When you’re in New York City it can feel as though you can do, get, and see anything you want without the slightest bit of difficulty. In most cases this is true, a fact that causes many people (visitors and residents alike) to never explore the world outside of the five boroughs. However, brave New Yorkers and devout art enthusiasts know that a can’t-miss museum lies just sixty miles north of the city proper, and if you’re courageous enough to leave the Capital of the World, we suggest you follow them up.
A quick ride on the Metro North train from New York to the town of Beacon in the Hudson River Valley brings you to Dia Beacon, a modern art gallery housed in the remains of an old Nabisco box-printing plant. While this may be an unorthodox location for a gallery, special consideration was given to each collection of paintings, sculptures, and installations during the renovation of the site so that each room is a perfect complement to the art it holds. And with pieces as strange as some you’ll find at Dia Beacon, the extra attention to the design of the space is greatly appreciated.
The objects that comprise the permanent collection are things that you wouldn’t even find at the Museum of Modern Art in the city, mostly due to their sheer size. In one room, you’ll find huge shapes cut into the metal floor like some learning tool for a giant baby wielding massive corresponding blocks. Further into the museum you’ll stumble into an open space filled with colossal conical structures by artist Richard Serra that you can explore from every angle, including inside. And don’t be afraid when you walk into a room upstairs that contains a large statue of something that could best be described as spider-like — also, don’t touch it or take pictures of it, because you will be yelled at by a hawk-eyed guard.
It should also be noted that nature plays an important part in making Dia Beacon a breathtaking experience. Inside the museum, natural light is used to accent the pieces by either harnessing it or shutting it out completely, which is the case in the decidedly creepy basement galleries. But outside the museum you’ll find the spectacular vistas of the Hudson River Valley, an area that has inspired countless artists to take to the easel throughout history. Take in the view from the gallery’s riverfront porch or discover your inner mountain man and hike through the numerous paths scattered along the river.
Since the Metro North train station is just a short walk from the gallery, you can spend the whole day exploring Dia Beacon and its surroundings and still make it back to the city to partake in all that “never sleeping” you’ve heard so much about.
3 Beekman St
Beacon, NY 12508