The New Museum of Contemporary Art is a sight to behold: a seven-story stack of ethereal, off-kilter white boxes (designed by Tokyo-based architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA and New York firm Gensler) rearing above its medium-rise neighborhood. It was a long-awaited breath of fresh air along what was a completely gritty Bowery strip when it arrived back in 2007 – since the museum's opening, many glossy new constructions have joined it, quickly transforming this once down-and-out avenue.
Founded in 1977 by Whitney curator Marcia Tucker and housed in five locations over the years, the museum's mission statement is simple: 'New art, new ideas.' True to its word, it gave gallery space to Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Joan Jonas, Mary Kelly and Andres Serrano at the beginning of their careers, and remains Manhattan's only dedicated contemporary-art museum. It closes occasionally to install new exhibitions, so be sure to check the website before you visit.
On the first Saturday of the month, the New Museum hosts special events for budding artists, with hands-on crafts and activities for kids aged four to 15. Free museum admission is included for two adults (it's always free for kids).