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Go inside the new Whitney Museum

The Renzo Piano- designed new home of the Whitney Museum is a museum for the New York City of today.

The 50,000-square foot behemoth is not just for the art lover, but for the New Yorker looking for a multi-sensory experience. Today's city folk and visitors want to see great works and boundary-pushing pieces of artistic expression, but we also want to eat, to drink and to loll about on patios and decks with city views.

The new Whitney gives us those things. There are three outdoor galleries, with outdoor staircases connecting most of them. There is also an outdoor cafe terrace. All look out across the vast expanse of Manhattan -- a work of art in itself?

Of course, there is American art spanning the past century, too. Displayed in sweeping, open galleries in rooms lit by both natural and artificial light, the viewing experience is elevated by a feeling of openness. Giant, entire-wall encompassing windows are to thank.

Take a look inside before the museum (and Danny Meyer's restaurant Untitled) opens on May 1. 99 Gansevoort St., whitney.org

Room to wander...
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

Room to wander...

An exhibition space at the new Whitney Museum.
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

An exhibition space at the new Whitney Museum.

Georgia O'Keefe's
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

Georgia O'Keefe's "Music, Pink and Blue No. 2" (1918) painting is a perfect specimen from the artist. Her "suggestive" stroke-work is on display and it's centrally located in "America Is Hard to See."

Enjoy small bites and drinks from the Studio
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

Enjoy small bites and drinks from the Studio Cafe on the 8th floor of the museum before wandering out onto the Cafe Terrace. The menu has been designed by executive chef of the Cafe and the ground-floor restaurant Untitled Michael Anthony, and dishes include toasts ($12) with sugar snap peas, goat cheese, pine nuts and black olives; asparagus, pimento cheese and pickled peppers and duck meatloaf, ricotta and kale; salads ($12): butterhead wedge, avocado, cucumber, pickled carrots and buttermilk dressing and desserts ($8) and snacks ($6).

Thomas Downing creates an optical illusion with
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

Thomas Downing creates an optical illusion with "Five" (1967), part of the "America Is Hard To See" exhibit.

Yayoi Kusama's
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

Yayoi Kusama's "Air Mail Stickers" (1962) is on display in the 1960's sub-section of the "America Is Hard to See" exhibit.

Gender-neutral bathrooms are to be expected in NYC
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

Gender-neutral bathrooms are to be expected in NYC circa-2015. (As they should be.)

The new Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

The new Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District was designed by famed architect Renzo Piano. Some critics have panned it, saying it looks like an IKEA cabinet. We think the building was designed to create space for art and experience, and it has achieved that.

Gazing down from the top floor to the
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

Gazing down from the top floor to the fifth floor outdoor gallery. "Mary Heilmann: Sunset" is currently on display.

The fifth floor outdoor gallery currently showcases
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

The fifth floor outdoor gallery currently showcases "Mary Heilmann: Sunset." By displaying this work here, the Whitney has invited guests to merge artistic with spacial appreciation. What is more attention-commanding: the city, or the art?

From the outdoor space on the eighth floor
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

From the outdoor space on the eighth floor at the Whitney, visitors can gaze out across the High Line, the Hudson River and (maybe!) guests at The Standard Hotel, who have been known to show off their nude selves to passersby!

One of the vast gallery spaces to take
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

One of the vast gallery spaces to take in works of art.

The west side of the building features many
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

The west side of the building features many windows onto the Hudson River, allowing light and giving visitors the chance to take in the impressive views.

An exhibition space at the new Whitney Museum.
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

An exhibition space at the new Whitney Museum.

Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

"Still Life Number 36" (1964) by Tom Wesselmann welcomes visitors to the sixth floor of the museum.

On the west side of the building, visitors
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

On the west side of the building, visitors can rest on comfortable couches while taking in a different kind of art: nature's "Hudson River" and the architecture of New Jersey.

Glenn Ligon's
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

Glenn Ligon's "Warm Broad Glow II" (2011) shines out through east-facing windows.

Chuck Close's
Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL

Chuck Close's "Phil" (1969) gazes across visitors as they ponder his presence.

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