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Museums: Overlooking the western rim of Central Park, this neoclassical structure guards some of the oldest artifacts associated with the city of New York. It was founded in 1804 as New York's first museum and has been at its present location since 1908. The Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture on the fourth floor is being redesigned to showcase its preeminent collection of Tiffany lamps, displayed in a sparkling glass gallery. The new Center for the Study of Women's History will be a permanent space devoted to women's history exhibitions and scholarship--the first of its kind in a U.S. museum. During winter holiday season, N-YHS transforms into a magical wonderland with "Holiday Express," a dynamic installation from its renowned Jerni Collection of model trains, scenic elements, and toys from a bygone era. 170 Central Park West & 77th St., 212-873-3400; TRAINS C, B/Central Park West

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Local Expert Maria Lisella Says:

Museums: "New-York Historical Society offers free daily tours of the Museum's collections at 2 PM and 3:30 PM; its Caffe Storico is a good spot to catch your breath."

Best for Museums Because: Fabulously installed exhibits of the Audubon watercolors, the Underground Railroad Collection, the new room of Tiffany Glass and dozens of Hudson River School paintings.

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