Explore New York through the Historical Society

The museum hiding on Central Park West displays the history of the U.S. through the history of N.Y.C.

When you're making a list of New York City museums to visit on your next trip, you might settle on the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. There's another tribute to art and history in the city that you're forgetting, and it's one that is dedicated specifically to the City: The New-York Historical Society Museumand Library. Look no further than the hyphen in "New-York" in the museum's name for evidence that the place is serious about the history of its city.

The Historical Society, founded in 1804, is, in fact, the oldest museum in the city. It sits right next to the American Museum of Natural History between 76th and 77th Street and Central Park West. Its reach extends beyond the history of the city, focusing, according to its website, on "issues surrounding the making and meaning of history." Or, in the fictional words of one of the subjects of a past exhibit at the museum, "who lives, who dies, who tells your story."

With over 1.6 million pieces in its art holdings, including paintings, documents, sculptures, furniture and other artifacts, the Historical Society presents a vast, personal exploration of the history of its city.

Toy trains as part of the holiday exhibit.

Abraham Lincoln greets visitors in statue form on the outside stairs before they enter the rectangular lobby. For the holiday season, the museum is showcasing its wonderful collection of toys and, especially, trains from early years of the industrial revolution. The lobby is also the visual introduction to the museum's mission: to explore history, in general, through the history of New York. On the walls are paintings of the Revolutionary War and in a glass case are handwritten notes and letters from Frederick Douglass.

The other exhibit currently on display on the first floor tells the story of Vietnam, its effects on New York City and New York City's effects on the war. Let a guide take you through, borrow an audio guide or explore the halls of the exhibit yourself and witness hundreds of images, media, documents and artifacts from the war (including a military Jeep in the lobby).

The children's museum on the lower level.

Downstairs is the children's museum, a whole floor dedicated to touchable, interactive and video pieces that encourage kids to be "history detectives."

The second floor contains the Luman Reed Galleries and the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library. In the Reed Galleries you'll find many American landscapes and other paintings, like George Henry Boughton's Pilgrims Going To Church from 1867. Also in the galleries is one of the Historical Society's most exciting pieces: Thomas Cole's The Course of Empire.

Thomas Cole's 'Course of Empire' in the Reed Galleries.

Course of Empire is a series of five huge paintings, done between 1833 and 1836 and commissioned by the gallery's namesake. The landscape paintings depict five stages in the rise and fall of civilization: Savage, Pastoral, Consummation, Destruction and Desolation. A Native American hunts a deer while dark clouds consume the mountain in the background that is the central visual connection between the paintings. Next a small village sits near the lake and a man thinks under a tree. In the series' centerpiece, the "Consummation," a grand city borders the river and thousands of people celebrate in the bright, colorful public spaces. Then smoke darkens the landscape as the city burns and soldiers fight beneath the marble statues. In the final painting, the sun is almost set and green weeds crawl over the ruins of the city beneath a peaceful sky. The series is a stunning look at the beauty of progress and the dangers of indulgence, all while showing the death and return of nature. It's incredible and a must-see in-person at the museum.

Tiffany lamps on display on the fourth floor.

Skip the third floor (office rooms) and head to the new fourth floor. Open since April 2017, it currently hosts an exhibit on artists' workshops and the stories behind certain objects, several on women's history and a beautiful "Gallery of Tiffany Lamps".

A visit to the New-York Historical Society is a visit to the American past, where people can learn about the choices that made history and the consequences of those choices on our lives, today. The museum Tuesday–Sunday and admission costs $21 for adults, $13 for students and $6 for kids 5–13. The free daily tours are at 2 PM and 3:30 PM.

On Fridays from 6–8 p.m. admission is pay-as-you-wish so take advantage of the basically free Friday nights to explore the history of New York City.

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If you've googled one thing during this pandemic, it is definitely: "Thai food near me."

Thai food has remained one of the most delicious and sought after takeout gems; and in New York City, specifically, there are so many delicious options that it can be overwhelming. Often unlike Chinese food, Thai food offers fresher ingredients and versatile cuisine options. Whether you want some Pad Thai or Pad See Ew, or some coconut milk-infused curry or even just some soup, Thai food is good for any occasion. But with so many options, how do you know you're getting the freshest ingredients at the best price? Here are the best spots to order take-out from, and we even broke it up by borough for you.

Manhattan: Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks

Reviewed by The Times as "fresh, vivid and intense," Fish Cheeks offers solid takes on traditional Thai Cuisine. Their speciality remains seafood, so their Crab Friend Rice and Coconut Crab Curry are delicious highlights. Their Tum Yum is also to die for, made with fresh galanagal, lime leaves and lemongrass.

The version [of tum yum] here hums with fresh galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass. Shrimp and knobby mushrooms simmer in a broth that gets extra body from milk, a twist I've never seen before but one I approve of. It could be spicier, but the use of bird's-eye chiles is far from shy.

Manhattan: Lan Larb

thia food

Arguably some of the best Pad Thai in the city, Lan Larb is focused mainly on the food of Thailand's northeast region. As a result, there is often a combo of meat and seafood involved in most dishes, such as the Lao Chicken Soup, which combines fresh chicken with pickled fish and a steamy brown broth. The menu will make your tastebuds whirl if you're one for experimentation, if not, their Pad Thai is iconic and filling enough on its own.

Brooklyn: Ugly Baby

Brooklyn has always been teeming with amazing Thai food joints, but Ugly Baby is the borough's most established success story. The Carrol Gardens sensation was preceded by two long gone Red Hook restaurants known for their authentic Northern Thai cuisine. With Ugly Baby, a name which comes from an ancient belief in Thailand that ugly children bring good fortune, chef Sirichai Sreparplarn had mastered his craft. The restaurant quickly gained glowing praise throughout Brooklyn and New York, and their take on Khao Soi Nuer and Kao Tod Nam Klook remain the stuff of legends.

Queens: Ayada

ayada thai

Ayada's cuisine is so good that it made a New York Times journalist cry at his table. Not out of emotion though, but out of spice. For those looking for a truly bold eating experience, this Queens Thai restaurant holds nothing back when crafting their drunken noodles or Pad Thai, but that spice is what makes it one of the best spots in the city.

Bronx: Ceetay

​While the Bronx isn't necessarily a buzzing Thai food borough, Ceetay's asian fusion cuisine is of the highest quality and will appeal to anyone desperately needing to nom on some noodles. Their sushi is amazing but their Pad Thai is packed with amazing flavor. Seasoned with onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peanuts, scallions and cilantro, this Pad Thai is packed with flavors and will slam your taste buds in the best possible way.


5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany


Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland


The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy


Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru


Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico


It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.


Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.


McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.


Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.


Every Hell House in America


In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…