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Atlas Obscura ‘Dwellings’ at the Breuer Building

The Breuer Building has been home to three different museums since its construction in 1966: first the Whitney, which still owns the property, then it was a branch of the Met for four years, and now it’s the temporary home of the Frick Collection while that organization’s own building undergoes renovations. But even as exhibits have rotated in and out, ranging from European masters to American sculpture to ephemeral performance art, one piece of sculpture has remained with the building, hidden away in the main stairwell.

On the landing between the first and second floors, just above the window that looks out onto Madison Avenue, there is a small sculpture of a village by Charles Simonds entitled “Dwellings.” It’s built with a mix of clay, sand, stones, and wood and resembles a settlement on a hilltop. It’s part of a series that Simonds started in 1970, creating similar sculptures in cities around the world. He carved tiny settlements into exposed brick and other crevasses throughout neighborhoods in more than 30 cities, including Paris, Shanghai, Berlin, London, and Dublin.

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8.32km
Turk’s Inn

Discover Turk's Inn in Brooklyn, New York: A Wisconsin kitsch palace from the 1930s lives its second life in 21st-century Brooklyn.

Audio Guide
7.17km
Audio Guide
A Walking Guide to Chinatown, NYC
en
Atlas Obscura 2020
6.37km
LaGuardia Landing Lights Park

Discover LaGuardia Landing Lights Park in Queens, New York: Nine nice parcels of land along a flight path offer a quiet respite… until a plane soars overhead.

Atlas Obscura 2017
5.44km
Tompkins Square Temperance Fountain

Discover Tompkins Square Temperance Fountain in New York, New York: A reminder to choose water over wine since 1888.

Atlas Obscura 2017
9.29km
Abolitionist Place in Brooklyn

This block downtown was a hotbed of antislavery activism along the Underground Railroad.

Atlas Obscura 2019
1.22km
Sambar and Wild Dog Diorama

Discover Sambar and Wild Dog Diorama in New York, New York: This taxidermy scene brings the struggle for survival in the Indian jungle to a quiet corner of a Manhattan museum.

Atlas Obscura 2021
1.75km
The Design Flaw that Nearly Spelled Disaster

A young engineering student caught the mistake in time to keep Citigroup Center from collapsing.

Atlas Obscura 2017
2.52km
The Graybar Rats Near Grand Central Terminal

Discover Graybar Rats in New York, New York: Rat sculptures try to infiltrate the Graybar Building in an architectural tribute to New York City's nautical history.

Atlas Obscura 2017
6.99km
The Oldest Eastern European Synagogue in the U.S.

The Eldridge Street Synagogue provided the immigrants of crowded Lower East Side tenements a space of sanctuary.

Atlas Obscura 2017
4.66km
Kingsland Wildflowers

Discover Kingsland Wildflowers in Brooklyn, New York: Thriving meadows span a rooftop in one of Brooklyn's most heavily industrialized neighborhoods.

Audio Guide
1.91km
Audio Guide
The DC Universe on the streets of NYC
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Wikipedia Landmark
3.34km
Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The building was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and built from 1930 to 1931. Its name is derived from “Empire State”, the nickname of t…

Atlas Obscura 2017
1.22km
This Upper East Side Co-Op Was a Tuberculosis Sanitarium

The complex opened in 1912 as a sanitary tenement for TB patients.

Audio Guide
1.24km
Audio Guide
Wild Walk Central Park
en
Atlas Obscura 2017
2.42km
A Map of All the Broadway Theaters Is Embedded In a Traffic Island in Times Square

The 28-foot gray granite map plots the locations of 40 Broadway theaters.

Audio Guide 2013
4.16km
Audio Guide
NEW YORK CITY Midtown
en
Atlas Obscura 2019
9.52km
Wonderville

Discover Wonderville in Brooklyn, New York: An arcade packed with a rotating collection of unique independent video games.

Atlas Obscura 2019
1.22km
Scavenger Taxidermy Diorama

Discover Scavenger Taxidermy Diorama in New York, New York: This morbid scene depicts the Darwinian drama of death on the African savannah.

Atlas Obscura 2020
5.38km
Electric Lady Studios

Discover Electric Lady Studios in New York, New York: Jimi Hendrix's legendary recording studio in Greenwich Village.

Atlas Obscura 2019
6.79km
Lhasa Fast Food

Discover Lhasa Fast Food in Queens, New York: A hidey-hole sandwiched between cellphone, DVD, and jewelry stores features Tibetan delights.

Atlas Obscura 2020
4.22km
Stationary Figures Mosaics

Discover

Atlas Obscura 2022
0.28km
Sophie Loeb Fountain

Discover Sophie Loeb Fountain in New York, New York: An Alice in Wonderland-themed sculpture for a woman dedicated to children.

Atlas Obscura 2019
1.22km
Asiatic Leopard Diorama

Discover Asiatic Leopard Diorama in New York, New York: One of the most dazzling dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History is also one of the oldest.

Atlas Obscura 2020
9.12km
Brooklyn Savings Bank Subway Branch

Discover Brooklyn Savings Bank Subway Branch in Brooklyn, New York: Before online banking and smartphone apps, there was "commuter banking" in the subway in Downtown Brooklyn.

Atlas Obscura 2019
4.43km
Self-Taught Genius Gallery

Discover Self-Taught Genius Gallery in Queens, New York: An exhibition space dedicated to American outsider art created between the 18th and 21st centuries.

Audio Guide
4.2km
Audio Guide
The Fifth Avenue
en
Audio Guide
6.24km
Audio Guide
A Walking Guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn
en
Atlas Obscura 2017
8.06km
Brooklyn Brewery’s Secret Beer Bunker

A beer-aging barrel room hidden in an unsuspecting warehouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.