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“It is a small good museum”

El Museo del Barrio
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The Sightseeing Day Pass NYC
Ranked #379 of 1,078 things to do in New York City
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Owner description: Art museum displaying works of different artists from Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Greenwich, Connecticut
Level Contributor
831 reviews
330 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 316 helpful votes
“It is a small good museum”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 19, 2014

I enjoyed a short visit here. I actually came to the area to see the photograph exhibit, Rising Waters, about Superstorm Sandy at the the Museum of the City of New York and walked into del Barrio as a side visit. With your admission to El Museo del Barrio, you can gain FREE entrance to the Museum of the City of New York.

Visited March 2014
Thank Reasonable50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
New York City
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2014

The exhibits in this intimate space apparently changes so perhaps we saw a particularly uninteresting , at least to us, installation. There were several modern and dated "smash the furniture as a metaphore for colonialism meets personal freedom" pieces that seemed passe. There were several personal photographic intimate expose narratives that were interesting but not paricularly compelling the way they were presented. Overall the way the peices were presented was also confusing. I know that art is very personal so I understand others may not feel the same but for us it was not really worth the trip uptown. The staff was very nice and professional and although we had already eaten lunch, a quick tour of the cafeteria looked like they have a tasty latino menu.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank laurky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bergen County, New Jersey
Level Contributor
182 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 231 helpful votes
“A Hidden Gem of Museum Mile”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2012

This is a natural stop for anyone visiting Museum of the City of New York, Conservatory Garden, or a relative at Mt. Sinai Hospital. It's at the top of "Museum Mile" (at least until the Afro-American museum further uptown finally opens on Fifth Avenue.) Note that the TripAdvisor photos are way out of date. The museum has been thoroughly renovated and updated. The ethnic food cafe (run by Great Performances, a NYC party caterer and cafe operator at several museums) is excellent, although the assembled-to-order service can be slow. But wine is only $6 a glass, and the pours are more than 5 ounces! You can eat here without paying admission. There's a slick modern gift shop.

Note that because the city owns the Real Estate, the admission fee is discretionary. During the shared Caribbean show, they'll also give you a free pass to get into the the other two museums sharing the show, Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum of Art.

I'm puzzled by some of the reviews. I wonder if the person who only found two rooms went through the plain double-doors that lead to the main galleries, which number about 12, although they are not huge rooms. The reason the current Caribbean show is shared among three museums is that El Barrio's collection is so large, they can't show enough of it in one place. And it's an excellent collection.

I felt that only about 5% of the works on display fell into the category of outsider or naive local folk (as opposed to "fine...") art. There are excellent works from about 200 years of Puerto Rican and Caribbean art here. And there's a great deal of sophisticated late-20th Century and Contemporary Art. It is all related to the Caribbean, so, no, it's not the same as going to the Whitney or the New Museum. It's usually uncrowded, and the guards are friendly and welcoming.

The permanent collection includes some landmark artists of the last two centuries you may not have seen. These include Rafael Tufino, Francisco Oller y Cestero (who studied with Courbet), Rufino Tamayo, Wilfredo Lam, Emilio Sanchez (not the tennis player!), and Enoc Perez, a high-priced young printmaker and oil painter represented by Acquavella Galleries.

This museum, alone, is not worth half of one of your precious days visiting New York. But if you love art, and you're uptown on Fifth Avenue, you won't be sorry you visited. Anyone staying at the Hostels on the Upper West Side should consider walking straight across Central Park to visit this area.

Visited September 2012
4 Thank obsoperator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Upstate NY
Level Contributor
53 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2012

I wasn't sure what to expect from this museum, but more than this. First of all, it's expensive. And then, it's very small, and not very interesting. I can't believe that there was nothing very interesting or exciting to see. This is NEW YORK for goodness' sake. I was saddened and disappointed by this museum.

Visited September 2011
2 Thank M W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Small, precise, unique”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2012

A slightly confusing but irreplaceable museum -- the museum part, as opposed to the school-oriented education -- is devoted now to an exhibit on Caribbean culture, in concert with two other museums.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank Thomas H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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