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The Queens Museum reopens after major renovations

An extensive spit-and-polish reinvigorates the arts and culture hub. Here's what to see at the new Queens Museum.

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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Queens Museum
On Saturday 9, the newly expanded Queens Museum (formerly the Queens Museum of Art) opens to the public, unveiling the results of two and a half years of renovations. Gone is the old World’s Fair ice-skating rink, replaced with skylit galleries, an airy atrium, event spaces, a café and artists’ studios. The new additions have doubled the institution’s size to 105,000 square feet—about two and a half times the size of Grand Central Terminal’s Main Concourse.

The museum’s permanent collection has been burnished for the occasion. The number of artifacts on view from the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs  (which took place on and around the site) has been boosted from 120 to more than 900, and The Panorama of the City of New York, a roughly 9,000-square-foot scale model of the five boroughs, has been relit (wait for the room to darken to see the little Big Apple twinkle).

Those ongoing displays are augmented by a thrumming schedule of opening-season exhibits and programs. Wander through the visually arresting, multiroom installation The Shatterer (Sat 9–Mar 30), a slightly sinister dreamscape of black-and-white murals and 20-foot-tall puppets by Bread and Puppet Theater founder and director Peter Schumann. As part of “The People’s United Nations (pUN)” (Sat 9–Mar 30), artist Pedro Reyes facilitates a tongue-in-cheek summit on November 22 and 23 in which citizen reps from all 193 U.N. member states address issues such as world peace and disarmament—using conflict-resolution techniques employed by marriage counselors  and corporate-management consultants. And on opening night, the museum extends its hours until 9pm to accommodate poetry readings, open studio tours, concerts and a DJ set mashing up tunes from visitors’ portable music players (you might want to scrub anything embarrassing from your MP3 player first).

Flushing Meadows–Corona Park near 111th St and 49th Ave entrance, Queens (718-592-9700, queensmuseum.org). Wed–Sun noon–6pm; suggested donation $8, seniors and students $4, members and children under 5 free.

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