The Frick and the Neue Galerie (Neue is not pronounced like the word “New,” which I thought was right for a loooong time, but rather “Noy-uh.” German pronunciation is a bit tricky) are not really marquee NYC museums, but they are WONDERFUL adult respites after the nuttiness of the Met, the Natural History Museum, or MoMA. And why do I say they’re for adults? Because children under the age of 12 are not allowed in the Neue, while children under 10 are not allowed in the Frick. While parents of younger kiddos might be frustrated/annoyed/feel slighted by this policy, the rest of us appreciate it, because, let’s be honest: sometimes when you’re a grown-up wanting to drop $20 (again with the steep admissions prices! Though they both do have free days) on an art museum visit, you want to do it in the company of other grown-ups only.
Now, don’t get me wrong: children should absolutely go to art museums. They should be exposed to culture, confront objects and images from other countries and times, and learn to appreciate the beauty, brutality, and truths to be taught by art of all kinds. But sometimes, just sometimes, I would rather they not do that right next to me. Because (and I back up this statement with over 5 years experience teaching in pre-schools and almost two years as a nanny) kids are loud and while all of them are precious angels, that does not mean I (and other adults) want to deal with their preciously angelic loudness while appreciating a graphic Egon Schiele drawing (at the Neue) or flirty Fragonard paintings (at the Frick). So! If you’re a grown-up and inclined to look at art around other grown-ups, the Neue is the place for late 19th, early 20th century Austrian and German awesome weirdness, while the Frick will hook you up with a jewel-box little collection of Old Masters and general pan-European Medieval-Renaissance-Baroque fun times. And it will be quiet and civilized. Also the cafe and restaurant at the Neue are aces (if spendy. Sigh. NYC you’re always spendy). Good job littler museums, good job.