Subway Station Art – American Museum of Natural History

DSC04265

Sometimes a museum may be your ultimate destination, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the journey. That’s definitely the case with the American Museum of Natural History, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If you travel to the museum by train, you will experience an additional treat – subway art with a natural history theme. The 81st Street-Museum of Natural History subway station is filled with mosaics of various animals and insects, floor tiles with various prehistoric native symbols and sea creatures, and replicas of fossilized bones. Titled For Want of a Nail, the subway art installation is meant to represent the evolution of life.

You’ll find the glass tile mosaics on the northbound platform level and as you enter and exit the subway station. (There are multiple entrances to this subway station, and each one has unique mosaics.) Here are a few of my favorites:

DSC04263-edited

DSC04264-edited

DSC04279-edited

DSC04281

To reach the southbound level, you descend another set of stairs to the lower level. Here, there is a beautiful ceramic tile mosaic of the planets and constellations.

DSC04703

There is also the bronze replicas of fossilized bones, guaranteed to intrigue dinosaur hunters young and old (and inviting visitors to touch as well!)

DSC04710

DSC04714-edited

How do you get the the 81st Street-Museum of Natural History Station? Depending on the time of day, you can take either the B train or C train. Verify train times on the MTA website, where you can also plan trips to and from specific addresses, landmarks, and subway stations. This is definitely a subway station not to be missed!

Origami Holiday Tree at American Museum of Natural History

DSC04292

I previously shared photos of the beautiful Christmas tree and Neapolitan nativity scene at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but the Met Museum is not the only New York City Museum to host a unique and beautiful holiday tree. The American Museum of Natural History, located on the Upper West Side next to Central Park, has exhibited a tree decorated with origami ornaments for more than 40 years, and this years’ tree is the best one yet.

The museum partners with OrigamiUSA to design and create the origami holiday tree, and ornaments are made by local, national, and international origami artists. Each year’s tree has a theme, taken from current temporary and permanent exhibits. This year’s theme is “Mighty and Microscopic Life,” and the ornaments range from microbes and strands of DNA to dinosaurs – and everything in between.

Everywhere you look there is something different to see, as the tree holds more than 800 ornaments. Some ornaments have been pulled from the museum’s archives, examples from past years’ trees, while many others have been introduced for the first time. Here are a few close-up views of various parts of the tree, showing more details of the many intricate, beautiful ornaments.

This first one features a Titanosaur, soon to be the museum’s newest symbol. It is the large cream-colored dinosaur in the middle of the page, surrounded by a variety of other origami animals, insects, and other living things.

DSC04295

If you look closely at this next photo, you’ll notice a centipede on a leave, a snake, butterflies, bats, and a host of other creatures. If you are wondering about the larger red items in the bottom left corner of the photo, those are red blood cells!

DSC04296

And here are more dinosaurs.

DSC04307

This final photo shows a different perspective, looking up towards the top of the tree from its base. This view allows you to see the clusters of sparkling origami stars that hover around the tree, suspended on wires that extend outward from the tree.

DSC04314

This is definitely a tree that will put you in the holiday spirit! And volunteers from OrigamiUSA are set up at a table nearby, willing to teach visitors how to fold their own origami animals.

The tree is on exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History until January 10, 2016. The best way to get to the museum is by public transportation. If traveling by subway, take the B or C train to the 81st Street-Museum of Natural History station, or take the 1 train to 79th Street.