This massive museum, which from the exterior looks like a giant monolith, is the largest museum of its kind in the country. It aims to tell the story of New York State, both natural and cultural. Several new galleries have really enlivened this war horse. The newest permanent gallery, "The World Trade Center: Rescue, Recovery, Response," was the first major museum exhibit of artifacts from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It documents the 24-hour aftermath of the disaster; on view are giant fragments of the towers, a destroyed fire engine (one of the first on the scene), and the stunning video shot by two French brothers. Elsewhere, New York City is traced from early port to metropolis, with a recent gallery addition devoted to Harlem. A large and accurate depiction of a Mohawk Iroquois village longhouse is a visitor favorite. Of great interest to visitors who can't visit New York City is the hall of rotating great art from the city's major museums (including the Metropolitan, Guggenheim, and MoMA). On the top floor is the new Café Terrace, with great views of the Empire State Plaza and creative regional displays, along with something that kids run screaming toward: a historic, functioning 36-horse carousel, hand-carved in the 1890s in Brooklyn. Allow a couple of hours.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010