Urban Exploration: The Isamu Noguchi Museum

I intentionally made the decision to drive to the Isamu Noguchi Museum in the successful attempt to get a feel for the shifting landscapes as I drove through different neighborhoods of New York City. Although I had pictured the drive taking a long time, in actuality it was a very speedy trip to Queens from my home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Just exiting off of the Queensboro Bridge, I had already noticed a huge shift in the urban landscape surrounding me. The area in Queens where the Noguchi museum is located is dominated by auto body repair shops and industrial warehouses. My parents accompanied me on my urban exploration and they made that observation that: “I would definitely not think I’m in New York City if you had blindfolded me and left me here” as we were winding down narrow streets surrounded by warehouses. Sharing the same sense unfamiliarity with the urban landscape of Queens, I had attributed part of my shock to the low buildings in the area. I had noticed that there were many pockets of small houses and little walk ups. On occasion, there would be a cluster of housing projects, however these were distinct from the ones I had seen in Harlem and lower Manhattan due to how short they were. I had noticed that the height of buildings increased as the property was closer to the East River, perhaps to capitalize on the views. It was interesting to see that there was a Costco directly across the street from the Noguchi museum; destroying the industrial vibe of the surrounding area. Although originally thinking that the location of the museum is rather strange, after thoroughly educating myself on who Isamu Noguchi was and the kinds of work he produced, I found the museum site to be rather fitting. One big takeaway that I had not known before my visit was Noguchi’s passion for public spaces in urban settings and how he can infuse his artistic aesthetic into these spaces. Overall, I found my urban adventure to be both educational and pleasurable because I was able to merge my passion for landscape and art into my urban adventure and learn more about each of these things.


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