Unlike the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Fifth Avenue location – a landmark 1875 Beaux-Arts building – the Met Breuer is one of the finest examples of Brutalist architecture in New York. Designed by Bauhaus-trained architect Marcel Breuer in the 1960s, it’s regarded as one of New York’s most notable buildings. With its handcrafted staircases, burnished bronze accents, textured concrete, and smooth granite, it’s little wonder The New York Times called it “harsh, but handsome” when it opened in 1966.
Also separating the Met Breuer from other venerable museums – like the Met Fifth Avenue, MoMA, and the Guggenheim – is its size. With just one exhibit per floor, and only two or three exhibits on at a time, the Breuer building is perfect for anybody who likes modern art, but doesn’t want to spend an entire day in the museum. It’s easy to see what’s on, and enjoy a coffee at Flora Bar, the museum’s lower-level restaurant, in just an hour or so.
Special tip: Even if you don’t have time to see all the exhibits, it’s worth stepping into the lobby to check out the interior design. If you stay, don’t miss the Phaidon pop-up bookshop on the fifth floor. For now, it’s Phaidon’s only brick and mortar shop in Manhattan.