The courtyard at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a work of art all its own and one of the most loved pocket parks in Midtown Manhattan. The verdant, scupture-dotted plaza is walled off from West 54th Street, muffling much of the traffic noise in favor of bubbling fountains and murmuring of museum goers.
Named the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden in honor of the museum's most influential advocate, the grounds were designed by architects Phillip Johnson and James Fanning in 1953. A series of renovations have remained true to the original design and continued to rotate features of modernist sculpture art. A long-standing installation is a showcase of pieces by Richard Serra, who is renowned for popularizing minimalist sculptures made from industrial materials. Other work of his is on display in major galleries around the world, including Paris, London, and Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle.
As part of MoMA, access to the courtyard does require admission to the museum, so you will not want to miss outdoor respite in between inspections of Van Gough, Cézanne, and Warhol. Picnic tables and benches, both sheltered and in open air, dot the grounds, and marble paths lead among the gardens and sculptures. When visiting Midtown and MoMA, the courtyard is but one more place to admire a microcosm of the outdoors blended among the big city's urban grandeur.