouse collection and Currier & Ives prints.

But it has bloomed into an essential institution, doubling its gallery space, tripling its budget, and putting a bounty of old photographs online. Serious New Yorkophiles will find enchantments, too: the ticket for the very first subway ride in 1904; Boss Tweed’s cuff links, adorned with diamond-encrusted Ts; a 19th-century seltzer bottle of thick blue glass; a handwritten Studio 54 guest list that includes Ringo and Liberace (it was 1978).

But the Museum is more than a repository of nostalgia. Draft riots, abandoned babies, tenement misery, the rubble of the 1970s, the sugar trade that forged a link between slave labor and children’s candy - all make an appearance.